Delta Air Lines confirmed an order for 100 new Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets this morning, the first big order announced at the 2022 Farnborough International Airshow. In announcing the deal Delta CEO Ed Bastian highlighted both the acquisition and operating costs as favorable to the carrier:
These new aircraft provide superior operating economics and network flexibility, and the agreement reflects our prudent approach to deploying our capital.
The long-rumored single-aisle refresh deal surfaced in March and resurfaced again at the beginning of this month. Now confirmed, it allows Delta to replace and expand its aging 737-800 fleet (77 aircraft, average of 21 years old) with these new jets. Deliveries are anticipated from 2025. Delta’s order now means all five of the largest US airlines will operate a sizable 737 MAX fleet.
Delta also holds a significant order book for the A321neo, and likely needs more new single-aisle aircraft before the end of the decade to further refresh its aging fleet. The 100 (plus 30 options) announced today do not complete that task.
Will it really happen?
The order announcement comes against the backdrop of Boeing CEO David Calhoun discussing earlier this month the potential for the MAX 10 to never be built. Delays in certification are bad enough for airlines expecting their new planes. But the MAX 10 delays also mean it would require a significant avionics refresh to meet new Congressionally-mandated safety standards. Thus far Congress has not appeared keen to offer an extension of that exemption.
Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, took the order announcement as an opportunity to remind lawmakers that many of them have constituents potentially impacted should the MAX 10 not be built, “Built in our factory in Washington state with support from key suppliers across the US, the 737-10 will provide Delta Air Lines with the best economics to carry more passengers across its short and medium-haul routes.”
For its part, Delta also acknowledges the risk of the MAX 10 not happening, The airline “has adequate protection in place, including allowing Delta to shift to another model of MAX family,” according to executives.
Delta’s 737 MAX 10 calls for a premium-heavy configuration with 20 first class seats, 33 in the Comfort+ cabin, and 129 in economy. This is just two total seats more than the current 737-900ER configuration, with a dozen more in C+ and ten fewer economy seats on the MAX 10.
Every passenger will have access to in-seat entertainment screens and power ports. The planes will also offer a high-speed in-flight internet solution on board.
The deal also calls for 29 of Delta’s 737-900ERs to receive an interior refresh managed by Boeing Global Services. Most of Delta’s recent interiors work leaned heavily on the carrier’s Tech Ops and Delta Flight Products groups. In that context shifting this work to an outside party is somewhat unexpected.
But Boeing continues to push its services arm as a growing business segment. With greater flexibility in the margins on that side of the operation, the value-added services are an easier way for the manufacturer to adjust the total value of the contract without cutting aircraft acquisition costs too much. Such cuts could trigger complex knock-on effects to orders from other airlines.
More news from the 2022 Farnborough International Airshow
- Delta confirms 737 MAX 10 order
- Boom Overture adds engines in design revamp
- Porter Air boosts Embraer E2 commitment in advance of service launch
- Dash 8 adds IFE/C with Starlink option
- SatixFy’s Onyx Aero terminal seeks middle ground in ESA market
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