Delta Airlines to order 100 jetliners from Airbus

In what would be a blow to US aerospace giant Boeing, Delta Air Lines will order around 100 jetliners from European rival Airbus, according to two people familiar with the deal, CNN Money reported.

The Atlanta-based carrier will announce a deal on Wednesday for the Airbus A321neo, according to the sources.

The board of directors of Delta is expected to meet Wednesday to vote on the Airbus purchase, according to the sources.

According to a person familiar with the matter Delta had been in talks with Boeing about buying around 100 of its 737 Max 10 airliners.

The move comes a day after Canada announced plans to scrap a deal with Boeing for new F/A-18 Super Hornets in favour of used fighters from Australia.

Boeing and Delta are locked in dispute over the airline's purchase of the smaller Canadian Bombardier C Series. Boeing has been accused by Bombardier of selling the C Series to Delta at unfairly low prices, and the US Commerce Department has recommended a preliminary 300 per cent tariff on the import of the jets. Bombardier and the Canadian government have denied any unfair trade practices.

The new Airbus jets will replace Delta's 1990s-vintage McDonnell Douglas MD-90 jets, as also aging Boeing 757 and Airbus A320 aircraft, which Delta plans to use mainly for domestic flights and on shorter international routes. Delta has the oldest fleet among the biggest three US carriers, with an average age of 17 years among its 847 mainline planes. This compares with slightly over 10 years at American Airlines Group Inc and 14 years at United Continental Holdings Inc.

According to commentators, the new order continues the success of Airbus with Delta, which in the past has favoured Boeing planes.