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"We absolutely must simplify the fleet. Delta never met ann airplane it didn't like or want. With 12 fleet types, counting sub-fleet types, in the Delta repertoire, the airline is probably looking to cut back to 3-4,"

This seems pretty consistent with recent procurements of new aircraft by Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL). All of Delta's new aircraft belong to one of the following types.

>> CRJ-200/CRJ-700 ("Delta Connection" service)

>> 737-700/737-800 (normal mainline service in North America)

>> 757-300/767-400 (high capacity service in North America and normal overseas service)

>> 777 (for high volume overseas routes only)

There are, however, still some older aircraft -- MD-80's, MD-11's, and older 737's, 757's, and 767's -- still awaiting replacement or disposal.

The company has parked its MD-11s, and is looking to replace some of its older 737-200s some of which are nearly a quarter of a century old.

There's a serious issue of timing the market here. The depressed market for aircraft -- whether new or used -- since the "9/11" attack assured that the company would not get reasonable value on the sale of these aircraft.

That said, Delta may well benefit from having these aircraft available if -- or should I say when? -- United Air Lines ceases operations, as such an event will open a huge market to the first competitor who can provide service. Delta could activate and deploy the "parked" aircraft with very little notice in such a scenario to capture market share. Delta could deploy the MD-11's, for example, to fly between Hawaii and both San Francisco and Seattle but also to fly beyond Honolulu to Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Rim -- routes that United currently serves.

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