I like carrots. They’re good for your vision and they taste good too. But when a 737-900 becomes a carrot? Yes, they probably taste good as well…..if you’re a Delta Air Lines pilot. Last night, after I had digitally detoxed for the evening, Delta announced a conditional order for 40 Boeing 737-900ERs and 20 Embraer E190 jets. Simple enough for an airline, but this order is conditional on Delta’s pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), approving a recently negotiated tentative agreement with the company.

According to Delta, the airline “will enter into an aircraft acquisition deal with The Boeing Co. for 20 Embraer E190 aircraft and 40 additional new 737-900ERs upon ratification of a tentative agreement covering more than 12,000 Delta pilots. The tentative agreement was approved for membership ratification today by the Delta Master Executive Council (MEC) of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).” (Logo image courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

delta air lines, pilot, tentative agreement, 737 order

The 737s will expand Delta’s already sizable fleet of that aircraft, and will be used to replace other retiring fleets – 757s and a random MD-88 or two, I’d guess. Most interesting to me was the E190 order. I suppose one could have predicted it since the tentative agreement with the pilots included a pay scale for just that aircraft. Apparently, Boeing is sitting on a handful of E190s it took from Air Canada in exchange for an aircraft order. My guess is that Delta is picking these airplanes up for a song (pun not intended).

New airplanes aren’t the only thing in store for Delta’s pilots if the tentative agreement is approved. There are some fairly respectable pay increases too. Having known a few airline pilots in my life, there are likely to be a few for who the extra money will never be enough. Of course, nothing is ever cut and dry in the airline industry. Pilots will have to accept a less generous profit sharing formula in exchange, and there are likely other issues that don’t get a lot of press. That said, I expect this tentative agreement is going to pass and we’ll be seeing more new Boeings, and a fleet of E190s at Delta next year. That’s good news for all of us because those E190s are likely to replace smaller regional jets and about that, I cannot complain.

-MJ, June 11, 2015