Delta On The Verge Of Buying 100 Boeing 737 MAXs

In a huge scoop Jon Ostrower reports that Delta is about to finalize a deal for 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft. The possibility of the deal between the airline and aircraft manufacturer were first reported in March.

Delta is known for buying only planes from foreign manufacturers. While they have taken delivery of new Boeing aircraft from legacy orders, they haven’t placed a major Boeing order in a decade and their entire current order book over more than 220 aircraft is entirely with Airbus.

Delta has long been at odds with Boeing, from opposing re-authorization of the Import-Export Bank (whose biggest beneficiaries are Boeing and GE); seeking protectionist crackdown on big Boeing customers Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar are big Boeing customers; and buying Bombardier C Series which Boeing sought government protection from.

In fact Delta CEO Ed Bastian has called Boeing an ‘arms dealer’ to Middle East airlines after his predecessor at the helm of the Atlanta-based carrier intimated that Boeing customers from the Gulf were complicit in 9/11.

The airline does need to refresh its narrowbody fleet on top of the roughly 150 Airbus A321neos and 39 A220s (new name for what was once the Bombardier C-Series) already on order. They also have Airbus widebodies on the way in the form of both A330s and A350s.

Ostrower reports that an “agreement could be announced at the Farnborough International Air Show later in July.” And he attributes one reason for the selection to CEO Ed Bastian’s view of “political and industrial risk in not having U.S.-made Boeing jets on order” – being massively subsidized by the U.S. govenrment while buying only European aircraft creates a vulnerability (even if many of those Airbus planes are assembled in the U.S.).

This news comes immediately following on a Chinese-government coordinated order by 3 carriers for 300 Airbus narrowbody aircraft, a deal Boeing wasn’t in a real position to compete for due to geopolitical conflict. However in the wake of the ungrounding of the MAX, and presumably due in large part to highly aggressive pricing, Boeing has been successful in securing large orders from carriers including United, Southwest, British Airways and a firming of additional orders by American.

The MAX 10 is Boeing’s largest new narrowbody jet that they’re working hard to get into commercial service after first flying in June 2021.

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