9:32 am November 16, 2012, by David Markiewicz
Delta Air Lines is boldly going where other carriers aren’t.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Atlanta’s cost-conscious hometown airline is saving money flying older planes, in stark contrast with its competitors who like them shinier and newer.
“… that cost-cutting effort has focused on an asset most airlines avoid: older planes,” it wrote.
The Journal says, “Most large carriers prefer fuel-sipping new planes with the latest high-tech gadgetry. But Delta, which has one of the oldest fleets in the U.S., is making a habit of succeeding by zigging when its rival zag.”
By that, they are referring to Delta’s purchase of an oil refinery, its operation of a big maintenance subsidiary, and its mostly non-union status.
Together, that’s left Delta “in the catbird seat …”
But are older planes safe?
The Journal notes that, “Though some safety experts once fretted about them, most now say that, with careful maintenance, older jets can fly safely.”
It also notes that, “There is no consensus about how old is too old when it comes to a plane.”
The average age of the Delta fleet is 16.6 years. It’s just 12 years at United Continental and US Airways, and 11 years at Southwest. Jet Blue’s are only six years old.
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