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Delta is buying 100 Max aircraft in Boeing’s first major order in over a decade

Delta is buying 100 Max aircraft in Boeing's first major order in over a decade
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Delta Air Lines planes at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

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Delta Airlines buys 100 Boeing 737 Max 10, the US manufacturer’s first major new aircraft order in more than a decade.

The deal has options for 30 more aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2025.

The new order is good news for Boeing as Airbus recently won high-profile sales including to several Chinese state airlines. Boeing lamented trade tensions when this order was announced.

Delta said Monday the order will modernize its narrowbody fleet as the airline looks to capitalize on a rebound in travel after the record slump caused by the Covid pandemic. The Max aircraft will be 20 to 30 percent more fuel efficient than the jetliners they will replace.

The Atlanta-based Delta is the only one of the four largest US airlines not to have ordered any new Boeing jets in recent years, favoring Airbus as it has bolstered both its narrowbody and long-haul widebody fleets. Delta has retired older Boeing 777s and delivered more Airbus A350 twin-aisle aircraft during the pandemic.

The 737 Max was grounded for at least 18 months after the second of two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019 killed a combined 346 people. The US lifted the grounding in November 2020. Delta’s competitors faced capacity constraints during this period as shipments of new Maxes were suspended.

The Max 10 model is the largest model in the narrow-body Max family and is not yet state-approved. Boeing hopes to receive certification for the aircraft before the end of the year. The regulation passed after the two crashes stipulates that new aircraft must be equipped with a cockpit warning system.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian had previously hinted at an order for Max aircraft. When asked about a possible order for the narrow-body aircraft at a recent investor conference, Bastian said, “We’ve been trying to get a deal with Boeing on that…hopefully we can figure that out.” “

Delta will configure the aircraft with 182 seats: 129 in Standard Economy, 33 in Comfort+ with extra legroom, and 20 in First Class.

Boeing shares are up 4% in premarket trading, while Delta shares are up more than 2%.

Most of Delta’s new orders in recent years have come from Airbus in Europe.

In 2017, Delta found itself in the middle of a trade dispute between Boeing and Bombardier of Canada, then the manufacturer of the C-Series narrow-body aircraft, which Delta ordered. Boeing allegedly Bombardier sold the planes below cost and eventually lost them. Airbus later took over the program and renamed the aircraft the A220.

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