January 14, 2011
Delta Air Lines could place firm orders for up to 200 planes as it looks to replace older aircraft, the carrier said on Thursday.
Delta said in a message on its internal employee website that it had sent proposal requests last month to several major plane makers.
The company said that it had asked for proposals to deliver 100 to 200 firm aircraft, with an option for 200 more, starting in early 2013. It said possible orders could include large, medium and small single-aisle planes to be used on US routes.
Delta said new jets could eventually replace planes such as the Airbus A320, Boeing 757-200 and the DC9-50.
"We're now starting to plan for the long term, to ensure that we continue to maintain a flexible, cost-efficient fleet... replace retiring airplanes and provide for domestic mainline growth," Nat Pieper, Delta vice president for fleet strategy and transactions, said in the message.
He said no decisions had been made regarding future purchases.
Airbus and Boeing are the world's largest commercial plane manufacturers, but Canada's Bombardier has been trying to challenge them with a new "CSeries" jet projected to enter service in 2013.
Delta, which acquired Northwest in 2008, has more than 700 planes in its mainline fleet, which excludes feeder aircraft.
In the past year, the carrier, based in Atlanta, Georgia, has upgraded existing planes with interior improvements such as WiFi and more first-class seats. The company has also added new and used aircraft and removed some smaller regional jets and turboprops.