Jon Ostrower - Delta Proposes Unusual Transaction

According to this tweet from Jon Ostrower, Delta is currently proposing a deal to Boeing that would see them send all of their 91 717-200s to Boeing in exchange for 100 brand new 737 MAX. Given that multiple leasing companies have cancelled their orders for the MAX, this may be an opportunity for Boeing to prevent pumping whitetails out of their factories once their delivery slots roll around.

Going beyond the practical aspects, let’s look at some of the more interesting implications and questions arising from this proposal:

  1. A new Boeing 737 MAX may have a lower market value during these tumultuous times than a 717-200, which is no spring chicken.

  2. Delta eschewed the 737 MAX during their narrowbody ordering process, what will be the place of the 737 MAX in their fleet? If there is no place, possibility 3 may apply.

  3. Will Delta fly the 737 MAX they take delivery of? Or are they trying to pick up some 2022-2024 delivery slots for next to nothing (less than 1 717-200 each) then flip them when the time is right? All of the majors have talked about right-sizing their operations for a post-COVID world and this may be a way for them to pocket a hefty gain on 717 disposals once market value for commercial aircraft recovers.

If you can think of any other implications or thoughts, feel free to add something below!


Why??? There going to get the MAX?? Geez Delta! Get some more A220’s


This is crazy to say the least, but I can see Delta definitely has a long-term strategy they would execute if they got the 737 MAXs. Short term, it is very strange.

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Seems interesting. Boeing are known to offer great discounts but to this extent? Not sure it would happen

Also Delta have no Boeing aircraft left on order, surely their strategy is to have predominant Airbus based fleet, their distance away from this aircraft has steered them away from a lot of trouble. Do you foresee Delta needing these aircraft either? I personally think their capacity will exceed demand for most of the year. EasyJet for example has no need for any new aircraft yet keeps doing so.

Wait do you have access to the full article?

I had to think about this for a moment, but it would probably be a great deal for Delta.
Saves them from paying for storage/demolition and gets them new aircrafts.

I don’t understand what Boeing has for a real benefit from it though apart from pleasing an important customer.

Very interesting business proposition. This statement couldn’t be any more accurate. If this is followed through, it would be one of the greatest aviation trade deals ever. Good for them thinking outside of the box.


This would be great to see, and I hope they get the 737 MAX. Has to be one of the best planes I’ve ever flown on.

It can show other airlines that it’s an aircraft they should buy or is safe to buy. May even convince people if such a large airline is buying it, that it’s a safe aircraft, especially since I’m sure a lot of the world doesn’t think that right now.

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Well yeah, might be true. Did Delta order B737MAXs before?

They don’t have to keep them. They can easily sell them to another airline at some point.

Delta is well-known to play the long game, I’m fascinated by this proposal and what they actually plan on doing with the planes (if they go through with this).

From what I have observed, Delta is into good deals. I would think that they would do something with the MAXes, whether if that means painting the widget onto them? We don’t know.

No, he tweeted that tidbit. I trust him enough that this is an actual proposal. Whether Boeing actually accepts the proposal is a different matter.

Boeing saves on storage costs for airplanes with no customer to take them. It also makes their net orders look a lot better for Q2 as their numbers (along with Airbus’) are abysmal right now.


Ah. This should give more insight. Pretty sure this guy has the full article.


But they have to store the B717s, don’t they? Can’t see anyone buying them after all.

That’s very true though. Not sure whether it’s worth the transaction nonetheless.

They will likely be scrapped, unless David Neeleman wants them. 😈

They may also get some deposit money out of it as well. Boeing needs cash.

I’m not sure if DL actually needs additional backfill for the 717s. If the majors are rightsizing, the 717s would be the first to go, and the A220s will take care of most of the lost capacity.

Honesty, it’s a very interesting move.

Delta’s 737-800s are starting to get old. They could use MAXs (assuming they’re go for the MAX 8) as a direct replacement, so they don’t change any capacity in terms of seating on the planes. Use them to replace the 717s and older 738s.

Pretty much.

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That would be important, yes. We’ll see!

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@Danman dropping some cold hard knowledge on us with this one.

Seems like a giant win for Boeing, but the cost benefit may not be good for them. I was really hoping delta would invest in the A220.

Will be interesting to see what happens. The last 2 years couldn’t have gone any worse for Boeing, but with the 77x well into development, they need some positives to go with that.

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This is very very interesting. If I’m not mistaken, many 717s were refurbished in the last 5ish years and Delta was planning to have the 717 last them a while, at least 10 more years. Delta isn’t just putting this straight up, there has to be some sort of catch…


The 717s were supposed to be in the fleet into the 2030s. Interesting move for sure and I wonder what will come of it.

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