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Delta Air Lines to retire Boeing 777 fleet as coronavirus crushes demand

Delta Air Lines said Thursday that it will retire its fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft and remove them from service by the end of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The air carrier’s decision to retire the 18 Boeing jets comes shortly after it announced that it would retire its fleet of aging single-aisle MD-90 aircraft. ( More...

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Spencer Hoefer 13
Actually I just realized Delta operated the LR version which is a decade newer than the original 777-200. That makes this even more puzzling.
Matha Goram 2
Some detailed "optimization" scenarios must have been conducted whose results filtered upwards to management for this decision? Perhaps some details will "leak" for us to understand the numbers with some confidence level.
LethalThreat 2
They have a mix of -200LR’s and Trent 892 powered -200ER’s. Those are from the late 90’s to early 2000’s, so I felt they would have a shorter time left. The LR’s arrived around 2008. What a pathetic shame.
Spencer Hoefer 14
777's aren't even that old or inefficient. I can understand MD80's, but unless their 777 fleet consists of all the original models from 1994, it seems premature.
Dan Chiasson 6
During these times, regardless of airline or age of the fleet, cash is king with the bean counters calling the shots at this point in time. Full stop. No use looking at it from a "premature" perspective, this has little to do with frames and much to do with surviving a once in a lifetime crisis.
godutch 3
Nine of these nineteen aircraft are already in storage...just FYI.
godutch 2
(Sorry, 18, not 19)
Jasper Buck 6
Delta could possibly continue the Atlanta-Johannesburg route with their A350-900 depending on the model (i.e. the ULR or WXB) In any case it's going to be a sad day for the 7000 pilots they plan to furlough, plus however many flight attendants, mechanics, ramp personnel etc. I'm sure other airlines are looking at similarly grim numbers. Some of the smaller carriers are very likey to disappear.

I've got two friends of mine who just got type rated on the 777 earlier this year, one Delta, one United. Both graduated from Jacksonville University in 2010, and now they're both out of jobs. Sad.
Matha Goram 6
Sincerely sorry for the younger generation of pilots especially given the worldwide forecasts of previous years.
Peter Fuller 7
Yes, wasn’t long ago that there was a lot of chatter about the looming pilot shortage.
Tom Bruce 2
maybe get some good $$ converting them to freighters?
SkyAware123 4
Pretty sure they will regret this decision once demand comes back full bore.
john kilcher 3
it appears that this will happen 3-5 years from now, and these will be 3-5 years older. Sorry, don't think thst you are correct.
JetChaser 1
The article indicates end of this year for retirement
Mike Boote 3
Not surprising considering the increase in the A350 and A330Neo orders. There are 32 A330Neo's, and 26 A350's still on the order book, rendering the 777's as unnecessary given the greater efficiency of both the Airbus aircraft, plus the reduction in flying. Airbus will probably give Delta latitude to bring in the new Airbus' when needed.
SkyAware123 8
There is always newer and better airplanes being sold. Comparing planes from 1999 to airplanes being sold today makes no sense. It's all about what they cost today to operate vs the investment in new planes that will take x amount of years to be paid back.
ADXbear 2
Flipping sux... fantastic airplane.. please don't scrap them..
pilotjag 2
I guess that must mean they will axe ATL-JNB completely
Peter Fuller 1
A350 can do it. ATL-JNB 7,334 nautical miles ( A350-900 range 8,100 nm (Wikipedia).
william baker 1
I thought ATL-JNB was 8400 NM
Robert Cowling -4
Or drop a 'pottie stop' in the middle somewhere.

Maybe Casablanca? :-D Spain, Gibraltar, somewhere...
The route goes well south and west of Casablanca. SAA used to have a technical stop in Isla Del Sol on their JFK-JNB route many years ago. Another option might be Windhoek, still a couple of hours from JNB. I believe the route was popular and profitable. Maybe more so now with the demise of SAA
Robert Cowling -8
No, really?

