Delta Air Lines has finally given up on a longstanding order for Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Delta has plenty of Boeing wide-bodies in its fleet, including a handful of remaining 747s as well as dozens of 767s and 777s. But this week it canceled an order it had on the Boeing books for 18 787 Dreamliners.
That order dated back to 2005 – a couple of years before the first 787 was even produced — when it was placed by Northwest Airlines. Delta inherited the order when it merged with Northwest in 2008.
Delta had been hedging on the Dreamliner order for quite a while. Six years ago, it deferred deliveries on the order to at least 2020. And now it has decided it doesn’t want the 787s at all.
The airline said it still has a good relationship with Boeing, noting that it is continuing to take delivery of 120 737-900ERs from the manufacturer through 2019.
But Delta’s long-term plans for long-haul aircraft have shifted to Airbus. It has orders in place for a total of 50 new wide-bodies from the European manufacturer, including 25 A350-900s and 25 A330-900neos. Delta will use some of the A350s to replace its aging 747s on transpacific routes.
When Delta puts the first A350s onto international routes sometime next year, it will introduce a new premium economy class of service, with seats offering 19 inches of width and up to 38 inches of pitch. It will be marketed as Delta Premium. The A350s will also feature a new Delta One business cabin.