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Delta strikes rare deal with Boeing to buy dozens of new 737 Max 10 airliners

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A Delta Boeing 757 takes off at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Ga. Monday's announcement marks the first time Delta has bought commercial airliners from Boeing in more than a decade. File Photo by John Dickerson/UPI
A Delta Boeing 757 takes off at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Ga. Monday's announcement marks the first time Delta has bought commercial airliners from Boeing in more than a decade. File Photo by John Dickerson/UPI | License Photo

July 18 (UPI) -- Delta Air Lines has cut a deal with Boeing for the purchase of dozens of new 737 Max 10 airliners to update its aging fleet, the carrier announced Monday -- a big boost for the plane maker that's been affected by COVID-19 and two deadly crashes involving the Max model.

Delta said that it will buy 100 of the jetliners, which is Boeing's latest version of the 737 Max.

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The first planes are expected to be delivered in 2025, the airline said, and each aircraft will fly out of core hubs across the United States, including New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Seattle and Los Angeles.

Executives from Delta and Boeing signed off on the deal at the Farnborough International Airshow in Britain.

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"The Boeing 737-10 will be an important addition to Delta's fleet as we shape a more sustainable future for air travel, with an elevated customer experience, improved fuel efficiency and best-in-class performance," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement.

"These new aircraft provide superior operating economics and network flexibility, and the agreement reflects our prudent approach to deploying our capital."

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The 737 Max was grounded worldwide for 18 months after two crashes in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 people. The grounding was lifted in November 2020, which allowed American Airlines, United and Southwest to resume operating them. Delta, however, has never operated the 737 Max.

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Monday's purchase agreement is also the first time Delta has bought anything from Boeing for more than a decade. The deal calls for an additional option for 30 more of the planes, which can seat 182 passengers.

The 737 Max 10 is the largest model in the Max family and Delta says it's 20%-30% more fuel efficient than the older narrow-body jets that they will replace.

Last week, Delta announced a $735 million profit in the second quarter of 2022, which was aided by more expensive fares and higher demand for travel.

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Delta and every other major carrier were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as travel restrictions rose and demand plummeted worldwide.

Early this year, Boeing said that an issue with the automated flight software in its 737 Max fleet had been corrected and that many planes had returned "safely' to the skies.

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