These are the original news articles from Flight International regarding the Delta order for DC-10's plus the transfer to United in 1972.
Delta Airlines, the US domestic operatorwith 25 TriStars on order, struck abitter blow at the hopes of Lockheed
and Rolls-Royce on March 18 when itannounced an order for five McDonnellDouglas DC-lOs and options on a
further three. The airline is in ahealthy financial state (it declared a$40 million profit during 1970) and since news of the Rolls-Royce debacle first broke had been regarded as theleast committed of the TriStar customers.
Advance payments on itsTriStars amount to $34 m i l l i on(£14-2 million), compared with about
$100 million (£41-7 million) which TWA has invested. Delta has taken out an insurance policy by ordering the
DC-lOs, which will be delivered between the autumn of 1972 and early in1973. At a cost of around $15 million
(£6-25 million) apiece, they will ensure its competitive position. Delta's first TriStar was due to be delivered
at the end of this year.Lockheed has not finally lost out on the deal because the Delta contract
with them is being maintained and the airline is continuing with the discussions over the engine problem.
Eastern Airlines, which has 37 TriStarson order, has publicly affirmed its faith in the aircraft, and consequently
in Lockheed, in a statementlast Friday.
DELTA STAYS WITH TRISTAR
RIGHTS held by Delta to buy five DC-lOs, worth $90million, from McDonnell Douglas have been transferred to
United. The agreement—reached on June 5—is subject to CAB approval and is such that upon delivery to United the
aircraft will be leased immediately to Delta for about two and-a-half years. Delta will operate the DC-lOs until
deliveries of its Lockheed TriStars are well under way.According to Edward E. Carlson, president of United,
purchase of the DC-lOs will not require new financing arrangements to be made. David C. Garrett, president of
Delta, notes that the DC-lOs were ordered a year ago"primarily as protection against delay in delivery of the
TriStars." He says: "Since Lockheed's financial problems now appear solved, Delta will continue with its intention
to buy 24."The five DC-lOs will be delivered in Delta colours. One will be received in October of this year, two in November and two early in 1973. All the aircraft will be returned to United in April and May 1975.
United recently exercised its only remaining options tobuy seven DClOs. By the end of this summer the company will have 15 in scheduled service, with 22 to follow over the next three years. This will bring United's DC-10 fleet
to a total of 37, which compares with its original order for30, plus 30 options.
Again, there is more to this then we will ever know. A paragraph from another Flight International article at the time the DC-10 started revenue service states:
"The eight orders which United dropped were made up by Delta, which signed a "letter of intent" with McDonnell Douglas covering five orders and three options. Delta was of course insuring itself against the possible collapse ofthe TriStar. The airline was the most doubtful of the TriStar customers from the Lockheed/Rolls-Royce point ofview, and had voiced its doubts about the aircraft in public soon after the Rolls-Royce collapse. But it was the only airline actually to shift its allegiance, if only in part, to the other side. With the TriStar situation brighter the future of the Delta DC-IOs must remain in doubt; no airline could welcome the prospect of a fleet incorporating three wide-body types."
Just seems strange that United cancels 8 DC-10's and Delta then picks up these 8 slots. Then, within a year United gets these 8 slots back through a lease agreement with Delta. What I would like to know is, who's specs were these five jets built to, Delta's or United's?