Additional Delta Air Lines order provides manufacturing boost for Airbus plant

Delta Air Lines

The Airbus wing-making plant at Broughton has received a boost following Delta Air Lines’ decision to order an extra 30 A3210 aircraft.

The plant, near Chester, employs around 4,500 staff making wings for all the group’s commercial airline clients.

Delta has ordered 30 more A321neo (new engine option) aircraft to help meet its future fleet requirements.

The newly-ordered aircraft are in addition to the airline’s existing orders for 125 of the type, bringing the outstanding orders from Delta to a total of 155 A321neos.

Mahendra Nair, Delta’s senior vice president – fleet and tech ops supply chain, said: “Adding these aircraft strengthens Delta’s commitment to replacing older fleets with more sustainable, efficient jets, and offering the best customer experience in the industry.

“Delta appreciates the extensive partnership with the Airbus team in support of our strategic growth plans, and we look forward to continuing to work together throughout the recovery and beyond.”

Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and head of Airbus International, said: “As the industry looks to emerge from the pandemic, Delta is showing responsible leadership and casting a strong vote of confidence now in the A321neo.

“With orders for 30 more of an aircraft that is in very high demand around the globe, our partners at Delta are underscoring the strategic role they see for the A321neo with its outstanding environmental performance for the airline’s renowned customer service and reliability for years into the future.”

Delta’s A321neos will be powered by next generation Pratt & Whitney PW1100G turbofan engines that bring significant efficiency gains over Delta’s current, already efficient A321 aircraft.

Equipped with total seating for 194 customers, with 20 in first class, 42 in Delta Comfort+ and 132 in the main cabin, Delta’s A321neos will be deployed primarily across the airline’s extensive domestic network, complementing Delta’s current A321 fleet of more than 120 aircraft.

The airline is slated to receive the first of its 155 A321neo aircraft early next year.

Many of Delta’s A321neos will be delivered from the Airbus US manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama. The airline has taken delivery of 87 US-manufactured Airbus aircraft since 2016.

Broughton ships, or flies its wings to Airbus plants for final assembly.

As of the end of July, Delta’s fleet of Airbus aircraft numbered 358, including 50 A220 aircraft, 240 A320 family members, 53 A330 widebodies, and 15 A350 XWB (extra widebody) aircraft.

The Broughton plant has shed almost 2,000 jobs due to the impact of the pandemic when the aviation industry came to a standstill and orders were halted or cancelled.

But the opening up of markets is now beginning to see an upturn in new orders. The manufacturer also has an historic backlog of orders in its pipeline.