Delta Air Lines has signed a firm order for 75 Bombardier CS100 jets and has optioned 50 more.
According to Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, Delta Air Lines may elect at a later date to convert a number of its CS100 order and option delivery slots into orders for the larger Bombardier CS300.
Its C Series order means that Delta will no longer induct used Embraer 190s into its fleet as previously planned, according to the airline.
Via Boeing, which agreed to buy 20 used Embraer 190s from Air Canada as part of the Canadian airline’s order for up to 108 737 MAX jets, Delta had agreed to take used Embraer 190s for its mainline fleet.
Coincidentally, Air Canada recently became another major North American C Series customer, placing a firm order for 40 CS300s and options for 35 more.
Based on the list price of the CS100, Bombardier values Delta Air Lines’ firm C Series order at approximately US$5.6 billion.
Deliveries of Delta’s CS100s are scheduled to begin in spring 2018.
“As we reshape our fleet for the future, the innovative onboard experience of the C Series is a perfect complement for the top-notch service provided every day by Delta people,” says Ed Bastian, Delta’s incoming chief executive.
“These new aircraft are a solid investment, allowing us to take advantage of superior operating economics, network flexibility and best-in-class fuel performance,” adds Bastian.
As the U.S. launch customer for the CS100, Delta says its firm order for 75 of the aircraft allows it to re-shape and up-gauge its narrowbody fleet cost-effectively, providing an improved customer experience and better cost efficiency while maintaining a focus on prudent capital deployment.
The order forms part of Delta’s strategy to up-gauge its domestic fleet. According to Delta, this will allow it to achieve its long-term financial targets, including 15 per cent earnings-per-share growth and generation of $4 billion to $5 billion in free cash flow annually, while replacing less-efficient domestic aircraft.
Delta says it will deploy its CS100s on short- to medium-haul routes throughout the airline’s network.
“Welcoming Delta Air Lines to the C Series family of operators is a watershed moment for our game-changing aircraft. As an industry leader, Delta consistently ranks first with customers, business leaders and its peers ‒ a benchmark for operational performance,” says Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
“This order is a resounding endorsement of the CS100 aircraft performance and its exceptionally low operating costs,” adds Cromer. “In addition, its widest aisle, widest seats and largest bins in its class will be attractive features for Delta’s passengers.”
With the order, the largest in Bombardier Commercial Aircraft’s history, Delta becomes the Bombardier C Series family’s largest customer.
Delta has been replacing inefficient, older technology aircraft, generating substantial cost improvements.
Since 2009, Delta has retired 280 50-seat regional jets and more than 130 older, narrowbody aircraft.
At the same time, it has refreshed its fleet with more than 300 new aircraft ‒ many of them new, 76-seat Embraer 175 regional jets operated by Delta’s regional subsidiaries and partners on its Delta Connection network.
Delta says it has reduced its fuel use per passenger mile by 8 per cent since 2008.
Including Delta’s order, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft has booked orders and commitments ‒ conditional orders, letters of intent, options and purchase rights ‒ for 803 C Series aircraft, which include firm orders for 325.
Accordingly, Bombardier has officially met its target of securing firm orders for more than 300 C Series jets before the first customer aircraft enters commercial service.
However, some C Series orders ‒ particularly Republic Airways Holdings’ order for 40 CS300s ‒ are regarded by industry observers as likely to be canceled.