The $4 billion deal between Delta Airlines and Boeing announced June 10th 2015 is contingent on the ratification of a new tentative agreement with the airline’s 12,000-strong pilot union. This investment highlights a major effort by the airline to revamp its aging narrow body fleet. This latest order for 40 737-900ER comes in addition to an existing backlog order with Boeing of another 100 such aircraft and another 27 aircraft already in operation. Bracing for major narrow body aircraft retirements, the bulk of which is set to occur by 2019 will see the Boeing 737-900ERs supplant mainly the carrier’s 123 Boeing 757-200 (whose average fleet age is 20 years old), and 117 MD-88 (who average over 24 years of age).
The 20 Boeing-owned Embraer E190 aircraft that form the other part of the deal are former Air Canada aircraft that Boeing acquired part of a previous deal announced in December 2013. By taking these aircraft, Boeing had facilitated the arrival of up to 109 Boeing 737 MAX with Air Canada. With 9 Business class seats in a 1-2 configuration and 88 Economy seats in 2-2 the E190 will help Delta assume traffic on business-friendly travel routes now currently operated by some of its regional subsidiary.