Delta Air Lines is considering an order for 20 Airbus A350-1000s, the largest aircraft that Airbus is currently producing, according to aviation watchdog JonNYC.
20 total seems to be the number
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) October 4, 2022
Airbus cancelled an order from Qatar Airways for 19 Airbus A350-1000s, after a messy row between the airline and planemaker over deteriorating paint on the Doha-based carrier’s A350s. Such an order by Delta would largely replace the Qatar Airways order, and the aircraft manufacturer could be shopping those planes cheaply. Delta is known as a bottom-feeder, or as a tough negotiator with all counterparties (in a 50-50 deal, Delta takes the hyphen).
Though Delta recently placed an order for Boeing 737 MAXs, the airline mostly buys Airbus and currently operates about 60 Airbus A330 and two dozen A350-900 widebodies, with another 20 of each on order.
The A350-1000 is the largest current Airbus widebody aircraft in production. In its densest form it can seat up to 480 passengers (up from a previous maximum of 440) in a configuration delivered to low cost long haul carrier French Bee. A much more passenger-generous Airbus A350-1000 will be used for Qantas ultra-long haul ‘Project Sunrise’ flights. A total of about 65 A350-1000 aircraft have been delivered out of a total of 150 ordered to date.
While Airbus touts a fuel burn advantage against the Boeing 777-300ER and planned 777-9, it’s a large aircraft that makes sense on dense routes like U.S. – Europe when airports like London Heathrow and Amsterdam have capacity restrictions in place, or seasonally between large markets like New York and Paris, but risk driving down yields substantially to fill in many other uses. Potential low acquisition cost may be the best explanation for Delta’s reported interest.