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Delta chooses Airbus over Boeing in $12.7b jet deal

[ATLANTA] Delta Air Lines Inc ordered 100 of Airbus SE's A321neo jetliners, a deal with a list value of US$12.7 billion, in a major victory for the European planemaker over Boeing Co.

Deliveries of the single-aisle planes will begin in early 2020 and the transaction includes options for an additional 100 aircraft, Delta said in a statement Thursday. The airline's decision dealt a setback to Boeing's efforts to sell its newest 737 model, the Max 10.

Delta chose the Airbus planes after battling Boeing in a trade dispute involving another narrow-body plane, Bombardier Inc's C Series. Boeing persuaded the US Commerce Department to slap 300 per cent duties on the new Canadian plane, contending that Bombardier sold the C Series to Delta at well below cost.

The carrier's Airbus jets will be powered by Pratt & Whitney's geared turbofan engines, giving the United Technologies Corp division a boost after a series of manufacturing hurdles, delivery delays and technical glitches with the turbine.

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The A321neos will replace Delta's 1990s-vintage McDonnell Douglas MD-90 jets, as well as aging Boeing 757 and Airbus A320 aircraft. Delta is expected to use the new planes for domestic flights and shorter international routes. The carrier will outfit Airbus' longest narrow-body jet with seating for 197 people, including 20 in first class.

The carrier already overhauled its long-range international fleet in late 2014, selecting 50 Airbus wide-body planes in a deal valued at US$14 billion based on list prices.

Delta's last major Boeing order was for 100 737-900ER jets in 2011, although it has placed add-on orders for more 737s since then.

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