Atlanta - The US carrier Delta Air Lines has again expressed its desire to add Boeing's future mid-sized jetliner (NMA) to its fleet.
The chief executive Ed Bastian said that its company was willing to buy up to 200 jets from the Boeing's NMA (New Mid-size Airplane) program.
With his repeated statements about the Boeing's future wide-body jet intended for the Middle of the market, Ed Bastian hopes to motivate the American manufacturer to accelerate its efforts to develop the aircraft dubbed Boeing 797.
Delta needs a suitable aircraft in the coming years to replace the aging Boeing 757s and 767s in its fleet.
The US operator currently operates more than 200 Boeing 757 and 767 with an average age of 21. Most of them are already approaching the end of their lifespan.
As it was stated occasionally by the Delta's CEO, the airline sees Boeing 797 as the ideal replacement aircraft for its older generation mid-haul widebodies.
Boeing was previously expected to launch the 797 program officially at the Paris Air Show in June. But earlier this year, the manufacturer announced that it pushed its ultimate decision to 2020 for the program launch.
In the meantime, Airbus came up with the A321XLR to fill the gap in the absence of the Boeing 797. The European aircraft manufacturer launched the A321XLR program at the Paris Air Show this year and recorded order commitments for 147 copies from the customers around the world, including American Airlines.
American Airlines has placed an order commitment for 50 Airbus A321XLR during the event.
But the XLR doesn't solve the 767 replacement issue for the major US carriers with large 767 fleets, United and Delta managers say.
The US destinations such as NewYork is not within the flight range of the A321XLR all-year around from Eastern departure points in Europe, especially in winter due to the headwinds over Atlantic. With the Boeing 797, Boeing could, therefore, offer something that the Airbus A321XLR cannot.
Boeing can also take advantage of a wide body with the Boeing 797 to offer more comfortable passenger flights compared the single-aisle A321XLR.
When flight duration increases, passengers pay more attention to cabin comfort.
Boeing currently has focused on fixing problems that nailed its 737 MAX jets on the ground after two fatal crashes.