Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) today announced a series of schedule enhancements to strengthen its international network for summer 2010. The changes - which will expand service for customers in 17 cities - leverage Delta’s industry-leading joint venture with Air France-KLM, growing alliance relationship with Alaska Air Group and increased fleet flexibility gained from its merger with Northwest.
“No other airline has the alliance partners, fleet flexibility or network breadth to consistently deliver new routes for customers while at the same time being responsible in managing capacity in the face of a global economic recession,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s executive vice president - Network Planning and Revenue Management. “As America’s flag carrier to the world, Delta’s 2010 schedule will bring new nonstop service to dozens of communities around the globe, thanks to the strength of our worldwide alliances.”
Delta’s 2010 changes are part of the first fully consolidated schedule published following Delta’s merger with Northwest, allowing the airline to reallocate existing capacity to new routes. Delta also will maintain many of the international route reductions it announced in June in response to decreased global demand.
Delta’s new and expanded nonstop routes for summer 2010 will be focused in three regions: Trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic and Africa.
By June 2010, Delta will add new nonstop routes from its primary U.S.-to-Asia gateways in Detroit and Seattle and realign flights at its Tokyo-Narita hub to better match capacity to demand.
From Detroit, Delta will introduce new nonstop service to Seoul-Incheon and Hong Kong and expand service between Detroit and Shanghai. Delta has continued to position Detroit as a major gateway to Asia thanks to its strategic geographic position for millions of customers who travel between the U.S. East Coast and Asia. Detroit offers customers 477 peak-day departures to more than 130 nonstop destinations.
At Seattle, Delta’s Asian expansion is powered by its partnership with Alaska Air Group. New nonstop flights from Seattle to Beijing and Osaka will be timed for convenient connections with Delta and Alaska’s 267 combined daily departures to 64 destinations from Seattle/Tacoma, and will complement Delta’s existing daily service to Tokyo-Narita. Delta and Alaska offer customers reciprocal codeshare, lounge and frequent flyer benefits to make it easier to connect between the airlines’ domestic and international networks at Seattle.
At Tokyo-Narita Delta will resume seasonal nonstop service between Tokyo and Salt Lake City (operating five times weekly); resume three weekly summer flights between Tokyo and Atlanta to complement daily year-round service; expand capacity between Tokyo and New York-JFK with the upgrade of Boeing 777-200 to 747-400 aircraft; and expand service between Tokyo and Los Angeles with four additional weekly 777-200 flights to complement daily year-round service. With these changes, Delta will offer Narita customers more than 25 daily departures to more than 20 nonstop destinations.
“Delta is committed to providing customers with convenient options between the most popular business and leisure destinations across Asia and our global network, connecting Asia to more points in the U.S. and beyond than any U.S. carrier,” Hauenstein said. “Since Delta’s first flight to Asia in 1987, we have become the region’s premier U.S. airline through organic growth and our merger with Northwest. Delta’s tailored customer experience on our more than 500 weekly flights throughout Asia includes regional foods and in-flight service representatives who provide language translations.”
Trans-Atlantic Joint Venture
By June 2010, the Delta-Air France-KLM joint venture will reintroduce seasonal service on more than a dozen trans-Atlantic routes and will launch new nonstop service between New York-JFK and Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden. Seasonal reintroductions include additional daily flights between joint venture hubs and added service to meet seasonal demand on routes such as Atlanta to Athens; Atlanta to Venice; New York-JFK to Zurich; and Detroit to Rome. (A complete list of Delta’s summer 2010 seasonal service is available at http://news.delta.com/index.php?DB=mr4enh_delta&s=11.)
Delta’s new service between JFK and Copenhagen will be the only nonstop flight between the two cities, filling a gap to the largest travel market from JFK without nonstop service. Stockholm, which is among the largest travel markets to and from New York, also will benefit from its only nonstop service to JFK.
In total, the Delta-Air France-KLM joint venture will offer the industry’s leading trans-Atlantic flight schedule for summer 2010 with approximately 25 percent of the total trans-Atlantic market.
“By integrating our trans-Atlantic operations, Air France, KLM and Delta give passengers what they wish: More choice, more frequencies, more convenient flight schedules and better customer services. By optimizing the use of our pooled resources, this joint venture helps us weather the current economic situation and protect our product offering,” said Bruno Matheu, executive vice president - Marketing, Revenue Management and Network, Air France-KLM.
Since beginning a dramatic restructuring of its international network in 2005, Delta has grown from approximately 45 daily round-trip U.S. to Europe flights in summer 2005 to more than 100 daily flights scheduled by the Delta-Air France-KLM joint venture for summer 2010. Each new route capitalizes on the strength of the joint venture by allowing the three airlines to share costs and revenues and more effectively market the service to a broader base of customers.
Building on its position as the only U.S. carrier operating flights to Africa, Delta will continue its expansion into fast-growing African markets for summer 2010. The airline will complement existing JFK-Accra, Ghana service with new nonstop 767-300 flights from Atlanta, and will replace existing one-stop Boeing 757-200 service between Abuja, Nigeria and JFK with nonstop flights operated with Boeing 767-300 aircraft.
Delta intends to serve as many as 10 African destinations from the United States next summer, including flights to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Monrovia, Liberia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Luanda, Angola, each of which are pending U.S. and foreign government approvals. Delta has aircraft ready to serve each of these markets as soon as it receives the necessary approvals.
“Traffic between the United States and Africa is projected to grow more than 5 percent annually through 2027,” Hauenstein said. “With demand for travel to Africa spread across the United States, Delta is uniquely positioned to continue to collect this growing base of traffic through the world’s largest passenger hub in Atlanta, as well as via the top U.S. market in New York.”
Delta’s African expansion trims several hours off average travel times between the U.S. and Africa, a significant benefit for customers.
Customers on the new flights will have the opportunity to experience Delta’s award-winning BusinessElite service, including innovative food offerings from celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein and original wine selections chosen by Delta’s Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson. BusinessElite also features on-demand personal in-seat entertainment boasting more than 20 first-run and popular classic movies, a variety of TV programs, thousands of music titles and a suite of video games.
Routes operated with Delta’s new Boeing 777-200LR aircraft offer BusinessElite customers a fully flat, six-foot, three-inch bed in a one-two-one configuration, which provides every customer with direct aisle access. With next summer’s schedule, Delta’s fleet of 777-200LR aircraft will be operated on its longest flights, including Atlanta to Dubai; Atlanta to Tel Aviv; Atlanta to Johannesburg; Los Angeles to Tokyo-Narita; Los Angeles to Sydney; and Detroit to Hong Kong. Summer 2010 will mark the first time the 777-200LR has flown in scheduled service from Tokyo-Narita with service to Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Detailed information on Delta’s in-flight products and services, as well as additional fleet information, is available at delta.com. Fares and schedules for the new flights also are available online beginning today. The airline’s expanding global network also benefits Delta Cargo customers, opening up more opportunities to ship directly to more markets than any carrier in the world. More information is available at deltacargo.com.