Delta's order for 30 A321s and 10 A330-300s today is the first Airbus order for the carrier since it placed an order for nine A310-300s in March 1992 according to Aviation Week Intelligence Network's Fleet database. While Delta did inherit an outstanding order for five A319s and two A320s when it took over Northwest Airlines in 2009, it has yet to take delivery of any and they currently remain on Airbus' orderbook.
Delta took delivery of its nine A310-300s from March 1993 through December 1993. A310 operations didn't last long at Delta as all nine were gone from the fleet by the end of 1995. Today, six of those A310s are flying with Pakistan International Airlines while two have been permanently retired. The remaining aircraft is flying with United Airways of Bangladesh.
It is also worth noting that the A321 will be a new type for Delta. While Northwest did place some options for A321s back in 1990, none were ever firmed up. Today, only two US carriers operate the A321: US Airways and Spirit Airlines. Delta will be the fifth US carrier, however, to operate the type by the time it receives its first one in 2016. American Airlines and Jetblue Airways both have A321s on order and are expected to take delivery of their first examples in the coming months.
Read our Aviation Week story about this order: Alabama-Assembled A321s Destined For Delta