Delta to buy 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10s

Reuters reported in March that Delta was approaching an order for 100 MAX 10 aircraft and last week reported that Airbus was in talks with Delta to expand an existing order for A220 aircraft.

Delta, which announced it at the Farnborough Airshow, said it will begin accepting the MAX 10 in 2025. Previously, Delta was the only major U.S. airline not to have a MAX in its fleet or on order. MAX was shut down for 20 months after two fatal accidents killed 346 people. Grounding was removed in November 2020 following software updates and training.

“This is a huge testament to the value of MAX,” said Ihsan Munir, senior vice president of commercial sales and marketing at Boeing, at the signing ceremony. “What an endorsement from a world class airline.”

Boeing has had “strong demand” for the MAX since it was taken off the ground, with more than 1,000 gross orders and 1.7 million flight hours, Boeing’s CEO of Commercial Aircraft, Stan Deal, said.

With the new order, the Delta Boeing 737 fleet will increase to over 300 aircraft and become the second largest family after the Airbus A320.

Reuters separately reported that an additional order from Delta for about a dozen Airbus A220 aircraft will be signed as early as Tuesday at the air show.

Boeing has a December deadline to get approval for the 737 MAX 10, the largest member of its best-selling narrow-body aircraft family. Otherwise, it must comply with the new cockpit alert requirements under the 2020 law, unless Congress waives it.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun told Aviation Week in an interview published this month that the aircraft maker could be forced to cancel the 737 MAX 10 due to potential regulatory issues. On Sunday, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal said canceling the MAX 10 is an “unlikely path.”

Delta said that in the event of a delay in certification, “the agreement has adequate protections, including allowing Delta to migrate to another model in the MAX family if necessary.”

Delta had extensive negotiations with Boeing before agreeing to the deal. “It took us a long time to get here,” Delta senior vice president Mahendra Nair said, saying we have options if the MAX 10 doesn’t move forward. “This is really the aircraft we need and we hope Boeing can get the renewal it needs to get certified.”

The MAX 10 aircraft will be 20-30% more fuel efficient than the defunct Delta aircraft it will replace.

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