Delta Air Lines has wanted to buy the Boeing 797 for 38 years!
Last week the chief of the world’s second-biggest airline Ed Bastian, said it wants to be the first to fly what Boeing calls its new mid-sized aircraft jetliner.
“You’re going to see us participate in Boeing’s middle-of-the-market campaign,” Bastian told employees Bloomberg reported.
“I hope that we’re going to be a launch customer on that program as well.”
The 797, as the industry calls it, will be a midsized aircraft in two versions seating between 220 and 270 passengers with two aisles for the ultimate in comfort and optimized for medium haul ranges.
In 1980, McDonnell Douglas – now part of Boeing – proposed almost exactly the same aircraft but in an extraordinary move declined an order from Delta for 60, because its executives got cold feet on the development costs.
Late in 1979, MDC announced its Advanced Twin (engine) Medium Range (transport) would have a six across twin-aisle configuration offering a new dimension in passenger comfort.
But then in January 1980, stopped work on the ATMR as it shifted resources to the military CX transport program, which became the C-17.
However, MDC was forced to resume the twin-aisle ATMR effort because Delta said it wanted the aircraft.
Delta was the key customer and the airline really wanted what had then become known as the DC-11.
It was prepared to order 60 but MDC wanted another airline on board and larger progress payments to help its cash flow.
Then-SVP of Delta Robert Oppenlander summed up the situation in the 1 December 1980 edition of Business Week: “They (MDC) wanted to launch a new plane without taking any risk. That ain’t the way it works.”
Delta ordered the Boeing 757 instead and in a twist, the Boeing 797 is designed to r, place the 757 -and the larger 767.