Boeing 777-200 Fleet of Delta Air Lines to Be Retired By End of 2020

As part of the accelerated strategy to simplify and modernize its entire fleet of airplanes while simultaneously continuing to operate airplanes which are newer and more cost-efficient, the fleet of 18 Boeing 777-200 airplanes of Delta Air Lines will be retired by the end of 2020 due to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Boeing 777-200 Fleet of Delta Air Lines to Be Retired By End of 2020

“We’re making strategic, cost-effective changes to our fleet to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while also ensuring Delta is well-positioned for the recovery on the backside of the crisis,” said Gil West — who is the chief operating officer of Delta Air Lines — according to this article from Delta News Hub. “The 777 has been a reliable part of Delta’s success since it joined the fleet in 1999 and because of its unique operating characteristics, opened new non-stop, ultra-long-haul markets that only it could fly at that time.”

The retirement of the Boeing 777-200 fleet of airplanes by Delta Air Lines is only part of an effort by Delta Air Lines to reduce its capacity systemwide due to a substantial drop in customer demand as a result of the pandemic — as well as to reduce operational complexity and cost. The overall active fleet of Delta Air Lines had already been slashed by approximately 50 percent, as greater than 650 mainline aircraft and regional aircraft had been idled in the most recent two months and parked in various places in order to adjust capacity to match reduced customer demand; while other older and less efficient airplanes are also being considered for retirement earlier than scheduled.

The Boeing 777-200 joins the retirement of the entire fleet of McDonnell Douglas airplanes — including both the MD-88 and MD-90 models — which had already been announced two weeks ago and is expected to occur next month in June of 2020.

The Boeing 777-200 first entered the fleet of Delta Air Lines back in 1999 and increased 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 such distant long-range destinations as Atlanta and Johannesburg, and Los Angeles and Sydney.

“What currently costs approximately US$75,000.00 per month for maintenance and upkeep of the MD-88 fleet used to cost approximately US$225,000.00 per month” is what Gerald Grinstein — who was then the chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines back on Monday, April 30, 2007 when Delta Air Lines officially emerged from bankruptcy protection — said. “Delta Air Lines must maintain its balance sheet — it must not be over-extended. It must strive for best-in-class cost structure. It must simplify its aircraft fleet, and over the years, Delta Air Lines will replace its 767 and MD-88 series over the coming years, and it has recently ordered 737-700 and 777 series aircraft.”

Airbus A350-900 Delta Air Lines

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

The fleet of long-haul next generation Airbus A350-900 airplanes of Delta Air Lines will replace the fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft — primarily because its fuel efficiency is better by 21 percent and therefore will save the airline on fuel and capital. You can read about my first experience as a passenger aboard the Airbus A350-900 aircraft operated by Delta Air Lines in this article.

Despite a reduction in international passenger travel, the fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft has been the workhorse of the cargo, mail and United States citizen repatriation operations of Delta Air Lines amid the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Additional details of the timing of the exit of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft from the fleet of Delta Air Lines will be disclosed at a later date which is yet to be confirmed; but since late April of 2020, the fleet of Boeing 777-200 aircraft has:

  • Flown dozens of trips from Chicago and Los Angeles to Frankfurt to deliver mail to military troops of the United States abroad
  • Operated between the United States and Asia to deliver thousands of pounds of critical and life-saving supplies to aid in the response to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic
  • Carried thousands of United States citizens back to the United States from Sydney, Mumbai, Manila and other cities around the world

Summary

I had been a passenger of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft of Delta Air Lines numerous times. One notable example was when I was supposed to be a passenger aboard Concorde back in 2003 from Paris to New York, but even though I was a passenger aboard Concorde outbound from New York to Paris, Air France had already ceased flying the aircraft for my return flight to the United States. I wanted to travel from Rome to Atlanta anyway, so Delta Air Lines accommodated me on a Boeing 777 aircraft in the business class cabin for a non-stop flight for approximately 11 hours instead of me having to travel from Rome to Paris aboard Concorde to New York to Atlanta…

…and I was refunded the difference in SkyMiles which I had redeemed for that return flight.

Additionally, I have piloted the Boeing 777-200 flight simulators and the Airbus A350 flight simulator at the world headquarters of Delta Air Lines numerous times. I would have to surmise that the Boeing 777-200 flight simulators will eventually be removed and sold by Delta Air Lines.

I will certainly miss the Boeing 777-200 fleet of aircraft which was operated by Delta Air Lines…

All photographs ©2011 and ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BoardingArea