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Tue, Apr 18, 2017

Delta Reviewing Jet Orders In Light Of Market Conditions

Carrier Could Cancel Or Postpone Some Airbus Orders, CEO Says

With the market for long-range air travel looking like it might plateau in the next few years, Delta is looking at the airliners it has on order, and the result could be an issue for Airbus.

In 2014, the European planemaker signed a $14 billion deal with Delta in what was a pretty fierce battle with Boeing. But now, the carrier could postpone or even cancel some of the new A350s and A330neos it has on order, which makes analysts think that the demand for long-haul jets may not be as strong as it has been in recent years.

The Seattle Times reports that Delta had ordered the A350s to replace its aging Boeing 747s. But in a conference call with analysts last week, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said that the company is seeing "excess capacity in wide-bodies as we look to the future for the industry as a whole. We continue to look internally as to what that means for Delta.”

Bastian said that the airline is in discussions with planemakers, but "you could anticipate some reductions, I think, broadly over the next several years."

The Airbus order book currently has 25 A350-900s and 25 A330-900s designated for Delta. The carrier has no planes from Boeing on order, according to the report. Airbus said it was not "appropriate" to comment on internal analysis conducted by a customer.

The industry has been absorbing a surplus of airliners as both Boeing and Airbus boosted output from 2011 to 2015. Boeing has recently announced a second production cut on the 777 airliner, and Airbus says A330neo orders have largely stopped coming in.

Delta scrapped a longstanding order it had on the books for 18 Dreamliners that had been ordered by Northwest Airlines prior to its merger with Delta.

American Airlines, meanwhile, has 22 A350 XWB jets on order, with the first delivery planned for next year. A spokesman declined to speculate about whether the carrier would take delivery of all those airplanes.

(Image from file)

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