Delta orders 100 Boeing MAX jets worth $13.5B

US airline Delta agreed on Monday to buy 100 medium-haul Boeing MAX passenger aircraft worth a combined $13.5 billion, in a vote of confidence for the crisis-hit jet.

The gigantic deal, announced by embattled US planemaker Boeing on the first day of the Farnborough Airshow, includes options for 30 more of the planes.

The fuel-efficient 737 MAX 10 planes, the first ordered by Delta, are earmarked for delivery from 2025.

Shortly afterwards, Boeing announced that Japanese airline ANA has also agreed to purchase 20 of its smaller MAX 8 jets — an order worth $2.4 billion — plus two 777-8 freight planes.

The deals mark a huge turnaround for the MAX aircraft, which suffered two deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019.

Boeing’s blockbuster sale marks the first shot in a traditional multi-billion-dollar orders battle at Farnborough with its fierce European rival Airbus.

“Boeing and Delta Air Lines today announced the US carrier will modernize its single-aisle fleet with the highly efficient 737 MAX to meet demand as well as its long-term sustainability goals,” the pair said in a statement.

Until now, Delta was the only US airline to not possess any MAX planes.

“The Boeing 737-10 will be an important addition to Delta’s fleet as we shape a more sustainable future for air travel, with an elevated customer experience, improved fuel efficiency and best-in-class performance,” said Delta chief executive Ed Bastian.

“These new aircraft provide superior operating economics and network flexibility, and the agreement reflects our prudent approach to deploying our capital.”

The MAX-10 variant has yet to be certified by US aviation authorities.

The news comes as airlines across the world seek to replace their ageing fleets with fuel-efficient planes that emit less carbon dioxide.

Delta added that the new 737-10 jets would curb fuel use and emissions by between 20-30 percent compared with the aircraft they are replacing.

Agence France-Presse