June 16 The Airbus A380, the world's largest
jetliner, does not figure in the current plans of Delta Air
Lines Inc, an executive at the carrier said on Monday,
citing the reliability and efficiency of smaller aircraft.
"We don't see an application for the A380 in our network,"
Steve Dickson, senior vice president for flight operations, said
during an interview at the AIAA Aviation Forum in Atlanta.
The A380, which entered service in 2007, can carry more than
500 passengers. Airbus has been trying to boost sales of the
Earlier this month, Delta ordered 15 Airbus A321 narrowbody
jets in a deal valued at $1.65 billion at list prices. It also
has issued a request for proposals for the purchase of as many
as 50 widebody jets.
Dickson said planes with four engines such as the A380 were
likely "not viable" for most of Delta's markets. "The
reliability of the two-engine airplanes and the efficiency of
them is just too compelling," he added.
Dickson, who is qualified as a Boeing 757/767 captain and
has also flown the 727 and 737 at Delta, also said the carrier
was not seeing a shortage of pilots. While some regional
carriers have cited problems finding qualified pilots, Dickson
said Delta had not seen a big impact yet at its feeder carriers.
Delta is hiring 50 pilots a month for the foreseeable
future, Dickson said. He added that the majority of the new
pilots were replacing retiring aviators.
"There's a lot that's changing in the industry right now in
terms of the career path for pilots that we need to make sure
that we stay abreast of," Dickson said. "For example, there are
fewer military pilots available. The number of pilots who have
been coming out of U.S. flight training schools has been
declining for a number of years. We also have a lot of
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Editing by Steve