DALLAS – This interview was conducted with Mahendra Nair, Senior Vice President of Fleet and TechOps Supply Chain at Delta Air Lines (DL), following the debut of the airline’s A321neo into its fleet.
AW: At what rate will Delta be accepting deliveries of the A321neo, and how many do you have planned for the rest of the year?
MN: The original plan for the A321neo was to start in 2020, but COVID-19 delayed those plans. Our delivery schedule is split between 2022 and 2027.
We’re going to take 26 this year. We’ve already taken delivery of two, so we’ve got 24 to go this year, and we have another double-digits coming next year. The delivery schedule with Airbus is moving around a little bit with everything that’s going on, but between 2022 and 2027, we’ll be taking all of the 155 that we have on order.
Since you will be taking delivery of so many this year, will we see any on the West Coast or will they primarily be on the East Coast?
It’s going to start in Boston, and we’re going to build out from Boston, going into Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. Eventually, once we have some scale on the airplane, that’s when you’ll start seeing it go from the West Coast and even at other bases.
We are building on the 127 A321ceos that we already have, so we’ve got all these hubs that have commonality with pilots, and tooling, so it’s a matter of getting to scale on the A321neos before we see it at other bases.
Will we see any of the A321neos take over any of the Boeing 757 routes?
That is the plan, but eventually, what we are working on right now is when we are going to specifically get those airplanes, and then there will eventually be a one-to-one replacement for the 757s, especially the ones that fly transcontinental.
Is there a retirement date set for the Boeing 757 yet?
They are relatively young for us, so I think some of the older ones will start being retired in…