Bloomberg News and The Enquirer
Delta Air Lines has picked engines made by West Chester-based CFM International to power 40 new Airbus jets it’s buying – a deal valued at $850 million.
CFM is a joint venture between Evendale-based GE Aviation and French manufacturer Safran SA.
Airbus SAS beat Boeing Co. to win the order from Delta for the jets, which have a list value of $5.6 billion, as the European planemaker expands its foothold at U.S. carriers.
CFM’s CF6-80E1engines will power the wide-bodies, which along with a services agreement are worth as much as $1.4 billion, the engine company said Wednesday.
Delta’s only previous order with Airbus was 21 years ago, when it bought nine wide-body A310s that were delivered in 1993, Airbus spokeswoman Mary Anne Greczyn said in an e-mail message. Those planes are no longer in production.
All 158 Airbus jets currently flown by Delta were inherited through its purchase of Northwest, which Delta CEO Richard Anderson ran before coming to Delta. Those Airbus jets make up about 20 percent of Delta’s main jet fleet.
Deliveries of 10 A330-300 twin-aisle aircraft will begin in early 2015, while the 30 single-aisle A321 jets for domestic service will start arriving in 2016, Atlanta-based Delta said in a statement.
Airbus prevailed in a competition in which Delta studied wide- and narrow-body models, people familiar with the matter said this year. The A330 and A321 are part of Airbus’s current lineup, not the new models due later this decade, supporting Anderson’s strategy of buying less-expensive planes that can be paid off quicker.
“I guess cheap is good,” said Robert Mann, who runs aviation consultant R.W. Mann & Co. in Port Washington, N.Y. He said acquiring Northwest Airlines in 2008 “introduced a lot of Airbus” to the fleet at Delta, which had been an all-Boeing carrier for years.
Airbus lists the A330-300 at $239.4 million, and offers the A321, its largest narrow-body plane, for $107.3 million, according to the company’s published prices. Airlines typically negotiate steep discounts from catalog prices.
The agreement is a comeback for Toulouse, France-based Airbus after Delta favored Boeing in 2011 with an order for 100 737-900ER single-aisle jets. Airbus said many of the A321s for Delta will be assembled in Mobile, Alabama, a facility the company is building to gain a marketing edge with U.S. buyers.