If there is some merit to this, it’s intriguing but there are a lot of other wildcard that need to be considered.
Airbus - has a huge backlog of orders in the near term that DL is likely going to want to defer as much as possible. The ~200 A220, A321CEO, A321NEO, A339, A359s all are going to be subject to a lot of negotiation. Airbus is going to want to preserve the order status, terms, and timing to the extent feasible while also trying to appease DL and try to keep Boeing out to the extent possible.
DALPA - how would the removal of the 717 fleet factor into near and long term scope clauses or relief? How does this impact the pending furlough, pilot pools, base realignments?
Ultimately does the timing and financial details make sense in the current environment where we can barely project 2-4 weeks out, let alone 2-4 years? What is the timing one needs to finalize this deal?
At what point does DL need to “$hit or get off the pot” on either keeping the 717s around and reinvest in t fleet or let them go? Since it’s with Boeing They can always Continue to use the 717s as leverage down the road even if it doesn’t make sense right now.
Participants within this thread are interpreting this rumor as DL trading the 717 one-for-one for MAX in the near future, when in practicality DL would likely be proposing turning the 717 in during the near term, and taking delivery of the MAX several years from now. DL indicated last fall that it had agreed to extend the 717 leases for another ~10 years, and they would begin cabin/cockpit upgrades shortly. They also indicated that in later years, the 717 would offer "flex" capacity (being utilized mostly during busier travel periods). Even before the pandemic, there were reports that DL was having cold feet about making that type of investment in the 717, and keeping the aircraft around that long, particularly as labor costs swelled.
During the mid-2000s to mid-2010s, DL and NW combined took delivery of roughly 50 new aircraft -- which is 2/3 of the number DL took last year alone. That, combined with the additions of late model aircraft, means that the crux of the 319, 320, 738 and 757 will be aging out by the end of the decade. The 321 CEO/NEO on order were suppose to be delivered by mid-decade; the reality is that another large (~100 frames) order for either the NEO/MAX for delivery the second half of the decade was always likely, anyway. That order was likely always Boeing's to lose, anyway, since it's probable DL would've desired to maintain strong relations with both manufacturers, and the MAX8 is a stronger option than the 320NEO.
I'm uncertain how much effort the ALPA would put into fighting DL, given that arbitrators would likely infer that the 220 meets the definition of a small narrowbody per scope (for those of us with fancy educations and real world experience; I realize some disagree, but that's why they're Starbucks baristas). It's not like the ALPA has much leverage, with DL on the brink of financial collapse and fighting for survival -- they have much more to lose should DL be forced into bankruptcy organization.
Alas, if the rumor were true, it's DL taking advantage of an opportunity to get rid of a fleet type it probably didn't want anyway and placing an order that would've been necessary, anyway. Boeing at the very least gets a much needed boost for its MAX program, even if it loses 10 years of lease payments on the 717 (it's unlikely many will be rehomed). DL owns 13 717 (it outright purchased the 10 aircraft it had been leasing directly from Southwest) and there's speculation it never signed lease renewals on the entire 717 fleet, so it's also possible that only a portion of the fleet will be removed (e.g. half, etc.) Credible pilot sources are indicating that they've been told that select 717 would be permanently withdrawn, so that would make a lot of sense.
usflyer msp wrote:
How can DL trade in something they don't own? The 712 fleet is leased from Boeing.
you sure about that?
Per its latest annual filing, DL owns 13 717. The other 73 are leased through Boeing Capital, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing.
The 77L is going nowhere anytime soon. I don't get why there are always constant posts saying that DL is going to retire 777 fleet soon.
Because sources that have been reliable in the past are indicating that DL's considering retiring some of the 777 fleet. Given your username, it's clear your opinion is bias. It's entirely possible that DL feels that it has surplus capacity in the ~300 passenger segment, and that rather than parking the 777, it could sell the 77L to a freight company, and when the time comes, take delivery of a 330 or 350 that is more efficient for its needs. There's been reports for quite awhile that DL had looked into selling its 77L, but there was no interest in the type, particularly as freight companies were parking aircraft. With long-haul passenger flights likely to be in heavy decline over the next several years, this may be the only opportunity DL has to dispose of the type if it really doesn't want them. I don't know either way -- I'm just illustrating why they would sell the type.