The CEO of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines says the company is still unsure about whether large investments in cutting-edge aircraft would be profitable. This comes as the airline's rivals make significant investments in them.
According to a recent Business Insider article, Delta (NYSE: DAL), which has a hub at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, is the only significant US airline that hasn't yet invested in the Overture jet or an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft made by Boom Supersonic of Colorado.
In regards to Overture, Delta CEO Ed Bastian stated to Fox Business on Tuesday that he still has "a lot more questions than answers."
Bastian added, "That's not where we're spending until we're certain that we could truly earn a reliable return from the aircraft."
Other large airlines, though, are less careful. American Airlines (Nasdaq: AAL) revealed last week that it has ordered 20 Boom's Overture airplanes, with an option for a further 40. According to Business Insider, the purchase puts the Texas-based airline on course to overtake other operators as the largest user of the aircraft. An earlier calculation indicated that the purchase would cost American Airlines $4 billion.
The supersonic airplane is scheduled to debut in 2029, and United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAL) has also placed an order for one. In June of last year, United placed an order for 15 with an option for 35 more.
American and United have both made investments in electric aircraft, particularly eVTOLs.
United placed a $10 million deposit on the 100 flying taxis it had purchased from San Jose-based Archer Aviation earlier in August. It's the initial installment of United's $1 billion contract with Archer for eVTOL aircraft. Despite being under $10 million, United claimed it represents a "new key phase" in its intentions to deploy Archer's eVTOLs as it begins its entry into the air taxi industry.
American has placed a pre-order for 250 of Vertical Aerospace's VX4 flying taxis, which are manufactured in the UK.
Even while Delta currently claims it has no interest in purchasing items identical to those of its rivals, travel analyst Henry Harteveldt told Business Insider that Delta might opt to purchase a supersonic or an electric aircraft in the future. However, they would have to ensure that the investment aligns with their business strategy.
The aviation industry is quite skeptical about Boom, according to Harteveldt. "Currently, it doesn't have an engine."
Source – Shutterstock. An Airbus A220-300 of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines being serviced at Idaho Falls Regional Airport
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Source – Shutterstock. Window view from an Airbus A321 of Delta Air Lines at Tampa International Airport
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