It’s official: Delta orders A321neo with GTF engine

Dec. 14, 2017: After a wave of news stories yesterday, today’s it’s official: Delta Air Lines ordered 100 Airbus A321neos and optioned 100 more.

Deliveries begin in 2020.

The airplane will be equipped with the Pratt & Whitney GTF and Delta Tech Ops will be a third-party maintenance provider.

Delta’s investor day begins in 20 minutes. Questions about the competition with Boeing, Boeing’s trade complaint against Bombardier for the Delta C Series order and related issues are certain.

113 Comments on “It’s official: Delta orders A321neo with GTF engine

  1. Looks like the MRO part played a significant role in the selection of the A321neo over that of the 737-10 MAX.

  2. Thanks. Will leave it to Keesje to say his thing on what happening in Tolouse now.

    • I won’t. I wonder what happening in Chicago though. They are probably dispatching seniors to United, who are scratching their heads even more.

      • Nope. They’re picking the champagnes they’ll need to put on ice for the big party they’ll have soon, watching Airbus execs do the “perp walk” when the Serious Fraud Office is done with them! LOL

        • That one was below the belt, it is a question of whether Major Tom has done sufficient to contain/ deflect/ obfuscate his way out of this one LOL

        • This is like doping for the Olympics and such.
          Russia uses doping. ( actually most everybody seems to do doping. Only not caught yet.)
          The US uses the same substances but hides their use behind “medically necessary medication”.

          The adjective one would use is bigotted”, isn’t it?

          • The US plays by, and hides behind the doping rules while others set up a cottage industry of violating the rules and covering up the violations and these things are somehow morally equivalent?

            I prefer to see the world is 8 years behind the US. We tried and failed to dope our way through the Tour de France . Boeing tried and failed to bribe their way to a USAF tanker contract. Now the rest of the world is catching up to the wrong lessons.

            Wait until the rest of the world’s bankers catch up to the criminal corruption of the US banking system.

          • actually, I would say we tried and succeeded at doping our way through the TdF. if you look at the years Lance won, you often had to go down to 7th place or even lower to find a competitor who had not failed one or more drug tests, meanwhile Lance and co (doped to the gills) skated through all the tests. they only ever got caught because 10 years later technology had improved enough that trace levels were detectable and some people who were in on it ratted them out to save their own asses.

            _all_ of the pro peloton was dirty at that time, it was just a matter of degree. Lance and co were very scientific and careful to keep their numbers just below the fail thresholds at all times. other teams just juiced and hoped they’d be cleaned out before their next blood test.

          • Everyone: I don’t have time to closely monitor comments on a regular basis and I’ve only now seen all these refereneces to “doping,” Lance Armstrong and the like.

            This has nothing to do with Delta ordering the A321neo.

            Knock it off. Or do I have to close comments?

        • The same *independent* ‘serious fraud office’ that turned the other way when instructed by their UK gov. masters on the Saudi Euro-fighter sale BAE made (al yamani)? What was the amount of cash ‘redistributed’ to Saudi princes? 1.5B pounds??

          Talk about hypocrisy. Love when these types lecture you.

          • Not UKs finest hour, I get the feeling this rebounded on RR later when the authorities were forced to be seen to act

      • United used to be the only US major carrier committing to the 737-9. While the rest (AA, DL, jetblue, Virgin, Frontier, Hawaiian) went A321. Boeing intervened by improving the -9 into the -10 and declared a 50-50 status is about to be reestablished.

        Now the -10 might just take over the orphan role. No airline wants orphans from a development and life cycle perspective (MRO, infrastructure, rest value).

        Meanwhile Lionair has been converting to -8s and Air Canada is sneaking in more A321s.

        Boeing is looking brave on the -10, airlines are on the fence.

        • Oh come on. We just learned a new term and have to use it?

          The 737-10 has nice orders, it ain’t no orphan any more than the 737 was a so called one trick pony.

