Delta Airlines to Retire 777 Fleet by Year's End

In an internal letter circulated to Delta Airlines staff, the company's chief executive Ed Bastian has announced that it will retire its entire Boeing 777 fleet, citing the reduced demand in travel and economic climate resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Delta Airlines Boeing 777-200
Image by simon_sees / Wikimedia
There are currently 18 Boeing 777s in the Delta Airlines fleet, eight of them are of the -200ER variant and the remaining are of the -200LR variant.  The LR variant was the longest-range commercial aircraft when it entered into service in 2006.  The 777s have been with the carrier since 1999.  Bastian has indicated that they will be phased out by the end of 2020.  He has said in his letter that Delta hopes to provide "significant cost savings over the next several years" with the move and help "safeguard Delta jobs and our future".  

Bastian has acknowledged the role the 777 has played in shaping Delta's route network.  He mentioned that it has allowed the carrier to fly to new markets. 

With the 777's impending retirement, the Airbus A330 and Airbus A350 will takeover as Delta's  principal long-haul work planes.  For the meantime, Delta will also continue to have some of its Boeing 767 aircrafts in its fleet, which are capable of flying between the East Coast of the US and most of Europe as well as between the Pacific Northwest coast of the US and Japan.

In addition, the flag carrier plans to accelerate the retirement of its McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-90 aircrafts.  These two shorter-range aircraft are expected to leave the fleet in June 2020.  

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