US airline Delta is within 'hours possibly days' set to firm up a deal with Airbus for 50 wide-body jets worth more than $14 billion at published list prices, say several industry sources but Airbus and Delta are remaining tight lipped.
Julian Bray Aviation Security & Operations Expert writes: Airbus has been stepping up the pressure on Boeing as it seeks to replace falling market share within some defined sectors of traditional European airlines.
The new Airbus A330neo has taken customers detailed requirements as a starting point and additionally offers a considerable level of kit pre-installed as standard, even if the airline does not initially need to use it. In laymans terms, the new models from Airbus are virtually future proof as new developments and upgrades can be easily retrofitted as required, thus extending the overall life of the aircraft and substantially enhancing resale value in the highly competitive 'secondhand' market. Airbus also needs to maintain momentum, as its mainly located within the Eurozone, but major components such as the wings are pre-assembled in the UK..
Delta signalled last April it was in the market for wide-body long-haul jets that would replace the carrier's older Boeing 747-400 and the 767-300ER Extended Range variants.
Industry intelligence suggests Delta plans to buy 25 Airbus A350-900 jets and 25 Airbus A330-900neo jets. Those aircraft would have a list price of about $14.3 billion, but subject to heavy discounting.
Commentators point out that Delta inherited a number of Airbus models via its merger with Northwest and has evaluated the aircraft under scheduled flight conditions. This effectively broke the Boeing clear run with Delta placing a major 40-jet deal with Airbus in 2013.
Tipping the scales in favor of Airbus is the early availability of the Airbus A330neo model, the updated version of the A330. All going well, Airbus will roll this out in 2017.
JULIAN BRAY 01733 345581, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Operations, Travel / Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast ISDN 01733 345020 SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe > Updates are on the Website