Ed Bastian, chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines Inc., attends a news conference at a mass covid-19 vaccination site at the Delta Flight Museum in Hapeville, Georgia, on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2021.

Elijah Nouvelage | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines on Thursday said it agreed to buy 25 more Airbus A321 planes, the latest carrier to order new jetliners after a historic slump in air travel.

Delta exercised purchase rights for the jets; its total firm orders for the narrow-body planes stand at 125. It also added options for an additional 25 of them.

“Adding these new efficient narrowbody jets to our fleet means more career opportunities for our pilots and more capacity to grow our network during the recovery, solidifying our leadership position as more customers return to fly with Delta,” John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president and chief of operations, wrote in a memo to pilots, which was seen by CNBC.

Other carriers have also been adding to their fleets this year as travel demand starts to perk up. U.S. carriers alone lost more than $35 billion last year. Delta and other airlines over the past week have noted a rebound in bookings, though it’s been led by domestic leisure travel, not business and international travel.

Southwest Airlines last month announced its plans to buy 100 of Boeing’s smallest 737 Max plane, while Alaska Airlines and United Airlines have also increased their orders for Max jetliners this year.

Delta said it expects to start taking delivery of the Pratt & Whitney-powered Airbus A321neos in the first half of 2022.

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