Delta Courts Manufacturers For Massive Order

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Delta Air Lines is using a potential order for 100 to 200 aircraft, with options for 200 more, to inspire proposals from major airframe manufacturers on the heels of a record $15.6 billion order for 180 aircraft from IndiGo, landed by Airbus. The company said Thursday that it hopes to take delivery starting in 2013, with aircraft that could range from large to small single-aisle designs. Delta acquired Northwest in 2008 and now operates more than 700 aircraft. The new orders could ultimately replace Delta's Airbus A320, Boeing 757-200, and DC9-50 series aircraft. The potential order could stimulate strong competition from the usual suspects and inspire some hopefuls.

The largest manufacturers in the world are Airbus and Boeing, but the new CSeries from Bombardier is projected to enter service in 2013, which at least matches timing with Delta's needs. Narrow-body aircraft are still the workhorses of most airline fleets and Bombardier is hoping carriers, if not Delta, will be increasingly interested in the new design. If penned as projected, Delta's could overstep IndiGo's as the world's the largest airplane order.