Delta Air Lines will replace its old Boeing planes with 50 Airbus wide-body jets powered by Rolls Royce engines.
The order, worth $14 billion, confirmed by Delta on November 20, is a victory for the European plane maker over its US rival’s Dreamliner 787.
It includes 25 Airbus A350-900 and 25 advanced Airbus A330-900neo aircraft.
Rolls Royce will provide Trent engines for both types of aircraft and long term servicing in a deal worth $5 billion.
The order is welcome news to Rolls Royce which has seen its share price fall by around a quarter since the beginning of the year following cut backs in military spending.
The company issued a profit warning in October and earlier this month announced 2,600 job losses as development work on two of its latest engines, the Trent 1000 and XWB, came to an end.
Airbus is reported to have won the contract after promising to deliver its latest A330neo in 2019, ahead of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
The Dreamliner has been beset with problems, suffering several delays before its 2011 introduction and then being grounded due to battery fires last year.
However, by October 2014 Boeing said more than 1,000 Dreamliners had been ordered by 60 customers around the world.
The Delta deal is significant for Airbus and Rolls Royce because they hope other American legacy carriers will follow its example as they upgrade their ageing fuel-hungry fleets.
John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer said: “When the most successful US airline today … says <<yes we want 50 more of your wide body planes>>, you can’t debate the fact that it is a massive endorsement of your product line.”
The A350s will be delivered in Q2 2017 and will fly routes between the US and Asia. They are expected to give a 20% improvement in operating cost per seat over Delta’s existing aircraft.
The A330neos will fly medium-haul trans-Atlantic routes as well as some routes between the American west coast and Asia.
Delta Air Lines has announced it is ready to re-route flights from the US to Asia if Russia imposes a ban on access to its airspace.
The Russian government is considering banning EU and US airlines from crossing its airspace in retaliation for western sanctions over Ukraine.
Delta says that 12 services would be affected if airlines are banned from Siberian airspace.
Delta is ready to re-route flights from the US to Asia if Russia imposes a ban on access to its airspace (photo Getty Images)
It is the first airline to publicly announce a contingency plan.
However, it is likely that other airlines are also looking at the issue.
In a statement, a spokesman for Delta said: “As a routine matter in running a global airline, Delta continually weighs geopolitical considerations when developing flight plans for the safe and secure aircraft routings of customers and employees.
“Delta is prepared to quickly make alternate routings around closed airspace if necessary, including Russian Siberia.”
Shares in airlines were hit on Tuesday when it was first rumored that Russia was considering a ban on foreign airlines crossing its airspace.
A drunken Japanese passenger punched a Delta Air Lines flight attendant while flying from Japan to Honolulu, federal prosecutors said.
Kenji Okamoto pleaded guilty Friday to interfering with the duties of a flight attendant by assaulting and intimidating him.
According to a criminal complaint, Kenji Okamoto was flying first-class from Osaka for his honeymoon last month when flight attendants noticed he was drunk before takeoff and continued drinking alcoholic beverages during the flight.
Kenji Okamoto got upset when one of the flight attendants wouldn’t take his meal tray away, the court document said. The flight attendant told him his hands were full. Kenji Okamoto allegedly “threw a roundhouse type punch” at a flight attendant who intervened in an attempt to diffuse the situation.
The honeymooner struck the flight attendant in his arms, which were raised to protect his head, the complaint said.
A drunken Japanese passenger punched a Delta Air Lines flight attendant while flying from Japan to Honolulu
The Delta Air Lines flight crew told authorities that Kenji Okamoto later apologized while crying, remained calm for the remainder of the flight and eventually fell asleep.
After crew members restrained him in his seat, “Okamoto apologized for his actions by repeatedly saying <<I’m sorry>> and bowed down on his knees and placed his head on the floor,” the complaint said.
During an interview with authorities, Kenji Okamoto said he’s in the construction business and was “drinking heavily because he was celebrating his honeymoon with his wife … that he married on April 20, 2014”, the complaint said. Kenji Okamoto told authorities that before boarding the plane, he had four glasses of beer and one glass of wine and he continued drinking champagne and wine while on board.
