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Delta plans largest aircraft purchase in history

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WASHINGTON – In what could spell the world’s largest plane order, Delta Airlines internal memo reveals carrier’s plans to replace 200 aging aircraft.

WASHINGTON – In what could spell the world’s largest plane order, Delta Airlines internal memo reveals carrier’s plans to replace 200 aging aircraft.

AFP reports tha Delta has approached manufacturers with a view to buying “100 to 200 firm aircraft” with an “option for 200 more” from early 2013, according to a memo posted on Delta’s intranet.

If all planes were bought from the same supplier it would be the largest aircraft purchase in history, surpassing an IndiGo order of 180 planes from Airbus, which was announced this week.

“Several major aircraft manufacturers” were approached in December, according to the document, as Delta tries to replace 200 narrow-bodied jets, including the Airbus A320, the DC9-50 and the Boeing 757-200.

The memo did not name the companies approached.

According to AFP, since 2007, Delta has bought 60 lower-capacity aircraft, all from Boeing.

“We’re now starting to plan for the long term, to ensure that we continue to maintain a flexible, cost-efficient fleet that meets our customers’ needs in the years to come, replace retiring airplanes and provide for domestic mainline growth.” Nat Pieper, the head of fleet strategy, told staff.