Delta plans to retire its 18 widebody Boeing 777s by the end of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision is viewed as a sign that the airline doesn’t expect a quick return of long-haul international travel.
Airlines have grounded 16,000 planes — nearly two-thirds of the world’s fleet — and they are delaying deliveries of jets that they agreed to buy before the pandemic, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The report says, air travel in the U.S. is down more than 90% from a year ago, and global traffic has seen a similar plunge.
The airline says it has parked more than 650 mainline and regional aircraft to adjust capacity to match reduced customer demand amid the pandemic
“We’re making strategic, cost-effective changes to our fleet to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while also ensuring Delta is well-positioned for the recovery on the backside of the crisis,” said Gil West, Delta’s Chief Operating Officer.
More specific details of the timing of the 777’s exit from the fleet will be disclosed at a later date.