Calling all AvGeeks: ‘The Spirit of Delta’ is flying once again

Feb 13, 2021

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For AvGeeks and Delta diehards, yesterday was a monumental day.

On Friday morning, Delta officially created “a new Spirit” to celebrate its employees, paying homage to the airline’s first Boeing 767, named The Spirit of Delta.


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Ship 3502, an Airbus A350 — one of the airline’s new flagship aircraft — is now called the Delta Spirit, and is being dedicated to Delta employees around the world, who demonstrated “continued resilience and indomitable spirit during the coronavirus pandemic.”

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The idea to rededicate The Spirit of Delta originated in November with Joe McDermott, the managing director of people development and culture in technical operations.

Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines.

“It’s about resetting as an airline — reflecting where we were and what we’re going to be as we move forward,” McDermott said in a statement. “This recognizes the work everyone has put in to guide this airline to successfully emerge stronger and better than before.”

This tribute is an exciting new chapter in The Spirit of Delta mythos, which originated in 1982 — a turbulent time of deregulation, surging fuel prices and a weak economy, according to the Delta Museum.

Photo by Scott Mayerowitz / The Points Guy.

That’s when current and former Delta employees and friends of the airline banded together to raise $30 million to purchase the airline’s first Boeing 767. Ship 102 was christened The Spirit of Delta on Dec. 15, 1982, nearly four decades ago.

The original Spirit of Delta was retired exactly 15 years ago, on Feb. 12, 2006, following a 12-stop farewell tour. The iconic aircraft now resides at the Delta Museum in Historic Hangar 2.

Two years later, Delta took delivery of its first Boeing 777-200LR jet, Ship 7101, which was named the Delta Spirit in a nod to the airline’s employees and accomplishments. Delta retired its final Boeing 777 in November, an early demise triggered by the onset of the pandemic.

Feature image courtesy of Delta Air Lines. 

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