05 September 2013

Delta orders ten A330-300 instead of A350 XWB because “they want to see the new technology in action before signing on.” The new-plane smell is rare at Delta.

“It is an opportunistic order that allows Delta to buy economically efficient, proven-technology aircraft." said Delta CEO Richard Anderson

Delta Air Lines has announced an order for 10 A330-300 HGW (and additional 30 A321); it can be considered a victory for Airbus because this is the first Airbus order from Delta in 20 years. Delta (with American Airlines and Continental Airlines) was 1 of 3 US airlines to sign a 20-year exclusive supplier agreement with Boeing, later cancelled after a demand from the European Union.

Delta has just proved again that Airbus and Boeing have much work to do if they are to win significant orders from it for their latest technology airliners like the A350 XWB or 787s.

Its aversion to paying a premium for the advertised benefits of new technology jets over the capital expenditure and reliability savings it sees in paying ‘run-out’ model prices for new jets available today has certainly caught the attention of other airlines with similar needs to replace old jets and add capacity to take up growth opportunities.

This is not to suggest for a moment that Delta or similarly inclined airlines won’t in future buy the new technology jets on offer. It is just that they won’t pay a premium for them for delivery in the early years they are on offer and potentially unable to deliver on the promised benefits with sufficient service reliability to meet Delta’s business case.

By selecting the existing designs, Delta likely took advantage of closeout savings on the aircraft it ordered. The A321 is being succeeded by the A321neo, and the A330's new technology cousin is Airbus' A350."

Delta´s order for the Boeing 787 was deferred to at least 2020 because new Delta Management team didn’t like what was happening with the 787-8 program. And in 2020, Delta may choose to acquire a different model of the 787 than the original -8, or if it still doesn’t like what it sees, persuade Boeing to replace that order with a different model, maybe from the 777 family.

Based on the article “Delta rejects new models with classic Airbus order” published in Crikey

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