(Adds executive comment on Boeing variant, fleet strategy, changes headline and dateline)
By Jeffrey Dastin
ATLANTA, April 29 (Reuters) - Concern over future U.N. aircraft emissions standards was a factor in a Delta Air Lines Inc deal announced this week to buy 75 new CS100 jets from Bombardier Inc, a Delta executive said on Friday.
Delta’s decision was in part because the planes will comply with standards that the United Nations aviation arm will likely introduce over the next decade, said Greg May, senior vice president for supply chain maintenance and fleet strategy.
Atlanta-based Delta, the No.2 U.S. carrier by traffic, currently has an older fleet than rivals United Continental Holdings Inc and American Airlines Group Inc, though Delta manages thanks to its large maintenance operation called TechOps and has renovated interiors.
The pending standards from the International Civil Aviation Organization would apply to all new aircraft models launched after 2020 and would be phased in for existing aircraft built from 2023. These preliminary efforts to cap carbon dioxide emissions were a factor in Delta’s deal with Bombardier, which was announced Thursday, May said.
“It’s definitely a consideration. It’s not the deciding factor, but we’re always monitoring our entire fleet for emissions, noise, environmental friendliness,” May told reporters. He was speaking aboard the company’s first A321 jet from Airbus Group SE, which was delivered in March.
Separately, May said that if Boeing Co were in the future to make a new, larger 737 MAX variant, Delta could be interested.
“We will have interest (in) a larger and longer-range MAX,” he said. “The bigger interest point for us on that is to get more range.”
However, Delta’s incoming Chief Executive Ed Bastian said earlier Friday that the airline is not in the market for a Boeing order for the time being, after placing the CS100 order and announcing Friday it would buy 37 more Airbus A321s.
May said that Delta does not like placing large plane orders at any given time that would lock in the airline’s growth and not allow it to respond flexibly to customer demand.
“Huge orders for us would be firm orders for 150, 200 aircraft with one manufacturing type. What we find is as far as getting economy-of-scale pricing, 50 to 75 aircraft is plenty to really get the cutting-edge kind of deals that we want,” May said.
Delta has a fleet of about 1,300 aircraft, he said. (Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in Atlanta; Editing by Chris Reese and Frances Kerry)