Says Merged Airline "Will Be An Opportunistic Purchaser"
One of the big questions in the Delta/Northwest merger has been
answered -- whether Boeing or Airbus could expect a windfall from
the recent merger. And the answer is... probably not.
Delta Air Lines maintains a fleet comprised almost exclusively
of Boeing aircraft, with a few McDonnell-Douglas-era MD88s in the
mix as well. In contrast, Northwest operates a mix of Boeing and
Airbus products, as well as a AARP-eligible fleet of aged Douglas
Analysts have speculated whether the merger might mean more
future business for Boeing, given Delta's status as controlling
party in the merger. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports Delta
CEO Richard Anderson settled the question Monday during a visit to
"Delta will be an opportunistic purchaser of airplanes and that
will include both Boeing and Airbus," Anderson said.
Then, he took it a step further... and said Bombardier and
Embraer products could also be in the mix. For the moment, Delta's
regional subsidiaries fly aircraft from those manufacturers... but
they aren't operated by the mainline carrier directly. Anderson
says that may change.
"Given our size, the breadth of our network and the variety of
places that we fly, we will be customers for all the major
suppliers," he said.
In acquiring Northwest, Delta also inherited that airline's 18
firm orders for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, and options for 50 more.
The 787 is about the same size as the Airbus A330, for which
Northwest was already the largest customer.
Anderson said the Dreamliner will be welcomed at the new
Delta... whenever it finally is delivered. "It's a pretty
remarkable airplane... Boeing has done a nice job on the
innovation, but it remains to be seen when we get delivery of the
airplane at this point," he said.
Regarding critics who have said the Dreamliner is too small for
long-haul routes, Anderson added,"Given the fact that we fly to 380
cities on six continents... the right-sized airplane in a market is
really important in this business. Given the wide variations of
markets we serve, the 787 over the long term will certainly have a