Delta receives its first 242-ton A330-300
The introduction of the first increased maximum take-off weight A330-300 version into Delta Air Lines’ fleet demonstrates the success of Airbus’ incremental development strategy. This new aircraft will further enhance Delta Air Lines’ long-range international operations, and marks a new step in significantly expanding the U.S.-based carrier’s fleet of Airbus-built aircraft.
Speaking to international journalists prior to the 28 May delivery ceremony, Delta Air Lines President Ed Bastian said this new A330-300 version is fully aligned with the airline’s acquisition strategy that “balances economics, provides a great customer experience, and also integrates well into a very mature, well-established network.”
With an increased 242-tonne maximum take-off weight, new aerodynamic package and engine improvements, the latest A330-300 version will begin operations on Delta routes in the Pacific, serving as a component in the carrier’s phase-out of Boeing 747s and 767s, to be supplemented by the airline’s future introduction of Airbus A350 XWBs, Bastian explained.
“Our new A330s are 20-25 percent more fuel efficient than the 767-300s and 747-400s they replace, and will operate very efficiently on Delta’s long-range routes, our transatlantic routes and in the Pacific – providing great network utility and flexibility,” he told reporters gathered at the Airbus assembly facility in Toulouse, France.
Asked about Delta’s firm order in 2014 for 25 A350-900s and 25 A330-900neo (new engine option) aircraft, Bastian said this major acquisition decision was based on the merits of Airbus’ competitive offer: “Airbus had the aircraft delivery positions, the economics, the customer response, and the technology that just ‘knocked our socks off.’”
He noted that Delta currently operates 150-plus Airbus aircraft in a fleet that includes more than 30 A330-200s and A330-300s – making it the largest U.S. customer for this twin-engine jetliner type. “We consider the A330 as the most efficient mid-range international widebody flying today,” Bastian added.
The other Airbus-built airliners currently flown by Delta are 69 single-aisle A320s and 57 A319s.
In addition to nine more A330-300s on order for deliveries through 2017, Bastian provided the following phase-in planning for other Airbus aircraft currently on order: an additional 45 A321s will be delivered beginning next year; the 25 A350 XWBs are to be received starting in 2017; with deliveries of the 25 A330neo versions to begin in 2019.
“All of the technology and innovation that Airbus brings is just phenomenal,” he concluded. “We are thrilled on how deep the partnership is growing between us and Airbus.”