U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines ordered 10 Airbus A330neo long-haul jets, reinforcing its position as the first U.S. airline to operate the upgraded jet and lending its influential support to a slow-selling model.
The additional A330neo purchase is worth some $3 billion at list prices but is likely to represent below half that after typical discounts as the jet faces competition from newer models.
As part of the order, Delta also confirmed it was deferring delivery of 10 pricier A350 jets to 2025-26. The agreement contains the right to convert the A350 orders to A330-900s.
Delta previously had 25 of each type of plane on order but said last year it was reviewing its wide-body requirements.
“Expanding our A330 order book not only ensures that Delta’s near-to-medium-term wide body needs are taken care of, but also drives our strategic, measured international growth,” Delta Chief Operating Officer Gil West said.
The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce’s new Trent 7000 engine, which offers fuel savings. But it has suffered delays as the British company focuses on fixing extensive problems on a similar model of engine that powers the Boeing 787.
With the new deal, Atlanta-based Delta’s A330neo order will grow to 35 from 25 jets. The airline also operates around 40 earlier A330 models that use a previous generation of engine.
For Airbus, it is the second order for the A330neo in as many weeks after Kuwait Airways ordered eight of the long-haul planes in mid-October.