• U.S.

U.S. Business: First for Delta

2 minute read

At Delta Air Lines’ quarterly meeting in Atlanta last week, flinty Chairman C. E. Woolman, 73, surprised his directors —and the entire U.S. airline industry—by announcing that Delta had ordered 15 Douglas DC-g short-range jetliners and had an option for 15 more. Delta thus became the world’s first airline to order the $3,000,000 twin-engine plane that Douglas Aircraft will build to compete with British Aircraft Corp.’s One-Eleven, a short-range jetliner that will fly this summer. First DC-g deliveries will be in 1966.

Though President Donald Douglas Jr. hinted that orders from other airlines are in the works, Douglas is prudently working out a novel insurance arrangement, just in case the company does not get enough orders to break even. Douglas’ subcontractors will pay the cost of developing the components that they will supply for the DC-g. If the plane makes money, they will share in profits; if not, they will absorb much of the loss. Douglas has already signed an agreement with the largest DC-9 subcontractor, de Havilland of Canada, under which de Havilland will supply $65 million worth of wing, tail and fuselage section at its own risk. Young Douglas expects the rest of the six major DC-g subcontractors to agree to the plan within a month.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com