Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines selected Airbus Services to retrofit and upgrade nine of its flagship A350-900 aircraft that are new to its fleet. Acquired from another airline, the widebody planes started operating Delta flights without the interior on its other A350s.

Airbus Services is a division of the manufacturing company that offers support to airlines, whether it is for aircraft maintenance needs, training, retrofits, dismantling, or recycling. Delta’s A350 cabin upgrades reportedly require specific support due to the size and complexity of the project.

Where did they come from?

Last June, Delta began to acquire additional A350s from LATAM Airlines Brazil. In 2021, the Brazilian carrier terminated the leasing contracts of its Airbus A350 fleet, which consisted of 13 aircraft. Shortly after, Delta acquired nine of the ex-LATAM birds, making the carrier one of the largest Airbus widebody operators in the US.

Currently, the airline operates 28 A350s and has an additional six on order. Delta’s interior, which is equipped on its original A350s, consists of 306 seats: 32 Delta One Suites, 48 recliners in premium select, 36 extra-legroom economy seats, and 190 regular economy seats.

The former LATAM A350s joining the fleet have a more dense arrangement, with more than 30 additional seats. The configuration consists of 339 seats, split into 30 premium business seats, advertised as Delta One seats, 63 premium economy or Delta Comfort+ seats, and 246 economy seats.

LATAM Airlines Airbus A350-941 PR-XTC.jpg (2)

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

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Harmonizing the fleet

It appeared this month that Delta prioritized most international routes with its original A350s and utilized the former LATAM birds on some domestic routes. With the upcoming cabin upgrades, all planes will have the same seating arrangement, making it easier for the airline to deploy the aircraft on certain routes and provide the same product to its passengers.

Kristen Bojko, Delta’s Vice President of Fleet, said retrofitting the acquired A350s is essential to the airline’s customer service.

“This partnership with Airbus Services will ensure the A350 cabins are harmonized with the rest of our international fleet. The A350 is a critical part of Delta’s network and this retrofit allows us to continue delivering the premium experience that our customers value.” – Kristen Bojko, Delta Air Lines Vice President of Fleet

According to Airbus, the retrofit program will reflect a total nose-to-tail cabin modification, including seats, lavatories, galleys, overhead bins, and more, to meet Delta’s high standards for passenger cabin experience, connectivity, avionics, and systems configuration.

Throughout the upgrade process, the manufacturer said it will provide all of its services bulletins, including engineering drawings, the required tools and resources, and the technical support for retrofitting.

Delta Air Lines Airbus A350-900 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

Photo: Jay Singh | Simple Flying

Airbus & Delta’s collaboration

Airbus also said that Delta turned to its services because of its unique original equipment manufacturer expertise and its capacity to deliver large and complex upgrades’ technical solutions.

Chairman & CEO of Airbus Americas, C. Jeffrey Knittel, spoke about the company’s partnership with Delta.

“Delta’s trust demonstrates that Airbus Services is capable of successfully delivering exceptionally comprehensive upgrade solutions for our customers,” Knittel said. “We value the close collaboration we have with the teams at Delta, which will ensure the success of this program.”

Along with its A350s, Delta operates more than five dozen Airbus A330 aircraft. 62 planes contribute to its worldwide operation, with an additional 18 reportedly on order.


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