Delta started taking delivery of single-aisle Airbus A321s early last year, and it must like them, because it just placed a big order for a bunch of the newest version of that plane.
The company said it has come to terms with Airbus to place firm orders for 100 A321neos, with options for another 100 beyond that. Deliveries are due to start in 2020.
According to Delta’s website, it now has 26 A321-200s in its fleet. Those planes carry 192 passengers – 20 in first class, 29 in Comfort+ and 143 in economy, or about the same number as the 757s they are replacing.
The A321neos will have 197 seats, Delta said, including 20 in first, 30 in Comfort+ and 147 in economy. The A321s will replace “smaller, less technically advanced aircraft,” Delta noted. According to FlightGlobal.com, the new jets will replace Delta’s aging A320s, B757s and MD80s.
The higher-tech A321neos will feature high-speed, satellite-based Wi-Fi and on-demand entertainment, with power ports and streaming video content available at each seat through Delta Studio, the airline said. Cabins’ overhead bins will be 25 percent larger, and cabin lighting will be full-spectrum LED.
Delta reportedly chose the Airbus narrow-bodies over Boeing’s 737MAX-10s. Currently, Delta’s single-aisle fleet includes 148 aircraft from Airbus (A319s, 320s and 321s) and 171 from Boeing’s 737 group (-700s, -800s and -900ERs).
The A321neo (the “neo” stands for “new engine option”) is also popular at other U.S. airlines. For instance, Alaska’s Virgin America unit is currently deploying them on several Hawaii and mainland routes; Hawaiian Airlines is about to start flying them from mainland cities to the islands; and Frontier Airlines recently placed an order for 134 A320neos and A321neos.
According to Airbus, the single-aisle planes in its “neo” group are about 20 percent more fuel-efficient than regular A319/20/21s. Airbus said “typical” seating for an A321neo would be 206 in a two-class layout – although the aircraft could have as many as 240 seats. The A321neo has a range of 7,400 km. (about 4,600 miles or 4,000 nautical miles) vs. 5,900 km. for a regular A321 – or about 25 percent more.
Have you flown on an A321 yet? How’d you like it? How does it compare to your favorite Boeing plane?