MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Delta Air Lines says it’s retiring its widebody Boeing 777s this year as the company, along with the rest of the airline industry, is reeling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.READ MORE: 'It's Amazing': New Minnesota Grant Helps Foster Care Youth Pay For College
Delta says that the crisis has accelerated its effort to streamline and modernize its fleet, replacing older aircraft with newer, most cost-efficient models.
“We’re making strategic, cost-effective changes to our fleet to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while also ensuring Delta is well-positioned for the recovery on the backside of the crisis,” said Gil West, Delta’s COO, in a statement.
The airline has 18 of the Boeing 777s, which have been used for two decades on long-distance routes, such as non-stop flights between Atlanta, Georgia, and Johannesburg, South Africa.
The 777s will be replaced by the Airbus A350-900s, which burn 21% less fuel per seat, Delta says.READ MORE: Wisconsin Man Dies After Car Splits During Crash In Fridley
So far, Delta has parked 650 aircraft. Earlier this year, the carrier announced the retirement of its MD-88s and MD-90s.
Like other airlines, Delta has seen demand for flights all but evaporate in the wake of the outbreak.
In a memo to employees this week, the company said it’ll likely operate with a smaller fleet, network and workforce for the next few years.
The company told its workers that it’s currently losing around $50 million a day, saying that retiring jets, such as the 777s, will substantially help stem the bleeding.MORE NEWS: Homicide Investigation Underway After Woman Found Dead Inside St. Paul Home
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