Delta to retire its Boeing 777s even earlier than expected
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Demand for air travel may be picking up faster than anticipated, but this rebound isn’t enough for airlines to backtrack on aircraft retirements announced amid the pandemic. So much so that Delta Air Lines is accelerating the retirement of some of its planes.
The Atlanta-based carrier announced in mid-May that it would retire its relatively young fleet of 18 777-200s by year-end, citing concerns over a long and slow recovery in international travel after the crisis. While the airline still hasn’t announce a specific date, the retirement will come sooner that expected.
The airline’s CEO, Ed Bastian, dropped the news in the annual shareholders meeting on June 18 that its final 777 flight will take place before the end of this fall. This decision makes sense given that the winter is already one of the toughest times for airlines demand-wise.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Delta currently has 18 777s — a mix of 777-200ER and 777-200LRs — in its fleet with an average age of 15.2 years. The jets were used for some of the airline’s longest and most premium routes as they offered the longest range, but are far less efficient than the next generation wide-bodies like the Airbus A350-900s and have higher maintenance costs.
The airline just finished a $100 million project to retrofit its 777s in February. This included installing the airline’s flagship Delta One business class suites and Premium Select premium economy seats. Delta was also the only U.S. airline to offer a spacious 3-3-3 economy layout on this type of plane — American Airlines and United Airlines both configure economy class on their 777s in a 3-4-3 seating layout.
Delta is not the only carrier retiring older jets early amid the pandemic. For instance, American Airlines is bidding farewell to six plane types — A330s, Boeing 757s and 767s, Bombardier CRJ200s and Embraer E190s. Delta is also accelerating the retirement of all of its McDonnell Douglas MD-88s and MD-90s and potentially others. “We will continue to look at other fleet types, as well as planes within subfleets, within our larger fleet family for retirement decisions. There will probably be a few more made before the end of this year,” Bastian explained.
Featured image by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees