Airbus nearing significant widebody order from Delta -sources

By Tim Hepher, Rajesh Kumar Singh and Valerie Insinna

PARIS/CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Airbus is nearing an order from Delta Air Lines for dozens of wide-body jets including extra A350-1000 aircraft, industry sources told Reuters.

Depending on last-minute negotiations, a deal could be made public as early as Friday when the U.S. carrier reports its fourth-quarter earnings, they said.

Airbus declined to comment. Delta said it does not comment on industry speculation.

While the Atlanta-based carrier placed an order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets in 2022, it has primarily been an Airbus customer.

At the end of September the company had 65 Airbus A330 and 28 A350-900 wide-bodies, with commitments to purchase another 16 each.

The twin-aisle jets are expected to help the company to grow its network in Asia-Pacific, which has lagged behind the U.S. and Europe in global travel demand recovery after the pandemic.

However, U.S. airlines are betting on the region as the next source of high-margin revenue at a time of soaring costs. In the current quarter, Delta, United Airlines and American Airlines are estimated to increase seats on their flights to the region by more than 70% from a year ago.

Airlines are also scrambling to order new planes to renew existing fleets amid fears of a shortage in coming years.

Airbus last year set an industry record for gross and net orders.

(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; Editing by Chris Reese)