If you don't want to lose historical stats/data about the AP you are replacing, you should be using the Replace Hardware option and not just deleting the old AP from Airwaves.The new APs need to be in the "New Device" list (or I think at least in the same folder of the AP you are replacing). Then with the old APs down, you can select the old AP in Airwave, choose Replace Hardware, and select the new AP replacing it.
You should be able to do this "in bulk" by viewing the AP device folder, click the "modify devices" button and select a few different APs, then under "device actions" you can choose Replace Hardware. Then select which AP replaces you older, down AP.
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