          Can’t we at least discuss this on the merits as highly interested persons without that Leahy garbage (Frankenplane ) stuff coming into it?

          Clearly Boeing does not match up to the A321. It compete well against the A320.

          The 737-10 helps but not solve that lack of a true A321 competitor .

          • The A321 fits the US market really well since they got the winglets and better range, the A321neo is just “icing on the cake”. The 737-10 has its limited market. Hopefully can Boeing engineering and finance listen DAL during the debrief what is lacking in the 737-10. (Full Fly by wire, cargo containers, bigger cross section, payload/range, high and hot performance, noice level, wheel well cleanliness, …) The 737-10 might be cheaper to purchase, repair and consume less fuel per seat mile but it lacks the flexibility, smartness and elegance, Everything the 797 should excel in. Even getting modern MC-21 structures sections from Russia to assemble with Boeing systems in Seattle would quickly close the gap to the A321neo and put pressure on Witchita for 737 structures cost reductions.

          • Good idea, Claes ! Boeing should enter into a franchise agreement with Irkut to produce and market MC-21. It would solve the 12 x 12 dilemma with a 797 development (12 billion, 12 years), shortened down to merely the usual 4-years production ramp-up challenge. It would be a win-win deal for both parties !

        • “United used to be the only US major carrier committing to the 737-9.”

          If you’re trying to run an airline, the strategy of “Do the opposite of whatever UA chooses to do,” is a pretty good place to start.

          • @Mike

            LOl, that is a true and tested time honored tradition!

        • keesje, you said Air Canada is sneaking in more A321’s, but I can’t find a reference to that. Please explain.

  3. 100+100 and they have already 122 A321CEO’s on order.

    322 x A321 for Delta. Like AA a massive A321 fleet.

    It seems the A321 will become the new MD80 for the major airlines.

    • The A321 is a much higher capacity aircraft than the MDs are.

      The C series is the MD replacement.

      A321 is in a whole different class.

      A320 might replace an MD on some routes.

      • The MD were in a time traffic was 2x as small. I was more referencing to it as the large fleets, the workhorse for US airlines.

    • The Mobile FAL cost Airbus Money by shipping paid sections on boat that could have been fitted together in the EU to an Aircraft by the time the ship leaves tha harbor, but I agree to some logisitcs advantages for US made Engines/APU’s trucked directly to Mobile instead of flying to Europé, paint work and delivery of N-registered Aircrafts directly into airline service without having delivery crews flown into France/Germany and a fairly long empty return flight.

    • Rather than the Mobile FAL so much, it seems,
      “Pratt & Whitney GTF and Delta Tech Ops will be
      a third-party maintenance provider”,
      was the Big Deal. Smart.

    • “Delta, for its part, said it’s negotiating a contract revision
      with Bombardier to accept deliveries assembled
      only from the Mobile plant.”
      I thought so…

  4. Should we expect some of those 100 options to become a larger A322 with larger carbon fiber wings and more range?????

  5. The MAX-10 plays the part of the “accidental” late last child of a large family already unable to cope with their numerous children : an embarrassment more than a joyful event, friends and relatives are huffing “now how does Boeing expect to raise that one end-of-race half-breed loner in these adverse times ?”

    • I know you are just trying to make a point about the MAX10. But saying ‘half breed’ is something I find offensive. Please, go ahead and make fun of Boeing, but I ask that you not say that.
      And, yes, I know Cher made a song. That was a long time ago in a culture that seems far far away in 2017.
      Thank you.

      • Agreed.

        It may or may not have a place in the right context but that context is clearly not here.

        Bash Boeing, doesn’t matter if they deserve it or not.

        Lets keep Trump out of this.

  6. Are they the new cabin-flex door configuration I wonder? Assume so. Great news for passengers. A nicer craft I think, and airspace cabin available from 2020.

