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Delta has officially retired its 737-700 fleet. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

Delta Retires Final Eight Boeing 737-700s

Delta Air Lines has retired its final Boeing 737-700 aircraft, sources close to the matter confirmed to AirlineGeeks. Delta had eight 737-700s in its fleet as of Sept. 13 and the final planes were ferried to storage on Sept. 25. 

Delta’s final 737-700s were registered as N301DQ, N302DQ, N303DQ, N304DQ, N307DQ, N308DE, N309DE and N310DE.

The airline announced in July that it would remove the 737-700s, as well as its 777s, by the end of the year in an effort to consolidate its fleet amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The 737-700 is no longer listed on Delta’s schedules or aircraft rosters. The remaining 737-700s in the fleet were removed from schedules since early September and had been parked in Atlanta and Minneapolis since.

Delta took its first 737-700s in 2008. The airline at the time boasted the aircraft’s better fuel efficiency, brought about with the help of improved winglets and an enhanced carbon braking system that weighed less than steel brakes, offloading weight and allowing for better fuel efficiency and higher loads. The aircraft was used to serve smaller and developing markets and replaced the airline’s oldest MD-80s at the time. Delta’s 737-700s most notably flew to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, which has a notoriously short runway and is at a notably high altitude.

Despite the 737-700 retirement, the Atlanta-based carrier still operates 207 Boeing 737s, including 77 737-800s and 130 737-900ERs.

Up close with a Delta 737-700 taxiing to its gate at Key West. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

While the 737-700 will no longer operate for Delta, there’s still a possibility that other carriers could purchase the planes secondhand. There is precedent for such a move: United has been known to purchase 737s retired by Southwest Airlines, which uses its 737s constantly and rack up a high number of cycles on each.

United is not the only major airline that has done this. In the past, Delta was known to pick up used MD-80 and MD0-90 aircraft for very low prices while other airlines retired them for newer, more expensive jets. While airlines have not yet moved to take up Delta’s retired planes, the aircraft still do have some value and can potentially be flown again by a different carrier.

As Delta continues to phase older planes out of its fleet, it is also introducing new more efficient aircraft. The airline is preparing to take delivery of its first Airbus A220-300s; the type is set to enter service with Delta this November out of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Delta’s 737-700 aircraft each had 124 seats while the A220-100 is configured with 109 seats and the new A220-300 will carry 130 passengers. The carrier is already the largest A220-100 operator in the world.

Delta did not respond to a request for comment prior to publication.

This story was updated on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020 at 12:28 p.m. ET to correct a grammatical error. 

John McDermott
John McDermott
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