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Delta announces order for new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft

In the next few years, a new aircraft will take the mantle as the largest in Delta Air Lines‘ fleet.

The Atlanta-based carrier Friday announced an order of 20 new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, along with options for 20 additional jets.

Deliveries are expected to begin in 2026.

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Seen as a future staple of Delta’s long-haul network, the A350-1000 has a capacity of between 350 and 410 passengers, depending on cabin configuration, according to Airbus. That would be a higher capacity than any jet Delta flies today — including the smaller A350-900 variant, of which Delta has 28 in its fleet today.

Neither Delta nor Airbus revealed the total price tag of the deal, which came hours before the airline planned to hold a conference call with analysts detailing its full-year 2023 financial results.

Larger, more fuel-efficient widebody aircraft

In a statement announcing the news, Delta CEO Ed Bastian described the future addition of the A350-1000 as an “important step forward” in the carrier’s international expansion, describing it as the “largest, most capable aircraft” in Delta’s fleet.

“The aircraft complements our fleet and offers an elevated customer experience, with more premium seats and best-in-class amenities, as well as expanded cargo capabilities,” Bastian said

Specifically, the A350-1000 will have 15% more premium seats compared to aircraft Delta plans to retire over the coming years. The aircraft will, of course, include Delta’s Premium Select and Delta One accommodations.

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The A350 is, also, generally seen as a fuel-efficient option for airlines considering new widebody aircraft, capable of flying ultra-long-haul routes; Australia-based Qantas, for instance, plans to use the A350-1000 for its future longest-in-the-world routes from Sydney Airport (SYD) to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) — dubbed “Project Sunrise.”

Delta’s future fleet

A Delta A350-900 aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

The 20 new A350-1000 aircraft are far from the only jets Delta has on order.

The carrier’s orderbook includes 48 widebody aircraft scheduled for delivery in the coming years, including 16 additional A350-900s.

Delta also has orders for 284 narrow-body aircraft.

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