    • Does appear to be. Overwing exit and the ‘C’ door moved back. Total seat capacity up 5. Up one seat in Y+, adding 4 in Y.
      The one minor bummer in this is that this appears to eliminate the two 2-seat pairs. Those are quite nice for a couple traveling together, and have great leg room on the current DL 321s.
      A minor issue, considering how the comfort would have been on a MAX10!!

  7. After their attack on the Delat deal with BBD, it appears that folks over at Boeing are running out of feet to shoot themselves in…

      • I used to think Boeing had lost its arrogance, obviously not true.

        They really ought to think in terms when Trump is gone (be it sooner or latter)

        • When does The Board step in? I suppose the almost 300 dollar stock price keeps them silent. These last CEOs at BA have gotten away with poor decisions only because aerospace and the global economy are on an upturn. We know that can change quickly, and predictions would indicate more Boeing cancellations than AB and Bombardier.

    • IMU it was open to the end if MAGA would be worked as joker. In a roundabout way this could still be construed as
      regulatedion holdback ( unionized Seattle ) topped out by “right to work” Alabama. IMU the “Real US foreign politics” may well be interstate politics. not global scope. took me a while to realize this.

      • If I track that,. yes, the mfg polices of the US have states fighting each other and the corporations sitting back and sucking in the cash.

        Reminds me of feudal times, peasants were there to support the Lords.

        • I think we have been reverting in that direction for close to 20 years now, although the last 10 or so seem to be the most blatant. Something akin to the way things were in the “good old days” of Dickens. “You shall work on Christmas and be happy you have the chance to do so!”

  8. My Delta Airlines frequent flyer card just got shredded. I’ll be flying the Proudly All Boeing guy out of Seattle from now on.

    • It must be good to think that this decision is ‘all about you’. I am sure that the inanimate colossus that is Boeing will thank you for it. Enjoy your travels in retirement sir

    • What about other cities?Life might get very complicated and stressful. Are you going to insist that the airline leaves the wings behind when you fly on a 787?

      • wings only?
        You would have to fly on the naked wing2fuselage fairing. Good luck with that :-().

        • Retired Boeing Dude:

          I hope you realize I can appreciate how you feel.

          I grew up with Boeing being the center of our world and an icon to wonder at and be proud of.

          Fast forward to today and some years back I realized like so much, this is no longer the America I grew up in.

          Some of it is far better, some of it is working that way, but some of it has gone sour.

          Corporations that used to build their own facilities on their own dime in good locations without feeding off the Public Trough is not one of them.

          Now I have to support corporations that can spend 18 billion buying back their own shares? Not pay ANY taxes in some years? Pay mini minimal in other years?

          Me, I am just a smuck who worked hard all his life, lucky to have a house and I am a medical emergency away from financial ruin.

          No, I no longer support Boeing as a fan, I do have to support them as a taxpayer though.

          Is that truly what we are?

          I may admire the products (those that are good) but Boeing as an icon no longer exists and has not for some time.

    • LOL, go for it if it makes you feel better. The other 99.9999% of passengers will continue to buy flights based on price and schedule.

    • Also, I find the most comfortable “Boeings” in the All-Boeing AAG fleet to be the E175, the A320, and the A321neo.

  9. Now is the right time to launch the A321/757 NSA component .Its taken 12years to get the A350 devloped and ramped up.Waiting for the engines?787 engines are only now properly matured.Boeing are risking the future of the company if they try to hang on to 737 and then leap for the NSA all in one go.I am confident that this is obvious to Boeings management and action is imminent.

  10. Looks like the A321 continues to gain ground on the A32o as a value proposition. The untapped market is ten to twenty percent in size above the A321 where nothing currently exists. Boeing should launch the 797 now with a 2024 EIS.

    • Airbus expects to _deliver_ better than 50% A321 in the nearish future. This changeover is an accelerating process.
      remember A319 shew 10% more deliveries than the A320 back in 2000. It is a rolling wave pushed by increased range mostly (and lifted demand ).
      The step change from NEO was a strong accelerator in this respect not mirrored on the 737 side.

