Delta Air Lines is losing $60 million a day and not paying over a third of its employees who took leaves. It has parked the majority of its fleet. And i’s preparing to accept billions of dollars in government bail out cash.
Yet last week it appears to have placed an order for 10 Airbus A350s. Airbus announced the order, but refused to confirm the airline involved.
At list prices the order is worth about $3 billion so order of magnitude assume Delta is spending about $1.5 billion.
Delta’s deal this past fall to acquire a 20% stake in South American carrier LATAM included taking 4 Airbus A350s that were already in the LATAM fleet, and taking 10 orders off of LATAM’s hands. LATAM cancelled their A350 order. And almost simultaneously an airline placed a similar-sized order.
So it’s assumed this is Delta keeping its promise to LATAM and Airbus that was made in the fall. Delta does not yet have to take delivery of these planes, of course. The A350 may have been too large for the mission for which it was deployed in Delta’s fleet even before the current crisis. It may be even more so now, and adding planes may not be supported by passenger demand or financially prudent.
Nonetheless Delta continues to honor its end of the deal despite the sizable nature of the financial commitment.