Kenji Okamoto, 30, of Kyoto said the incident happened “like a flash,” according to the court document, and that he doesn’t remember what exactly happened but that he was upset because he felt like he was being disrespected when the first flight attendant wouldn’t take his tray away.
Magistrate Kevin Chang initially allowed Kenji Okamoto to be released on $50,000 bond, but Assistant US Attorney Tracy Hino appealed, arguing that Okamoto didn’t disclose a previous conviction in Japan for assaulting a police officer. Tracy Hino’s appeal provided photos of Kenji Okamoto’s near full-body tattoos, arguing that he is a flight risk and a danger.
Delta banned Kenji Okamoto from flying on the airline, according to Tracy Hino’s appeal.
District Judge J. Michael Seabright granted the appeal to keep Kenji Okamoto held without bail at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.
Because he was arrested at the airport, Kenji Okamoto never got to enjoy his honeymoon, which was to be spent at a luxury resort in east Honolulu, Tracy Hino said.
Kenji Okamoto faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced on September 22.
Delta Air Lines has agreed a deal to buy Singapore Airlines’ 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic for $360 million.
Virgin Group and Sir Richard Branson will retain a 51% shareholding, and the Virgin brand will remain in place, the new partners said in a joint statement.
The deal is subject to regulatory approval in the US and Europe.
It follows a spat between Sir Richard Branson and Willie Walsh, boss of BA-owner International Airlines Group over the future of Virgin Atlantic.
Earlier, Willie Walsh offered to wager a “knee in the groin” in a bet with Sir Richard Branson over whether the Virgin brand would still be around in five years.
He was responding to a £1 million ($1.5 million) bet offered by Sir Richard Branson on Monday.
Delta Air Lines has agreed a deal to buy Singapore Airlines’ 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic for $360 million
Virgin and Delta said the deal would allow them to “overcome slot constraints” and offer more flights from Heathrow.
The carriers will operate 31 peak-day round trips between the UK and North America.
“Our new partnership with Virgin Atlantic will strengthen both airlines and provide a more effective competitor between North America and the UK, particularly on the New York-London route,” said Delta boss Richard Anderson.
Sir Richard Branson said it was an “exciting day” in Virgin’s history.
“It signals the start of a new era of expansion, financial growth and many opportunities for our customers and our business.”
Singapore Airlines is selling its stake, which it has owned since 1999, because of increased competition in its local market.
Low-cost airlines in particular have mushroomed, threatening more traditional carriers like Singapore Airlines.
Singapore Airlines has itself launched a low-cost carrier, called Scoot, and has been putting money into its regional service, SilkAir.
The FBI has opened an investigation after needles were found in turkey sandwiches served on four Delta Air Lines flights bound for the US from the Netherlands.
The needles, which the authorities said appeared to be small sewing needles, were found in six sandwiches prepared by the Amsterdam-based Gate Gourmet.
One person flying to Minneapolis was injured. Needles were also found on two flights to Atlanta and one to Seattle.
FBI has opened an investigation after needles were found in turkey sandwiches served on four Delta Air Lines flights
Delta said it was taking the matter “extremely seriously”.
In a statement, the airline said it was co-operating with the FBI and the authorities in the Netherlands and was working with Gate Gourmet “to ensure the safety and quality of the food” served on board.
James Tonges, who was travelling on one of the flights, said he felt a needle in his mouth after biting into a sandwich.
“When I pulled it out of my mouth it was very clear,” he told ABC News.
“I cleaned the food off and it was about a one inch-long straight needle.”
Delta spokeswoman Kristin Baur told the Associated Press news agency that flights attendants stopped serving the sandwiches as soon as the first needle was discovered, and alerted other flights. Passengers were served pizza instead.
The person who was injured declined medical treatment, said Kristin Baur.
A spokeswoman for Gate Gourmet, Christina Ulosevich, said the company had also launched its own investigation and was heightening its own “already stringent safety and security procedures, to prevent any recurrence”.