Delta delays taking delivery of 10 A350 jets

FILE PHOTO: Delta planes line up at their gates while on the tarmac of Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah September 28, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

(Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc DAL.N said on Thursday it was delaying taking delivery of 10 Airbus A350-900 jets and placed a fresh order for 30 smaller A321-200s, putting a question mark on the demand for wide-body aircraft.

Airbus shares were down 2.1 percent at 73.64 euros in Paris, while Delta fell 1.7 percent to $49.07 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Delta's decision comes after larger U.S. rival American Airlines Group Inc AAL.O said in April that it had also delayed taking delivery of several wide-body Boeing Co BA.N and Airbus jets.

An oversupply in the market of long-distance wide-body aircraft has led to airlines postponing deliveries.

Delta said it would delay taking deliveries of 10 of the 25 A350-900 aircraft by about two to three years. The aircraft were to be delivered by 2019-20.

“These agreements better align our widebody and narrowbody order books with our fleet replacement needs,” Delta’s Chief Operating Officer Gil West said in a statement.

AerCap Holdings NV AER.N, the world's largest independent aircraft leasing company, on Wednesday played down concerns about weakening demand for wide-body jets, saying there was "good solid demand" for the aircraft globally.

Delta said on Thursday delivery schedule for its first A350-900 aircraft was on track, and plans to operate the first flight in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The company plans to take delivery of five A350s in 2017.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta