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Delta places a big order for regional jets

Delta Air Lines took another step toward replacing the smallest regional jets in its fleet with slightly larger ones, placing an order for 40 new planes with three seating options.

The company’s order is for 40 CRJ900 regional jets from Bombardier, each with 76 seats—52 in economy, 12 in first class, and 12 in the extra-legroom Economy Comfort section. The order included an option for up to 30 additional planes.

The new planes will be used to replace 60 of Delta’s CRJ200 regional jets, each with 50 seats in a one-class configuration. The company said the fleet replacement will not result in any additional capacity or any reduction in overall capacity.

According to a company statement, the acquisition of CRJ700s and elimination of CRJ200s is part of a plan focused on “reducing inefficient flying, implementing strong capacity discipline by matching the right size aircraft to each market, and improving the customer experience.”

Earlier this year, Delta had announced a deal to take on 88 Boeing 717-200s from AirTran as part of the same program to replace the 50-seat jets in its regional fleet.

Delta said all the seats in the new CRJ900s will be leather, in a 2x2 configuration. “Customers flying on Delta’s regional aircraft will continue to have access to the planeside valet program, with the opportunity to drop off larger carry-on baggage at the boarding door and pick it up planeside upon arrival,” the company said.

The airline has been steadily expanding the availability of larger two-class regional jets; it now has 255 of them in its fleet, including 101 CRJ900s.

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