      • Agreed. And Boeing has a marginal response to the A321.

        Airbus has to be clicking their heels in glee at the self inflicted wounds.

        • Schadenfreude ( even more so when you have personally have sabotaged the other side ) is a cherished feeling in the US.
          But it is not constructive.
          It is addicting due to being cheaper to effect than actually competing on core capabilities as those are short changed in the process. Defeat comes when you cannot destroy you counterpart before you stumble on your own accruing deficiencies.

          • Re: “Defeat comes when you cannot destroy you[r] counterpart
            before you stumble on your own accruing deficiencies.”

            I just had to quote whoever said this.
            Boeing is not the only example, by any means,
            historically or currently.

          • Hubris and self-inflicted wounds. Plenty of other examples to be found, too, indeed.

          • Uwe

            ‘Depriving satisfaction from the misfortune of other’

            Only the Germans could have such a word…

          • Sowerbob,

            words with the exact same meaning exist in several other languages, Swedish e.g. And by the looks of it, with the phenomenon abound everywhere these days, should exist in many more… English probably first on the list…


          • “Sowerbob
            December 14, 2017

            ‘Depriving satisfaction from the misfortune of other’
            Only the Germans could have such a word…”

            I think Uwe would know the Definition of “Schadenfreude” and while te Germany came up with the word, it is worth noting that the Americans seem to use it much more often!

          • @ Mneja

            We need a word that refers better to deriving satisfaction from our own complete stupidity, perhaps Brexit will suffice. I am interested to hear that it is an American phenomena as well.

            There is something quite depressing in having to draw a feeling of superiority by looking down on others but unfortunately it seems to be received behaviour worldwide. I am not saying it reflects a national characteristic, rather it is a feature of the German language to place a complex meaning into a single phrase or word that I have found interesting or clever (for want of a better word – ahem)

  11. Can CFM or Pratt deliver a 35K engine for a new Boeing aircraft in less time than a 45K engine, if the engine is the critical path for time? Can Boeing build a better mousetrap with a 35K engine and a 40m wing that folds into a 36m gate?

    • I believe P&W can.

      There were proposes for a mid sized engine on the GTF. Maybe for the A330.

      Boeing is probably playing for time so GE can way in.

      No idea if its a CFM or a GE.

      More better to launch with GTF and let the others catch up.

      P&W should have the engineering resource to do a new project with the PW1000 wrapping up with the pip changes needed to get full bore ops.

    • Think PWA has commited to certify à 35k engine with MTU and EU development Money.

      • P&W and MTU have been working together for quite some time.

        They also have 4 or 5 Japanese partners in the group.

        They have a lot more heft than they are generally perceived as having.

    • All the NEOing and MAXing aside, my understanding is that the single biggest factor in the next wave of aircraft designs is the engine technology.

      Despite the huge steps the engine manufacturers have taken over the last decade, the next decade seems to indicate another significant increase in performance when compared to the current offerings and that is what both Boeing and Airbus are waiting for.

      I believe that is the reason for the possible 2 year push to the right on the Boeing MOM program.

  12. I’m still not at ease with long overwater stretches on two engines… There are regular instances of engine failure requiring an emergency landing… The dices are being rolled and rolled… One day, the unthinkable will happen…

      • That’s ok, I am not either, but that’s the way its gone.

        In reality, 4 engine has not always been better.

        Most of the failures that could have taken an aircrf down were non engine (direly)

        JAL I believe almost lost a 747 because they were pulling off empty tanks, last engine quit as they touched down in Japan.

        I forget who (American ) almost lost a 3 engine (DC-10 maybe) as the mechanic put the plugs in wrong and two out of 3 engines lost their oil
        (good thing the number 2 engine is too high to check!)

