Boeing has talked about a possible new “middle of the market” jet, something between the largest 737 and the new smaller 787 widebodies, since at least 2003. This plane would be a replacement for the Boeing 757.
It’s unofficially dubbed the ‘797’ and is expected to seat 220 – 270 passengers and fly up to 5,200 nautical miles.
And Delta wants to be the plane’s launch customer.
Ed Bastian, said he wants to be one of the first customers for the planemaker’s anticipated mid-market jetliner. The chief executive officer expressed his enthusiasm for the aircraft, dubbed the 797 by analysts, in a recent message posted on Delta’s internal website.
“You’re going to see us participate in Boeing’s middle-of-the-market campaign,” Bastian said. “I hope that we’re going to be a launch customer on that program as well.”
Now, Delta doesn’t buy Boeing new planes. They buy used planes. They buy Airbus.
Politically they’ve been at odds with Boeing,
- They opposed re-authorization of the Import-Export Bank (whose biggest beneficiaries are Boeing and GE)
- They wanted a crackdown on Gulf carrier expansion, and Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar are big Boeing customers
- They bought the Bombardier C Series which Boeing sought government protection from
Now Delta is just negging Boeing. And Boeing may be willing to go to unheard of lengths to win Delta’s approval with a deal. Or perhaps Delta just wants to neutralize Boeing’s political opposition by hinting they could make a sale.