By Julie Johnsson and Michael Sasso, Bloomberg
Delta Air Lines is reviewing its wide-body jet orders amid signs that the long-range travel market is saturated, Chief Executive Officer Ed Bastian said Wednesday.
The move is a setback for Airbus, which landed a $14 billion deal with Delta in 2014 after out-dueling Boeing, the carrier’s longtime aircraft supplier. Delta has no twin-aisle orders pending with Boeing, according to the U.S. planemaker’s online database.
The prospect that Delta could postpone or cancel deliveries heightens concerns that a glutted market is sapping sales of twin-aisle jets.
The Atlanta-based carrier is planning to take the first of its Airbus A350s later this year to replace the Boeing 747 jumbos that once shuttled its passengers to Asia and Europe. The airline is also a customer for Airbus’s A330neo, an upgraded model slated to take its first flight this year.
“We continue to see excess capacity in wide-bodies as we look to the future for the industry as a whole,” Bastian told analysts on an earnings call Wednesday. “We continue to look internally as to what that means for Delta,” he said, adding that the airline is in discussions with planemakers.
“You could anticipate some reductions, I think, broadly over the next several years,” he said.
Delta has 25 Airbus A350-900s and 25 A330-900s on order with Airbus, according to the European company’s website. The review adds to the uncertainty over Airbus’s efforts to penetrate Boeing’s home market with its next-generation models. United Continental Holdings Inc. said last year it was reviewing its purchase of Airbus’s A350-1000s.
“It’s not appropriate for us to comment on our customers’ internal analyses,” Mary Anne Greczyn, a spokeswoman for Airbus, said.
“However, as a leading aircraft manufacturer, Airbus continually engages our customers around the world to help optimize their fleet needs.”