Delta Air Lines is considering extending the life of their 108 McDonnell Douglas MD-88 aircraft until 2020, as it works out a solution with Bombardier over the current heated debate with Boeing and the U.S. Department of Transport about whether Delta should be subject to import tariffs on the Canadian-built Bombardier CSeries aircraft. In a management conference call last week, the major U.S. airline revealed that the retirement date of the aircraft would be pushed back in part due to the delays with the aforementioned CSeries aircraft. Currently, Delta has 75 CS100 aircraft on order, which a scheduled entry-into-service (EIS) time of Spring 2018. This date is almost certainly being pushed back due to Delta and Bombardier's dispute with Boeing and the Department of Transport.
Last year, when Airbus took control of the CSeries program, they announced that a second assembly line will be constructed at Airbus' facilities in Mobile, Alabama in order to facilitate Delta's large order of the jets. This is so that the company can bypass the Department of Transport's recommended 300% tariff on these aircraft, which would negate the savings Delta obtained when it purchased these aircraft. Boeing has previously accused Bombardier of "dumping" these aircraft into the market well below the list price, resulting in a net loss for Bombardier. Despite this, Boeing has continued to rub salt in Bombardier's wounds, claiming that the jet has hurt sales of its Boeing 737-700/MAX 7 aircraft series, even though they're not even of the same aircraft class (130 vs 100 seats). The Department of Transport ultimately sided with Boeing, and sparked a trade war between the United States and Canada in the process. Later this month, the International Trade Commission is expected to decide whether to proceed with the recommended trade tariff on the CSeries or not - until then, avgeeks will likely be excited to see that the vintage MD-88, a rarity now in commercial aviation, will be flying in Delta's livery for at least several more years to come.
Cover image courtesy of Rudy Riet via Flickr.