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Delta Air Lines plans to start selling tickets on Saturday aboard the newest addition: regional Airbus jets that the carrier says will feature its widest seats in its fleet.
Delta ordered at least 75 of what were then Bombardier’s C Series narrowbody jets in April 2016 and the sale kicked off a bitter trade dispute with rival plane manufacturer Boeing, which complained the planes were sold below cost and that the program received illegal support. Boeing lost its trade case in January. Had it won, the planes could have been subjected to a 300 percent tariff if they were imported from Canada. Boeing’s chief competitor Airbus took a majority stake in the Bombardier program this summer and renamed the C Series plane the A220.
Delta will be the first U.S. airline to operate the planes. The Atlanta-based airline is targeting lucrative business travelers with the new planes, which it says will feature the widest coach-class seat in its fleet at 18.6 inches, a tenth of an inch wider than the main cabin seats on its recently overhauled Boeing 777 widebody jets. The planes also feature more overhead bin space and bigger seat-back screens than the regional jets it currently operates.
Delta plans to debut the plane in New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Jan. 31, with flights to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport. Other A220 routes will start later in the year, including service between Detroit and Dallas, New York’s LaGuardia and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and to Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport to Dallas.
The planes will have 109 seats: 12 first class, 82 in economy and 15 in Comfort+, which features more legroom than standard coach seats.