Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) today announced it will decrease its network capacity by approximately 12 percent in response to declining passenger demand due to military action in Iraq. The decrease affects domestic and international locations, but maintains the airline’s customer-focused schedule. The changes do not affect the airline’s Delta Connection partners.
“Military action in the Middle East and the resulting heightened security sensitivities have contributed to a steep decline in passenger demand within the airline industry,” said Subodh Karnik, senior vice president-Network and Revenue Management. “Delta isn’t an exception, and we are taking steps to reduce the impact of these challenges while keeping a strong schedule to provide our customers travel choices.”
The capacity reduction will impact Delta’s transatlantic schedule through suspension of Êflights in some cities, and the delay of some seasonal service in others. Delta also will indefinitely postpone the start of seasonal service between Boston and Rome, and daily service between Cincinnati and Rome. Both were set to start May 1. However, the airline will continue to serve most of the affected cities via SkyTeam and its codeshare partners. Delta’s Latin American, Caribbean and Pacific service are not affected.
Domestically, Delta will not reduce the number of destinations it serves, but will decrease the number of flights it offers on routes where there are currently multiple flights scheduled.
“We will continue to offer our customers a wide range of schedule options to all of Delta’s destinations,” said Karnik.
The transatlantic changes are effective April 6, while the domestic changes are effective March 27. ÊThe changes will be in effect at least through April. Some of the changes may be in effect longer if passenger demand for these routes remains weak as a result of the conflict in the Middle East.
“We hope to reinstate the entire schedule as soon as passenger demand returns,” said Karnik. “We will continue to monitor the situation and keep our customers informed of any changes.”