NEW YORK: Delta Air Lines announced December 14 it ordered 100 Airbus planes with an option to buy 100 more, in a blow to Airbus’ American rival Boeing.
Delta IS buying A321 NEO aircraft to renew its narrow-body fleet, which have 197 seats and are used for domestic or short international flights.
The Airbus order comes amid public friction between Delta and US giant Boeing over a trade dispute involving a separate Delta deal to buy planes from Canadian company Bombardier.
Airbus deliveries to Delta will begin in 2020 and go through 2023 under the order, worth an estimated $12.7 billion based on the aircraft catalogue price.
Delta said the new planes would result in 40 percent fuel savings compared with the jet they are replacing.
Airbus in 2015 opened a manufacturing plant in Mobile, Alabama to build single-aisle planes with an eye towards competing more aggressively in the US.
Airbus highlighted its growing connection to the US in the announcement, saying most of the new planes would be delivered from Mobile.
“This purchase furthers our commitment to US aviation — a commitment that has never been stronger,” said John Leahy, chief operating officer for customers at Airbus Commercial Aircraft.
“Today, there is more US content in Airbus aircraft than from any other country, with more than 40 percent of our aircraft-related procurement coming from the United States.”
Delta also announced that it picked United Technologies’ Pratt & Whitney as the engine provider, and for engine maintenance. Delta also selected Pratt engines for the Bombardier order, which is at the heart of the Boeing trade dispute,
Boeing argued Delta’s planes were underpriced due to illegal Canadian government subsidies to Bombardier.
Canada-based Bombardier in October unveiled a production alliance with Airbus that granted the European company a stake in the Bombardier C-Series program. Delta has said it will not pay for any punitive tariffs sought by the US government in response to Boeing complaints.