Delta Manages 90% Load Factor In July

Delta Airlines recently released its operational performance for July 2019. For this month, the airline did rather well, not only increasing its available seat miles but lodging an impressive 90% load factor too.

Delta A350
Delta reported a 90% load factor on flights in July 2019. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Delta’s operational results

Delta’s load factor of 90% represents an increase to last year’s 88.6% during the same period. Such a high load factor is a testament to the carrier’s operational success, meaning that a large majority of Delta’s flights operated at near capacity. From an economic standpoint, it is likely that Delta’s finances for July will also be strong, as more passengers means more revenue.

Delta lodged a 90% load factor in July 2019. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Broken down by region, Delta’s domestic load factor hit 90.8% in July. Internationally, the load factors were 90.1% on flights to Latin America, 88.8% on transatlantic flights, and 87.6% on flights to the Pacific.

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What does this mean for passengers?

Delta has done well when it comes to keeping their planes filled. More importantly, Delta has done well in keeping the front of their planes filled. Airlines make the most money in premium cabins. Unfortunately, for Skymiles Medallion members sitting in the back, higher load factors at the front of the plane generally mean fewer upgrades.

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But, a 90% load factor does not mean that all elite members received no upgrades. With a fleet as large as Delta’s, there are plenty of flights which operated at near capacity. But also, there were many flights with open seats that allowed for upgrades and last-minute standbys.

A 90% load factor with Delta’s large operations is impressive. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Other results

It is interesting to note that Delta’s available seat miles also grew by 3.5% compared to July of 2018. This means that Delta did grow in terms of capacity and inaugurating new routes. So, this means that, even with additional capacity, Delta was able to keep its planes quite full.

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However, there was one market where Delta did not grow, and that is Latin America. In this region, Delta reduced their available seat miles by 6% compared to last year, something that is a clear trend with other airlines too. Despite reducing capacity, Delta’s load factor on routes to Latin America did not grow substantially either over the year or within the month of July.

Delta reduced some capacity to Latin America. Photo: Delta Air Lines

New planes

Delta also added new planes between July 2018 and July 2019. These include the gamechanger A220, which has allowed Delta to replace regional jet, Delta Connection service with more comfortable mainline aircraft. In addition, Delta also took delivery of their last Boeing 737-900ER. And, in July 2019, Delta became the first American operator of the Airbus A330-900neo!

50 years of Airbus - a reflection
Delta introduced the Airbus A220 this year. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Overall

Carrying over 19 million passengers in July, Delta cemented their presence as one of the largest carriers in the world. Moreover, Delta also notched an impressive 90% load factor while also growing system capacity. This indicates a growing appetite for air travel in the United States.

Despite hitting a load factor of 90% in the busy July months, Delta’s year-to-date load factor is at 86.3%, up from 85.5% in the previous year’s period. Still, this is a healthy number that many other airlines would be envious of.

What do you make of Delta’s results? Let us know in the comments!

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Nigel

Looking at that photo of the packed narrowbody…what’s the difference from Ryanair, except for the colour scheme (and the price)? 😉
Note how many shoulders/arms are extending over the armrests into the aisle.