Transport Airlines

How Delta profits off of one of the oldest fleets in the U.S.

Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal

Nov 19, 2012 1:00 am

Skift Take

Operating one of the oldest fleets in the U.S. isn’t a great marketing point, but Delta has been deftly making use of older aircraft and efficiently profiting from the practice.

— Dennis Schaal

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A jetliner parked in a cavernous hangar here boasts a gleaming paint job, 160 pristine blue leather seats and a new-airplane smell. But this latest addition to the Delta Air Lines Inc. fleet isnt new.

Not by a long shot. The twin-engine MD-90, acquired from China Southern Airlines Co., is more than 13 years old. It is one of 49 used McDonnell Douglas MD-90s Delta is rehabbing after scooping them up from global airlines that were thrilled to get rid of a plane that no longer is built by a manufacturer that long ago was taken over by Boeing Co.

Most large carriers prefer fuel-sipping new planes with the latest high-tech gadgetry. But Delta, which has one of the oldest fleets in the U.S., is making a habit of succeeding by zigging when its rivals zag.

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