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!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.