Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) has signed agreements to lease seven second-hand A350-900s from AerCap and buy twenty-nine B737-900ERs.

"These aircraft are an investment in Delta’s future. As we look past the pandemic, Delta’s disciplined, innovative approach to fleet renewal positions us for growth as travel demand returns, while enhancing the customer experience and supporting our sustainability commitments," Chief Executive Ed Bastian said.

AerCap said all seven A350-900s would deliver in the third and fourth quarters of 2021. Neither the lessor nor the carrier disclosed the identity of the aircraft. However, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module indicates that AerCap owns seven stored units of the types, including three previously operated by LATAM Airlines Brasil (JJ, Sao Paulo Congonhas) and four by Hong Kong Airlines (HX, Hong Kong International), all of which are between 2.4 and 4.7 years of age.

Delta's current A350 fleet comprises sixteen aircraft, including one dry leased from AerCap. The carrier has a further twenty A350-900s on order, including ten directly from Airbus. Last year, [the carrier cancelled]( its planned acquisition of a further four A350s from LATAM Airlines Group (in which Delta has a 20% stake) and paid a USD62 million penalty. At the same time, however, Delta assumed ten of LATAM's unfulfilled orders for the type.

Concerning the B737-900(ER)s, Delta will purchase 27 of them from funds managed by Castlelake, L.P. while the remaining two will be financed from funds also managed by Castlelake, L.P. Deliveries are scheduled to complete by the first quarter of 2022. Delta currently operates 130 of the type, the most of any narrowbody type in its fleet. The carrier said the newly added aircraft would enter into service in 2022 after the necessary cabin modifications have been completed.

Delta declined to identify the aircraft in question when contacted by ch-aviation.

"The A350s and B737-900ERs will enter service over the next 24 months, starting in summer 2022," Delta said. "These fleet decisions align with the fleet renewal strategy and will drive improved unit costs going forward by replacing older less efficient aircraft. The company will lease the seven A350s and acquire the twenty-nine B737-900ERs, driving incremental capex of approximately USD700 million in the second half of this year."

The bulk of Delta's grand total of 822 in-house aircraft was acquired by the carrier either directly from manufacturers themselves or through the acquisition of Northwest Airlines (Minneapolis/St. Paul). However, it also operates 100 aircraft previously operated by other airlines and added by Delta as second-hand units. This pool includes, among others, all 68 of its B717-200s, which were previously operated by AirTran Airways (Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) but which were phased out following the acquisition of the carrier by Southwest Airlines (WN, Dallas Love Field).