Delta Air Lines Inc will make a decision on buying planes by the end of the year, its chief executive said on Thursday.

We'll make a fleet decision by the end of the year on mid-body replacement, CEO Richard Anderson said, adding that the decision would likely come before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday in late November.

He cited some weakness in the U.S. economy but said Delta's forward bookings look strong.

We're seeing some softening in the economy ... the indicators aren't what you would like them to be, Anderson told reporters after the company's annual shareholder meeting. He said Europe's economy was where he sees the most weakness.

Delta, the No. 2 air carrier behind United Continental Holdings , said earlier this week it expects a solidly profitable second quarter as higher revenues have for the most part offset rising fuel costs.

The airline sent a request to several plane makers late last year for proposals to deliver up to 200 planes to replace aging models. Possible orders could include large, medium and small single-aisle planes to be used on U.S. routes, Delta said earlier this year.

The head of Brazilian plane maker Embraer's commercial aviation unit told Reuters last week at the Paris Air Show that he saw good chances of firm orders from Delta this year.

(Reporting by Roy Strom, additional reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; editing by John Wallace)