UPDATE 2-Delta orders 37 Airbus A321s worth $4.25 billion

Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:08am EDT
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(Adds Delta comments about Boeing)

By Jeffrey Dastin

ATLANTA, April 29 (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc said on Friday it has ordered 37 current-generation A321 aircraft from Airbus Group SE worth $4.25 billion at list prices, a move that will help it replace aging aircraft.

The new jets, set to be delivered through 2019, add to A321s Delta already has on order, boosting the carrier's fleet of these planes to 82, the airline said. Airlines typically enjoy discounts of 40 percent or more on aircraft list prices.

The announcement comes a day after Delta ordered 75 CSeries aircraft from Bombardier Inc, boosting the Canadian planemaker's backlog, even as it faces a long road back to profitability. Delta also said on Friday it did not plan to buy Boeing Co planes in the near future.

The Airbus purchase will help Atlanta-based Delta, the second-largest U.S. carrier by traffic, achieve its planned growth while retiring 116 old MD-88 aircraft, which seat 149 people. The new planes can seat 185 people, the airline said.

"The order for the A321s is an opportunistic fleet move that enables us to produce strong returns and cost-effectively accelerate the retirement of Delta's 116 MD-88s in a capital efficient manner," Delta's incoming Chief Executive Ed Bastian said in a news release.

Reuters reported earlier this month that Airbus was nearing a deal to sell Delta the 37 jets.

Bastian told reporters in Atlanta that the airline had no current plans to buy Boeing planes.

"At the present time, I'd say we're not in the market," Bastian said. "There's not a significant domestic need ... There's not an international need as well."

While Delta talks frequently with Boeing, he said, "their product and the commercial offerings did not match what the CSeries was providing us, and they did not match the (Airbus) 321s, and Boeing was at the table at every one of the contests that we had." (Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in Atlanta; Editing by David Goodman, W Simon and Alwyn Scott)