Delta Air Lines has purchased its first Airbus A321neo amid plans for fleet expansion. Meanwhile, there are rumours of the airline ordering up to 100 737 MAX 10 aircraft from rival Boeing.


Delta’s First A321 delivery

Delta will add 26 new A321neos to its fleet this year and have committed to purchase 155 by the end of 2027. The first plane arrived this Wednesday from Airbus’ production facility in Hamburg and was flown to Delta’s hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, taking a brief refuelling stop in Maine. The aircraft, registered N501DA, will enter service in May, after it has undergone some modifications.

Airbus A321neo Delta Air Lines
Airbus new A321neo will begin flying in May | © Delta

The A321neo is a narrow-body jet suitable for short to medium range flights. They are Airbus’ strongest selling model, described by the Air Lease company as the “hottest airplanes in the market”. However. this week, Reuters reported that Delta might also be looking to purchase up to 100 737 MAX 10, a competing narrow-body aircraft from rival Boeing.


Updating an ageing fleet

Airbus already boasts an extensive fleet of A321ceos, the “ceo” standing for “current engine option”, as opposed to “new engine option”. The new purchases will help Delta to renew and modernise its ageing fleet. The newer A321neos have up to 1,450km more range and 30% less fuel burn per seat than their predecessors. In addition to the A321ceos, the Delta’s current narrow-body fleet also contains older A320 aircraft, with an average age of 25 years, and Boeing 757-200s, with an average age of 24 years.

It is no surprise then that Delta has ordered so many A321neos for the next five years. Industry rumours are going around saying that Delta could order up to 100 Boeing 737 MAXs to pad out their fleet, some or all of which could be the largest model, the MAX-10, according to sources. Delta is currently the only major US carrier without a 737 MAX on order. According to Reuters, if a deal is reached, news could come out as soon as next month.


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