Delta plans to retire its 18 widebody Boeing 777s by the end of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The retirement will accelerate the airline’s strategy to simplify and modernize its fleet, while continuing to operate newer, more cost-efficient aircraft.
The Boeing 777-200 first entered the fleet in 1999 and grew to 18 aircraft, including 10 of the long-range 777-200LR variant, which arrived in 2008. At the time, aircraft was uniquely positioned to fly non-stop between Atlanta and Johannesburg, South Africa, Los Angeles to Sydney and other distant destinations.
Last month, Delta announced plans to accelerate the retirement of the MD-88 and MD-90 fleets to June.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 situation, Delta has reacted quickly by parking aircraft and considering early aircraft retirements to reduce operational complexity and cost. To date, the airline has parked more than 650 mainline and regional aircraft to adjust capacity to match reduced customer demand.
Delta will continue flying its fleet of long-haul next generation Airbus A350-900s, which burn 21% less fuel per seat than the 777s they will replace.