Has Delta Lost their mind?
On July 9th Delta sent a press release which outlined their fleet plan with the acquisition of 88 new B717 jets from AirTran between 2013 and 2015 and the introduction of the B737-900ER starting in 2013. In this new release Delta made two comments that left me shaking my head from disbelief.
“The Boeing 717s will primarily replace small 50-seat regional jets on a capacity-neutral basis. The 110-seat aircraft will feature new, fully upgraded interiors, with 12 First Class seats, 15 Economy Comfort seats and in-flight WiFi throughout the aircraft. Seats in Economy will be arranged in a 2-3 configuration with just one middle seat per row.”
First off can anyone tell me how a 88, 110 seat aircraft will replace a 50-seat regional jet on a capacity-neutral basis? First off, each 717 offers twice the number of seats as a smaller regional jet!
Delta Connection offers the follow 50 seater regional jets
48 ERJ-124 (31 seats x 24 = 1488 seats)
258 CRJ-200 (50 seats x 24 = 12900 seats)
If Delta was to retire EVERY 50 seat jet they had they would be losing ~4700 seats from their planes! Furthermore, if a route currently has a 50 seat plane and it’s not profitable, how will flying a 110 seat jet make it profitable? I for one is lost my Delta’s logical here and I am going to guess that not all 200+ 50 seat regional jets will be removed from the Delta connect brand. and the 717 will start flying CRJ-900 routes, the CRJ-900 will fly CRJ-700 routes, and the 700 series will take over the smaller routes. Just a guess though……
Next in the same press release Delta commented on the soon to be newly acquired B737-900ER, the largest of the 737 family.
Delta will begin taking delivery next year of new fuel-efficient state-of-the-art Boeing 737-900ER jets, which will primarily replace older Boeing 757 and 767 and Airbus A320 aircraft.
The B737-900ER jet in a two class configuration only sits 180 passengers! The B737-900ER will easily replace Delta’s 757-200s that only seat 166-184 passengers, but the 737-900ER range of 3200 nm doesn’t meet the 757-200 at 3900 nm! Not to mention the capacity of this jet is not where NEAR the capacity or the range of the 757-300 or even the much larger B767 that seat 250+ passengers and fly 3850nm-6385nm depending on the series! Finally the A320, well this jut actually easily replaces the A320 in all areas so I won’t go into details.
Delta fleet optimization defiantly has me baffled! The B737-900er will be a fine replacement for the 757-200 on routes like JFK-LAX, SEA-HNL, and shorter domestic flights; and will actually increase capacity on routes that are currently served by the A320. However if Delta is looking for range, this new aircraft isn’t there and in NO WAY will be able to replace the B767 like they stated in their press release on ANY route.
Either way, more mainline jets and less regional jets mean less gate side baggage check, more comfortable cabins, and a better passenger experience for everyone. The 717 and the 737’s will be a welcome addition to the Delta line up and are a great addition to the $3 billion in investment in improving the customer experience on the ground and in the air from airport expansions, skyclub remodeling, cabins enhancements and more!
But if someone could break it down for me, how is this going to work?