        A3XX into the Azores lost its fuel (twin but same issue, no fuel , 10 engines don’t help. )

        Statistics say some day a twin with an engine out will loose another engine.

        But history says 3 or more engines don’t help either so……

        • Good point TW.
          And wait for self driving cars.

          When we as car users get comfortable with the concept, the aircraft manufacturers will do the same with airplanes. No chance before even though the tech is easier than cars.

          • I believe the first step would be a transition with only one flight crew member, who only takes over in case of an emergency. But that there opens up another can of worms if a single pilot has other intentions which don’t coincide with the goal of keeping the passengers safe.

    • Counterpoint: the THOUSANDS of A330, A350, B757, B767, B777, and B787 transocean flights every single day that go as planned without emergencies.

      ETOPS is there for a reason!

      • Too true, statistically you are correct but just think what would happen if there was a string of accidents attributable to twins over a short space of time? Would there be a panic or simply an acceptance that this is the cost of travel?

  13. Scott, I hope you’ll pontificate at some point on what this could signal for DL for the eventual replacement of DL’s long-thin 757 etops routes (LIS, CPH etc).
    I am assuming from the order that this is 100 321neos, not containing any neoLRs. Do you think that DL is considering the longer range version in their options package?

    • If the routes suit it, of course they will buy an A320.

      A full A320 is better than an 55% full A321.

      C500 is a ways off.

      • JetBlue has ordered a handful of A320neos. But Spirit and Frontier will be the bulk of the action. There are only so many routes that can handle a ~230 seat plane when your network is primarily point-to-point.

      • As configured for Delta, a full A320 = an 81.2% full A321neo (or 83.3% full 321ceo).

        But your larger point is correct, right-sizing seat capacity does impact margin (and to some extent, pricing power).

  14. Scott, what do you make of the large gap in Delta’s portfolio? ie. nothing on order between the 110 seat 717 and the 737-900er/A321? Is the price/trip cost of a A321 so close to an A320 that they would rather fly empty seats than have a smaller airplane? Or is something else cooking?
    I know “up-gauging” is all the rage these days, but that’s a serious hole.

    • Scott of course is not me but……

      C series fills that gap nicely with the C300.

      Down the road C500 pushes out the A320.

      • Somebody pointed out yesterday that their 737-800s are young by DL standards, so they can wait. Maybe CS500s at some point?

        • Boy, Airbus might really catch Boeing flatfooted if they go 322 and CS500. Boeing’s so busy enjoying a padded order book of mostly B737-8s, they can’t see past their short term bonus’s and stock options…

          • Quite a lot of people think that’s already happened, effectively 25 years ago, but it’s taken this long for the consequences to become writ large across he sky. That is, lots of A32x contrails, not 737 contrails.

          • I agree, a stretched 321with new wings, aerodynamic changes could potentially carry out 757 and 767 missions with single aisle economics. Lower development costs compared to the 797 may also allow an enchanted a321 neo to be extremely well priced and competitive.

      • Unless, AB just decides to “slow walk” the CSeries to protect the A320/321 news! LOL

        • Don’t see that happening as Scott has already reported that AB are working on an optimized upsizing of the A321, which won’t improve the base A320. If they don’t do a CS500 they’ll have to compete with cheap A320s, and lower margins. They’ll make more money out of a modern C series derivative.

        • Why would Airbus do that?
          I don’t see the logic in your comment.
          If Airbus didn’t want the C Series to be successful, they didn’t need to do a thing. It was already slowly dying on a vine, with the Boeing/US Government “sun” ensuring it doesn’t get enough “water” to survive.

