Delta On The Verge Of Buying 100 Boeing 737 MAXs

In a huge scoop Jon Ostrower reports that Delta is about to finalize a deal for 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft. The possibility of the deal between the airline and aircraft manufacturer were first reported in March.

Delta is known for buying only planes from foreign manufacturers. While they have taken delivery of new Boeing aircraft from legacy orders, they haven’t placed a major Boeing order in a decade and their entire current order book over more than 220 aircraft is entirely with Airbus.

Delta has long been at odds with Boeing, from opposing re-authorization of the Import-Export Bank (whose biggest beneficiaries are Boeing and GE); seeking protectionist crackdown on big Boeing customers Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar are big Boeing customers; and buying Bombardier C Series which Boeing sought government protection from.

In fact Delta CEO Ed Bastian has called Boeing an ‘arms dealer’ to Middle East airlines after his predecessor at the helm of the Atlanta-based carrier intimated that Boeing customers from the Gulf were complicit in 9/11.

The airline does need to refresh its narrowbody fleet on top of the roughly 150 Airbus A321neos and 39 A220s (new name for what was once the Bombardier C-Series) already on order. They also have Airbus widebodies on the way in the form of both A330s and A350s.

Ostrower reports that an “agreement could be announced at the Farnborough International Air Show later in July.” And he attributes one reason for the selection to CEO Ed Bastian’s view of “political and industrial risk in not having U.S.-made Boeing jets on order” – being massively subsidized by the U.S. govenrment while buying only European aircraft creates a vulnerability (even if many of those Airbus planes are assembled in the U.S.).

This news comes immediately following on a Chinese-government coordinated order by 3 carriers for 300 Airbus narrowbody aircraft, a deal Boeing wasn’t in a real position to compete for due to geopolitical conflict. However in the wake of the ungrounding of the MAX, and presumably due in large part to highly aggressive pricing, Boeing has been successful in securing large orders from carriers including United, Southwest, British Airways and a firming of additional orders by American.

The MAX 10 is Boeing’s largest new narrowbody jet that they’re working hard to get into commercial service after first flying in June 2021.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. DL will have to replace its A319/A320 and 757-200 fleets. Going all in on Airbus isn’t practical or wise.

  2. A321s are replacing the 757s, The A319s/A320s are been being replaced by 737-9LRs and A320ceos and now 737-10s

  3. Delta is the real terrorist organization. Every time I do a flight search using Sky-Pesos, the results are terrifying.

  4. The MAX may very well be efficient but it is the most miserable aircraft. Crammed in seats, seat backs that are ultra thin and lavatories that seem to be someone’s idea of cruel joke. I affectionally call it Satan’s Chariot or Jurassic Jet.

  5. Too bad. 737s have noticeably more narrow cabins and a 5x worse hull loss rate than the A320 series.

    I’m rooting for Boeing to design a *modern* 737 replacement with glass cockpit, electronic checklists, sufficient ground clearance, backup cargo fire suppression systems as a standard, not an option, etc., but not happening if airlines keep buying Boeing’s cheapo kludge job

  6. @Steve, isn’t the interior configuration, seats, etc. a function of airline choices and not Boeing?

  7. ONe would have to be a GD idiot to buy a Boeing Aircraft. All of their programs are in serious jeopardy: the MAX POS, 787, 777, KC-46 and 747 Presidential Program can barely get off the ground. Boeing is run by a useless tractor salesman. Specifically, when that MAX POS crashes (again) every airline flying that deathtrap is going to have an apron filled with “Boeing Pintos”.

    Delta Mgmt are idiots if they even consider buying that loser airplane.

    BTW, Delta’s 320’s are manufactured in Mobile. Do some research before you spew, Gary.

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