As it was announced on Thursday, Delta Air Lines is getting ready to retire its 18 of its 777s. This means that the carrier will deploy its modern Airbus A350s on the route between Sydney and Los Angeles by the end of 2020.
Burning 21% less fuel per seat
On Thursday, Delta Air Lines announced that it would retire it’s 777 early as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a bid to accelerate the carrier’s strategy, of simplifying and modernizing its fleet, the 18 777s would be retired by the end of the year.
This means that more of Delta’s long-haul services will be operated by the more modern and fuel-efficient A350s.
Delta will operate the new generation A350-900 in the replacement of 777s. So, the A350s will be deployed on some of its airline’s transpacific routes it was not serving earlier, including its Los Angeles to Sydney service, before the end of 2020. Granted, of course, that commercial aviation is back traversing the oceans, and the demand for an LA to Sydney route has recovered by then.
A330s and A350s to fly long-haul
Delta CEO Ed Bastian told the airline’s staff that,
“Retiring a fleet as iconic as the 777 is not an easy decision. Our A330s and A350-900s, which are more fuel-efficient and cost-effective, will perform long-haul flying as international demand returns.”
As the great distance from Los Angeles to Sydney is 6,507 nautical miles. And the A330 has a range of up to 7,251 nm, the model itself could potentially operate from the American West Coast to the Australian East coast.
However, the way Delta has configured the A330neos, which are the most fuel-efficient in the fleet, they would not be able to complete the flight. Hence, the task must fall to its larger cousin, the A350, which has a typical range of around 8,100 nm.
The carrier’s A350s, which are 13 in numbers, with an order placed for two more, are fitted with Delta’s expensive Delta one suites in the business class. These feature fully-flat beds and direct aisle access for every passenger. But also a sliding door for maximizing privacy of oneself.
The new suites can be found onboard the A350, A330-900neo and777s.
The aircraft, averaging 2.3 years, also have Delta Premium Select, Delta’s premium economy configuration. Fold-out adjustable foot- and leg-rest. More supportive seatback featuring deeper recline and more full seats are all selling points for the product.
The 777 still has time.
The 777s also all have these same features, as they were refurbished with the concept not long ago; at the cost of over $100 million. But they at least may still operate a few more months’ worths of Delta transpacific traffic before they get retired.
Delta’s 777’s, Delta One Suite
Delta is not flying its Los Angeles to Sydney route due to present circumstances. Still, it is intending to restart it from June 6th, when it is selling tickets for three flights per week. Although, that seems quite an optimistic assessment, given the severity of Australian travel bans.
At the moment, Qantas is serving a weekly flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne with a Dreamliner. And Virgin Australia with their 777 from Los Angeles to Brisbane once a week up until June 7th, As part of the Australian Government’s repatriation efforts. Perhaps Delta is reasoning that there will be enough Australian’s still stranded on the US West Coast after that date wanting to get back home?
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