The US airline giants American, Delta and United have inventory that will be approaching 20 years old by 2020. The combined fleets contain a variety of both Airbus and Boeing frames. The fleet renewal paradigm is now in play. United is running up 787 deliveries without replacing older models as they become a serious target for Boeing's order making team. The Boeing backlog is becoming ripe for order placing with its family of 787 and 777. United recently converted fourteen 787's into 777's on its books. That particular move by United, suggest a near term fleet adjustment during a time of a retiring fleet age and increasing fleet capacity. United moved with a lower financial impact while increasing its order book.
American airlines became a Boeing star when it received its first 787 in the bright colors of its hanger. It too has its fleet shuffling as jets retire, routes are expanded, and passenger capacity changes. Out goes older 767's and in comes the 787 so Boeing hopes will happen. The battle field has changed to the fleet renewal scheme of things and both Boeing and Airbus are suitors expecting big orders from these three US shoppers during the next two years. When placing an order an airline should expect a five year window in which a delivery is completed. Manufacturing analyst see the customer's fleet age per unit, they can expect orders to be placed in a certain window of time.
Delta is a wild card for Boeing as they have demonstrated a propensity for choosing any manufacturer at any time. The result is a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing where Boeing maintains the lead and Airbus has an aging fleet. The Single aisle is the anxious area for Boeing while Airbus has received favorable order status for its wide body. They just stalled Boeing by ordering 25, A330-900 and 25, A350-900's which becomes not a good day is for Boeing, as the Airbus good day replaces its aging Boeing aircraft such as the 767. Boeing didn't beat Airbus on pricing and Delta went for the best price.
Delta Fleet Age and Numbers
The First in First Out (FIFO) market mode is the buying impetus for 2016-2017. The oldest aircraft in a fleet must go and be replaced by any aircraft manufacturer offering the best deal. That buying environment will extend Boeing's $30 billion development charges beyond the 1,300 unit block, before all sunk coasts are recovered from the "Pit".