          I suppose you could have been trying to be humorous but……

          • Not humorous, admiring! Picked this thinking up from a commenter on another aviation websitelast week. Yes, it’s devious, but well nigh effective, to “slow walk” a competitor into the ground, with a gee whiz we did everything we could to help”game face”. Reminds me of a neat, new Netflix film on the independence and related partition of India and Pakistan—where Indians, Paks, and Mountbatten all get “played” by a Churchill partition/dividing plan to keep the Soviets from an Indian Ocean warm water port! (Viceroy’s something or other. As the saying goes: “Old age and treachery beat youth and exuberance every time.” LOL)

  15. Well, here we go again. Not sure the small twin aisle B797 isn’t a BIG mistake. There’s really still need for a modern age/new century B757-200X. Do carbon wings and an Al-Li frame/carbon panel fuselage, 787 cockpit, 787 electric systems—no bleed air. Initial range: 5,200 statute/4420 nautical. Make it overpowered with 40,000 lb. engine thrust—have GE downsize the Genx. Streaked wingtips, but foldable wingtip option. Get 100 order/100 option commitments out of Norwegian, Lionair, United, Alaska, American, and a leasing company. Hold the cost to $10 B, 12.0 max. Build it in a new plant on the 400 acres the Chas. Port Authority is holding for BA. Price the first 200/250 out the door at cost, fully subject to BA Gold Care. Ok, start shooting holes in this! LOL

    • Not really many holes to shoot in it, other than those that have already been mentioned, and all of them being theories, predictions and postulations:
      -With the offerings that are on the market at this point in time, would such
      an aircraft really be able to garner that many orders?
      -Would the introduction of a stretched A321 aircraft kill the business case?
      -Would Boeing, or Airbus, assuming they try for it themselves, be able to
      keep the costs down to such a degree so as to make it worth it (again, a
      business case scenario)?

      • AB needs an A330 replacement at some stage which should cover ground from the NMA to the 789.

      • Ah, thanks. But it could be strongly argued “the market” has been screaming for the 757–200X, with 30 year old plus design, original 757s still plowing east coast to Europe and back routes for example! And, “single aisle” is really becoming the way to go. Let BA and AB battle it out with A321neo—neos and B757-200Xs. Let the real gladiator death matches begin! LOL

        • The DAL order has certainly created some discussion, including and A322, which includes me.

          Mr Leahy referred to it at an A321+ and A321++. Things starting to add up now (I think). Modifications to accommodate a 5000Nm stretched 321 (322=321++) will require potentially major upgrades including UF-engines?

          The simplistic option is an 321+ (A321 with new wing, 4500Nm, ~35-38 KLb PW1100G’s), Keesje calls it the 321XR. The 322 (321++) is a moderately stretched 321 (+20 seats/3 or 4 rows?) with the the same engines and wing as the 321XR but with more typical range of ~3500Nm. No need for major upgrades and UF’s.

    • Boeing most likely are doing the numbers and maybe their analysis will show that profit margins on single aile Aircrafts will disappear over time when the Chinese drown the market, hence a small and efficient widebody sized as an 767-200 but with much less mass, modern carbon wings and much more effective Engines will be the natural step up from the A321’s as they are due be replaced. The issue is how much more are the Airlines willing to pay for a 797 v.s. an A321neo with 35k Engines or an Al-Li + CFRP A322 with 39k engines? It can come down to the value of the extra cargo capacity and range of the 797. Maybe Witchita can rivet/Friction stirr weld together 797 fuselages in Al-Li and put them onto trains to Renton if the US gouverment pays to enlarge/straighten the train tracks and tunnels thru the Rockies just like the French goverment would have done for Airbus. US Deparment of Defence might argue they need the modified train tracks to ship missiles from Utah to the West Coast en masse to take down N. Korea missiles.

  16. Dear Scott, I’m sure it’s probably been asked of you, but I haven’t seen it mentioned, at least recently—how about at least a five minute edit function for commenters to “clean up” after post errors?

  17. I think that DAL will actually use the 321NEO’s in many to replace 767’s used on shorter haul routes and potentially increasing frequencies on those? Seat mile costs must be superior and passengers will be given increased frequencies, and it takes 10xLD3-45’s. Could be a smart move.

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