ATLANTA -(Dow Jones)- Delta Air Lines Inc. will receive the first of Boeing Co.'s new generation of 767 jets and has placed a firm order for another 21 of the aircraft in a deal valued at $2.4 billion, based on current list prices.
Delta (DAL) said the order, which includes an option for an additional 40 of Boeing's 767-400ER aircraft, supports its plan to retire the last of its L-1011 planes from Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) by August 2001. The airline is also seeking to simplify and modernize its fleet mix.
Delta said its first Boeing 767-400ER is scheduled to begin service on Oct. 1, and that it expects to receive 12 Boeing aircraft by the end of the year.
In 1997, Delta agreed to make Boeing its exclusive plane supplier for 20 years. Under that deal, Delta agreed to purchase 106 aircraft from Boeing for $6.7 billion with an option to buy 124 more for $15 billion. At the time, analysts estimated the total value of the deal could reach more than $30 billion, including rolling options for 414 additional aircraft.
A Delta spokeswoman said Wednesday the airline's latest Boeing order is part of the 1997 agreement.
"We are pleased to offer our passengers the newest aircraft on the market," Malcolm B. Armstrong, Delta's executive vice president, operations, said in a written statement. "This aircraft has the capacity and range we need in core markets."
Mr. Armstrong noted that the 767-400ER's similarity to Boeing's 767 and 757 aircraft will result in reduced training, operation and maintenance costs. Current 767 flight crews will need just five days of additional training to fly the 767-400ER, Delta said.