The COVID-19 pandemic made Delta Air Lines decide to anticipate the retirement of yet another aircraft. The U.S. airline confirmed on Thursday that it would take the 18 Boeing 777-200 out of service by the end of 2020.
These jets have been used on long-haul routes since 1999 and include 10 units of the LR variant, with greater autonomy, which was delivered in 2008. Delta, however, already signaled that it would replace them with the A350-900, planes that consume 21% less fuel, but the coronavirus crisis anticipated the retirement of the “triple seven”.
“The 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 that only it could fly at that time,” said Gil West, Delta’s Chief Operating Officer.
Delta currently maintains nine 777s on account of the drop in flight demand. The company has already received 13 A350-900 units out of a total order for 25 Airbus jets.
Goodbye to “Mad Dog”
Like other airlines, Delta has also accelerated the retirement of less efficient planes. The company confirmed the end of flights with the MD-88 and MD-90 jets from June and it is thought that it could exchange its Boeing 717s for a future order of the 737 Max.
Interestingly, the 777 has been used by Delta as the main aircraft on repatriation and cargo flights and has flown dozens of trips from Chicago and Los Angeles to Frankfurt, Sydney, Mumbai, Manila and other cities worldwide.