Delta Air Lines will permanently remove the 18 Boeing 777 aircraft from its fleet by the end of 2020.
After the retirement of the 777, the company plans to deploy more fuel-efficient Airbus A330 and A350-900 on the long-haul flights, once the international demand resumes. The aircraft type is already the second one Delta sends to retirement amid the coronavirus crisis. Previously, the company’s board of directors decided to accelerate the retirement of the MD-90s by June 2020.
In a memo from its CEO, the company reports burning around $50 million of cash a day. “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, Delta’s Chief Operating Officer.
Additionally, Delta said it refunded more than $1.2 billion to its customers since the beginning of the crisis, including $160 million in May alone. “It reflects an enormous volume of cash refunds that our people have handled with their renowned professionalism and empathy,” commented West.
Delta Air Lines reported a loss of $534 million for the first quarter of 2020. It recently ruled out a cash injection to support Virgin Atlantic.