Delta orders 70 Larger Bombardier Regional Jets

Delta announced a firm order for 40 of Bombardiers CRJ-900 aircraft on Thursday, and options to purchase 30 more. The deal is worth $3.29 billion at list prices if Delta exercises the options.

The CRJ-900 will seat 76 passengers, which makes them smaller than Delta’s mainline planes but larger than many other regional jets. The new aircraft will also have first-class sections, allowing Delta to sell more seats at higher prices.

Like other regional jets, the new planes will be flown by a regional partner on Delta’s behalf. The first of the new planes begin arriving late next year.

Delta already has 101 CRJ900s flown by Pinnacle Airlines Corp., SkyWest Inc. and SkyWest’s ExpressJet. Those same airlines also fly the 50-seat CRJ-200s that Delta is in effect trading in to Bombardier for the new planes.

Delta spokesman Anthony Black said it isn’t known yet which regional airline will fly the new planes. Delta will still have 226 of those CRJ-200s, even after it sends 60 back to Bombardier. Delta also has another 154 larger regional jets that have first-class seats.