By Chase Hagl
Delta Takes Delivery of First Airbus A321neo
Delta Airlines on Wednesday took delivery of its first Airbus A321neo aircraft, delivered from Airbus’ European A321 Final Assembly Line location in Hamburg, Germany.
Following some additional modifications and technical work in Atlanta, the aircraft is set to enter service in May.
The delivery is the first of 26 A321neo’s — the neo is short for new engine option — that are set to be delivered to Delta’s fleet this year. Following the addition of 30 more neo’s in August, Delta’s book now totals 155 purchase commitments through 2027.
Following delivery of Delta’s current A321neo orders, the airline’s A321 fleet will grow to 282 planes. The aircraft will be manufactured at the same facilities in Mobile, Ala., and Hamburg, Germany.
“The delivery of our first A321neo helps to usher in the next era of premium domestic service at Delta,” said Mahendra Nair, Delta’s S.V.P. of Fleet and Tech Ops Supply Chain. “Not only do these aircraft offer the best customer experience in the industry, but these fuel-efficient airplanes further demonstrate our commitment to a more sustainable future.”
Replacing a Workhorse of Ages Past
The neo looks to replace Delta’s aging narrowbody fleet utilized for domestic operations, with the primary focus on its Boeing 757-200 aircraft, which has an average age of 24 years. In addition, the A321neo intends to replace the airline’s older A320 aircraft, with an average age of 25.
By replacing older aircraft, the neo will not only add much greater operational efficiency to Delta’s fleet, but it will also greatly assist in the company’s aim to become carbon neutral.
“Adding these aircraft strengthens Delta’s commitment to replacing older fleets with more sustainable, fuel-efficient jets, and offers the best customer experience in the industry,” Delta Senior Vice President for Fleet and TechOps Supply Chain Mahendra Nair said in a statement last year. “Delta appreciates the extensive partnership with the Airbus team in support of our strategic growth plans, and we look forward to continuing to work together throughout the recovery and in the years ahead.”
Assisting in the aircraft’s great operational efficiency is the aircraft’s Pratt & Whitney PW1100G powerplants, which, according to Delta, achieve 20% better fuel efficiency over Delta’s current A321ceo counterpart.
“The GTF-powered A321neo joins more than 200 Pratt & Whitney-powered aircraft in Delta’s fleet today” stated Rick Deurloo, Pratt & Whitney Chief Commercial Officer.
As well as improvements in efficiency, the aircraft will offer a much greater customer experience as a result of Delta’s effort to incorporate personalization and seamlessness. The 194-seat configuration will include 20 domestic First Class seats, 42 Delta Comfort+ seats and 132 Main Cabin seats, all with memory-foam cushioning. Additionally, the new domestic First Class seat features more privacy, workspace and storage. Each passenger will have access to Delta’s wireless in-flight entertainment system and powerports located at each seat, as well as their fast streaming Wi-Fi throughout the cabin.
On top of that, the aircraft includes spacious overhead bins, winged headrests, thoughtful finishes and more.