P1000551.jpg Sean Broderick/AWST

Delta Boosts MD-88 MRO Spending As C Series Delays Loom

Bombardier CS100 delivery schedule remains unclear.

Delta Air Lines has boosted maintenance spending on some of its older narrowbodies to help bridge the gap to anticipated deliveries of the airline's Bombardier C Series aircraft, the airline says.

"With the mitigation of the C Series delay that we've seen, we've got a bit more work to do on the existing fleet versus expecting that the new aircraft [are] going to deliver for the summer schedule," CFO Paul Jacobsen told analysts on a January 11 earnings call.

Delta has 75 CS100s on order, but the trade dispute between Boeing and Bombardier has put deliveries—slated to start soon—on hold.

"We do know that we will not be taking the C Series according to the current schedule, which would be taking delivery this spring,"  said CEO Ed Bastian. "To that end, we have to invest in maintaining some aircraft, particularly MD-88s, to keep them around a little bit longer than we were otherwise anticipating." 

Delta, which plans to take the CS100s but says it will not pay any tariffs, will "set its plans accordingly" following a final ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission, Bastian says. A decision is expected within a few weeks.

Aviation Week's Commercial Fleet & MRO Forecast shows the airline operates 140 MD-88s. It plans to retire the fleet by 2020.

Delta saw its maintenance spending rise 9% in 2017 to just under $2 billion.


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