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While Delta is still riding high from taking delivery of its very first Airbus A220 (which we’ll be on once passenger flights begin on Jan. 31, 2019), it’s hardly resting on its laurels when it comes to new aircraft. Clément Alloing has spotted what appears to be the carrier’s first Airbus A330-900neo in Toulouse, France, which coincides with big news from Delta itself about how this plane will slot into its fleet.

For starters, Delta confirmed on Friday that each of its A330-900neo aircraft will not only feature its spectacular Delta One Suites product in the forward cabin, but it will be the first Delta aircraft “to feature all cabins — Delta One Suites, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin.” The jet also will be the first Delta aircraft to feature memory foam cushions throughout the aircraft, and the first Delta widebody aircraft featuring its new wireless inflight entertainment system in every seat.

Word on the street has it that Delta will take delivery of its first A330-900neo in April 2019, and while mum’s the word on what routes it’ll operate, you can probably bet that they’ll take over the routes where Delta retires Boeing 767-300ERs. The airline has said that it’ll begin phasing those older jets out “in the years ahead as the aircraft reach the end of their serviceable life cycle.”

Also interesting is the product mix. Tucked into the announcement is celebration surrounding an expanded order for the A330-900neo: “Delta Air Lines is adding 10 Airbus 330-900neo aircraft to its fleet under an agreement with Airbus and Rolls-Royce, expanding its order of the next-generation widebody jet from 25 to 35.”

But where Delta gives, Delta taketh away. In parallel, Delta has agreed to terms with Airbus to “reduce its near-term A350-900 purchase commitment to a total of 15 aircraft from 25.” The 10 previously on order A350 aircraft have been deferred to 2025-26 with certain flexibility rights including the right to convert these orders to A330-900s. It appears that Delta’s going to test out the A330neo before making a decision on which aircraft makes the most sense for long-haul routes going forward. Delta currently operates 11 A350-900 aircraft and expects to take delivery of two A350s in 2019 and two in 2020.

Featured image courtesy of Airbus / Delta Air Lines.


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