Delta Reveals Further Fleet Retirements

The Atlanta-based carrier detailed additional roster reductions in a report to investors 

Delta Air Lines will retire all its Boeing 717-200 aircraft and the remainder of its 767-300ER fleet by December 2025, according to an 8-K filing for investors and the US Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Delta 767
Delta currently fields a fleet comprising 54 Boeing 767-300ER examples. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

The carrier also says it will remove its 100-strong Bombardier CRJ-200 fleet from service – which is used by its regional subsidiary Delta Connection – by December 2023. 

Delta Connection
Flown under it Delta Connection brand, the firm has 42 CRJ200s. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

The airline, which is the largest operator of the 717 in the world, currently holds a fleet comprising 91 examples and 54 767 widebodies. 

Delta 717
Delta Airlines is the world's largest Boeing 717 operator. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

“These plans are another step in Delta’s fleet simplification strategy, which is intended to streamline and modernise Delta’s fleet, enhance the customer experience, and generate cost savings,” the carrier said in the filing. 

This is not the first time the US operator has made adjustments to its fleet in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In May, Delta revealed that it would retire its 18 Boeing 777s from its fleet by the end of this year. 

Delta 777
Delta is in the process of retiring its 17 Boeing 777 examples before the end of 2020. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

Gil West, Delta’s chief operating officer, commented: “The Boeing 777 has been a reliable part of Delta’s success since it joined the fleet in 1999 and because of its unique operating characteristics, opened new non-stop, ultra-long-haul markets [such as Johannesburg and Sydney] that only it could fly at that time.” 

In June, Delta concluded the long-running retirement process for its McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-90s, operating the narrowbody’s final services on June 2. 

Delta operated 229 McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and MD-90 aircraft. Aviation Image Network/Bailey

The removal of the 717, 767 and CRJ200 is expected to lead to a non-cash impairment cost of up to $2.5bn for the carrier.  

Delta didn’t rule out further fleet changes, saying it “may continue to consider further opportunities for early aircraft retirements in an effort to modernise and simplify its fleet.”