Delta Turns to Airbus with Order for 40 Airplanes

 - September 4, 2013, 10:10 AM
Airbus plans to build many of Delta's new A320s in Mobile, Alabama. (Image: Airbus)

Delta Air Lines has placed its first order for Airbus airplanes in some two decades, signing for 30 A321s and 10 A330-300s, the European airframer announced Wednesday. The airline has chosen CFM56-5B engines from CFM International to power its A321s and CF6-80E1 engines from GE Aviation for its new A330s. It expects delivery of its first A330 in 2015, followed by its first new A321 in 2016.

As a result of the merger of Delta and Northwest Airlines, Delta’s fleet now includes 126 A320-family narrowbodies and 32 A330s.

The contract calls for all of Delta’s A321s to feature Sharklets—the company’s new composite wingtip devices designed to generate up to a 4 percent fuel-burn savings, and either a range increase of 100 nautical miles or increased payload capability of nearly 1,000 pounds. Delta’s specifications for the A321s call for a 190-passenger, dual-class seating configuration. Airbus plans to assemble many of Delta’s A321s at the new Airbus assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, now under construction and scheduled to deliver its first aircraft in 2016.

Meanwhile, the airline has chosen the 242-metric-ton version of the A330-300. The new configuration adds as many as 500 nautical miles of range, and the ability to carry nearly five metric tons more payload than the previous 235-metric-ton A330-300. Delta’s A330-300s will seat 293 passengers in two classes.