Airbus
Airbus A350-1000 aircraft in Delta Air Lines livery.

$7B Delta Order for Airbus Widebody Jets

Jan. 17, 2024
The airline will be the first U.S. carrier to operate the twin-engine, long-range A350-1000, starting in 2026, hoping to boost its international service.

Delta Air Lines has ordered 20 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, the largest variant of the jetbuilder’s widebody series and capable of seating a maximum of 480 passengers, though fewer than that in a standard three-class arrangement. The aircraft is also amenable to offering multiple “premium cabins” in its business class, adding to the revenue potential for carriers like Delta.

Neither Airbus nor Delta indicated the value of the order – which includes options for 20 more of the same design – but at a reported cost of $367 million it could be worth more than $7 billion for Airbus, or more depending on the number of options the carrier chooses to exercise.

Deliveries will begin in 2026.

The A350-1000 is a twin-engine aircraft with a range of 8,700 nautical miles (16,100 km / 10,000 miles), and a promise of lower fuel consumption and lower operating and maintenance costs than earlier-generation widebody jets. “Its clean sheet design includes state-of-the-art technologies, aerodynamics, lightweight materials and latest-generation (Rolls-Royce Trent XWB) engines that together deliver 25% advantage in fuel burn, operating costs and CO₂ emissions, as well as 50% noise footprint reduction compared to previous generation competitor aircraft,” according to Airbus.

Like nearly all airlines Delta is implementing an extensive fleet modernization program, and a top official also noted the A350-1000 will help it pursue more international service.

“The A350-1000 will be the largest, most capable aircraft in Delta’s fleet and is an important step forward for our international expansion,” stated the airline’s chief executive, Ed Bastian. “The aircraft complements our fleet and offers an elevated customer experience, with more premium seats and best-in-class amenities, as well as expanded cargo capabilities.”

Delta will be the first U.S. airline to operate the A350-1000, although it has over 450 aircraft of Airbus’ other jet series, and operates more Airbus aircraft than any of the other U.S. carriers.  (United Airlines has ordered 45 A350-900s, though those aircraft have not been delivered.)

“We are thankful for Delta’s continued confidence in Airbus’ solutions to meet its fleet needs,” stated Airbus Commercial Aircraft CEO Christian Scherer. “Delta was the first U.S. airline to operate the A350-900, and is doing so with great success. Delta now welcomes the A350-1000, which will open even more opportunities for the airline and its customers. We are proud that our aircraft serve the entirety of Delta’s impressive global network as this stellar airline takes fleet efficiency to the next level.”

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