But if they are going to drop a stop in the middle, that opens up a lot of places they can stop that are easily in the range of both legs. They could stop in Rome! Hell, they could probably stop in many places in southern Europe.
Suggest a globe and a piece of string to get the Great Circle route. Nowhere near Rome and southern Europe. It heads out over the Atlantic and makes landfall in Namibia. Recife would be closer to the track
damianp22 3
DL use to serve JNB via DKR as a scissor hub: ATL/JFK-DKR-CPT/JNB. It was more a stop 'n stop at 3am, not very pleasant when I did it 2009. Can't remember if they had 5th freedom Senegal-ZA.

To Andy's point, even MAD is +10% circuity on an already ULH. No point going out of the way that far without 5th freedom rights AND the demand to fill it (which I'll bet doesnt exist). Besides, there's no advantage to DL doing that over EU carriers, especially as AF/KL are there for those types of markets.

Better to scavenge LOS-JNB from SA if they can secure 5th freedom, it's 'only' +2.5% and gives elapse time advantage on both African destinations from USA. No 5th freedom? Go for JNB-CPT-ATL, and try for 8th freedom, or go anyway without it as a triangle.

Lastly, good luck catching any lift with 'only' 168,000 lbs of thrust at 5500 feet ASL... I almost got bumped off a QR 788 to DOH bc the flight was delayed past sunrise!
damianp22 1
ohh I was right...
Frankly, I can't understand this moyve. Delta just spent a ton of money renovating the interiors of their 777s and now they scrap them, yet they hold on to all of their 767s which are older and more decrepit. I suppose it's a little easier to fill a 767 than a 777. That's the only logic I can see.
Yehuda Mond 1
You just wait...once an effective COVID-19 vaccine is available (it will happen folks), you're going to see travel SKYROCKET at least to where it was before. It's just human nature. If you have extra money to invest, now's the time to put it into airlines.
ImperialEagle 1
The Company is going to do whatever it has to do to survive.

There are a lot of things going on behind closed doors that we the people will never know.
We are trying to survive an economic and human disaster perpetrated by a hostile and aggressive Government that is serious enough to use Germ Warfare to achieve it's goals.

I will miss the T7's. They were not a large part of the fleet, however, they were good workhorses for The Company while things were good.
James Simms 1
Maybe Atlas Air or Omni International can use them, or can be turned into freighters by someone.
john baugh 0
I think what we are seeing is Delta acknowledging a long term downsizing as the Coronavirus is going to affect travel demand for years to come. To support the 777 fleet, huge numbers of people have to be willing to travel together and able to afford to travel by air. The economy is going to be affected for years thanks to China and Nancy Pelosi.
Chad Freeman -2
Pelosi? What does she have to with this? I think this administration could have avoided this by responding sooner.
Tom Bruce 7
don't think any administration would have been out ahead of this one
LethalThreat 0
Wow, another beautiful aircraft condemned to an early demise. I thought the 777 would have much more time left at Delta. Thanks a million China.
patrick baker 0
does delta truly believe the 350-900 is an adequate substitute one for one with their 777 aircraft on any route and every route? They might think the customer levels will not support any triple-7 for many months, until which sufficient numbers of 350's will have arrived , with no loss to the company in capacity. The pilot's salaries ought to be comparable, since these planes require high seniority to bid and keep, and the fuel cost are lower, and they are newer, smell better and are Not-Boeing.
Miguel Otero -2
Delta & Airbus one company deal against US Economy.
777 has a more expensive crew cost plus a lot of the fleet is getting close to the expensive "D" check.....Delta usually has the ducks in a row.......
godutch 4
CREW COST? You mean TRAINING in training & SIM time, and MAINTENANCE cost to maintain and service only 10 or so dissimilar aircraft? Crew cost would be the same and comparable to similar widebody crew pay, benefits, retirement etc...
Robert Cowling -8

I loved their 777's! Flown them many times. Kill more RJ's, and 717's!!! I'm crushed...
Wow....two statements on two different articles about killing the RJ's. You realize that RJ stands for regional jets and the newer one are on par with comfort that matches some older NB (read:Narrowbody) jets. These RJ's do fill a niche. No one is going to fly a 777 to AMA. I will let you look that up yourself


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