By Benjamin Pham
Delta Prepares for Fall Travel, Expects Rapid Growth in Northeast
Economic effects of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that crippled the airline industry throughout 2020 and into 2020 continue to loom large for the global travel industry, which remains a significant issue for airlines, specifically when several of the world’s major carriers are pushing for a rapid recovery and a restoration of normalcy through an increase of flight capacities and routes.
The fall holiday travel season — another time period during the year when travel demand typically is at a peak — is right around the corner, and many major carriers are poised to use the surge in demand as an opportunity to maximize revenue for a swift recovery, even as they continue to push down costs, a holdover from the belt-tightening many were forced to undergo last year. For Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, this means injecting thousands of seats into the New York market to rebuild its route network and start new routes.
The SkyTeam carrier plans to put New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and nearby LaGuardia Airport in the spotlight this fall as it prepares to add over 100 daily flights from the region. Ultimately, for the holiday travel season, Delta is scheduled to operate over 400 flights from the market and has proposed to rebuild its route network to accommodate routes to the region’s most popular, key domestic destinations.
“We’re adding 25% more capacity this fall to meet the significant demand for business and international travel going into next year,” Joe Esposito, Delta’s Senior Vice President of Network Planning, said in a statement. “We continue to provide more choice and convenience while rebuilding our global connectivity and delivering what Delta does best – putting our customers first with exceptional, reliable service and a premium travel experience.”
Recently, the airline focused heavily on providing more flights to Raleigh, N.C.; Boston; Washington and Miami. In addition, Chicago, Dallas and Houston join the list of destinations where Delta expanded service, in favor of shifting resources and staff to cities that are classified as critical business markets.
In Delta’s long-haul network, the carrier expects to operate 15 daily transatlantic flights to 13 cities while handling 20 daily flights to 18 cities in Mexico, the Caribbean and South America.
Delta is not the only carrier that has focused on holding on to its network in the Northeast corridor. American Airlines and JetBlue are keen on fortifying and strengthening their route connectivity within their partnership known as the Northeast Alliance. The Atlanta-based carrier also plans to operate and position its new Airbus A321neos out of the Northeast.
However, in response to the Northeast Alliance, Delta is challenging the two carriers, with its new routes from Boston’s Logan International Airport. New domestic flights to Baltimore, Denver and San Diego will kick off next summer, which will eventually play a large role in complementing the airline’s presence out of New York City.
“We’ve strengthened our Boston hub as demand has accelerated, adding about 3,800 more seats a day by next summer than our last peak in 2019. Boston is a fast-growing market with a booming economy, and we’re committed to offering customers significant choice and better convenience when making their travel plans, in addition to Delta’s superior products and experience,” Esposito said, a sentiment accurately portrayed by the airline strategic decision to strengthen Boston and operate more efficient aircraft on the new routes.
New long-haul service from Boston will begin next summer as well, with Delta scheduled to fly to Athens, Greece and Tel-Aviv, Israel. All three carriers are vying to firmly hold to the Northeast and capture as much of the passenger demand.
Evidently, Delta has chosen to focus on its network in the Northeast U.S. as part of its process towards recovery from the effects of the ongoing dilemma. There is no doubt that with the upcoming holiday travel season, passengers will be eager to travel, and Delta responded with increased connectivity. However, the carrier will need to overcome the impending obstacles from American and JetBlue to secure as much of the traveling public.