Delta Air Lines will expand its international schedule with new and expanded service to cities in Asia and Europe for spring and summer 2011, continuing its focus on markets with high demand for business travel.
Delta said its most significant expansion will be in Asia, where Delta has recently seen revenue growth of more than 50 percent. Delta also said it has applied with the U.S. Department of Transportation to begin new routes to Beijing and Guangzhou, and plans expanded service to Shanghai and Manila.
"International business travel demand is the underpinning of the global economic recovery," said Glen Hauenstein, Delta's executive vice president – Network Planning, Revenue Management and Marketing. "With double-digit revenue growth in most every international business market over the last year, our 2011 schedule reflects a measured response to business customers' desire for increased access to the world's most important business capitals. New flights to China, London's Heathrow Airport and increased flights to our international alliance partners' gateways at Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam Schiphol and Guangzhou are cornerstones of our international plan for 2011."
Delta also applied with the U.S. Department of Transportation for permission to begin new nonstop service between its Detroit hub and Beijing, operated five times weekly. The proposed service will be Delta's third nonstop route between Detroit and China, complementing existing year-round service to Shanghai and Hong Kong, expanding Delta's Asian gateway in Detroit.
From its hub in Atlanta, Delta will resume nonstop service to Shanghai on a twice-weekly basis. The service, which was first launched in 2008, was temporarily suspended in 2009 as the global economic downturn depressed demand for international travel. With travel rebounding in Asia, Delta has decided to reactivate the Atlanta-Shanghai route on a reduced schedule for 2011, with future expansion possible based on performance.
Delta today also submitted an application with the Department of Transportation to begin new nonstop service between its hub at Tokyo-Narita and Guangzhou, China, which would create convenient connecting service for customers traveling between the U.S. and China's third-largest city, which is a major commercial and manufacturing center. If approved, the service would reconnect two key SkyTeam hubs – Delta's at Tokyo-Narita and China Southern's at Guangzhou – after this route was suspended in 2009 amid the global economic downturn.
Service also will be expanded for the peak travel season between Narita and Manila, Philippines, which is one of Asia's leading travel markets. Delta will add one new Boeing 757-200 flight between April 5 and July 15 to complement its daily year-round Boeing 747-400 service between the two cities.
"Delta is strongly positioned for future Asian growth thanks to our industry-leading alliances in the region," Hauenstein said. "During 2011, SkyTeam will add three additional partners to cement its No. 1 position in Greater China, providing us an even stronger platform to invest in new flights to points across the Pacific region."
China Southern is currently SkyTeam's largest member in China. Korean Air is the largest member in Asia. China Eastern, Shanghai Airlines and China Airlines are each slated to join the alliance by 2012, Delta said.
Delta's growth across the Atlantic in 2011 will be focused at London's Heathrow Airport where it recently received new slot authorities from the U.S. and E.U. governments; in Iceland where it will introduce its first-ever service to Reykjavik; at its joint venture hubs with Air France-KLM in Paris and Amsterdam where it will expand service to four U.S. cities; and in Africa where it is adding new flights to Angola.
At London-Heathrow, Delta will add two daily flights to Boston and one daily flight to Miami effective March 26, complementing existing nonstop service to New York-JFK, Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
New service between New York-JFK and Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik, which begins June 2, 2011, is part of Delta's ongoing investment in the New York market, adding to the more than 40 new destinations introduced from LaGuardia and JFK combined in the last four years.
Reykjavik will become the 38th international destination flown from Delta's JFK hub, strengthening its position as the leading global carrier at JFK. With the summer 2011 schedule, Delta expects to offer nearly twice as many international destinations from JFK as its next largest competitor.
Delta also will expand its flight between Pittsburgh and Paris to daily service for the summer of 2011, up from five days per week in 2010; and add additional daily flights between Boston and Paris, New York-JFK and Paris, and Seattle and Amsterdam. Each of the new routes between the U.S. and Europe will be operated within the scope of Delta's trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia.
In addition to its 2011 European growth, Delta will be adding additional Africa service from Atlanta when it begins flights between Atlanta and Luanda, Angola, with an intermediate stop in Dakar, Senegal, on Jan. 20 as previously announced. Luanda will become Delta's eighth African destination, further expanding Delta's position as the leading U.S. airline to the continent.
The new and expanded international service will be operated with a mix of aircraft that reflect Delta's investment of $2 billion in enhanced airport facilities and global products and services through 2013. When complete, Delta will offer full flat-bed seats on more than 100 trans-oceanic aircraft, including all Boeing 777s, 767s and 747s, and will feature personal, in-seat entertainment for both BusinessElite and Economy class customers on all widebody flights.