When Delta Employees Chipped In and Bought Delta’s First Boeing 767

In the Spring of 1982, the airline industry was troubled by a weak economy, high fuel prices, and deregulation. After 35 consecutive profitable years, Delta posted a net loss. As a way to express their appreciation for company support during this trying time, Delta employees spearheaded “Project 767” to raise money to pay for Delta’s first Boeing 767. Led by 3 flight attendants, the project was an inspiring effort to raise $30 million through the combined donations of employees, retirees and friends. On Dec. 15, 1982, over 7,000 employees, friends, and the international media gathered at Delta’s Technical Operations Center, to present the airline with its first Boeing 767, Ship 102, christened “The Spirit of Delta.” Directly after the dedication ceremony, Spirit left Atlanta on its inaugural service flight to Tampa, Fla. The plane went on to fly for over 23 years and was retired on Feb. 12, 2006, after flying 70,697 hours. Repainted in its original 1982 Delta livery, Spirit took off for a 2-week cross-country, 12-stop Farewell Tour. On May 7, 2006, after a brief ceremony, 23 museum volunteers escorted the plane into Historic Hanger 2, where it’s on display today to welcome visitors from all over the world.