Delta Air Lines Wants To Codeshare with airBaltic

In an interesting new airline partnership, Delta Air Lines and airBaltic have applied with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for approval for a codeshare relationship. The filing will have Delta place its code on some of airBaltic’s flights.

airBaltic A220
airBaltic and Delta have filed with the DOT to codeshare on routes in Europe. Photo: airBaltic

Delta and airBaltic apply to codeshare

Delta Air Lines has applied with the US government to place its “DL” code on select airBaltic flights. The full list of flights is as follows:

  1. Amsterdam (AMS) – Riga (RIX)
  2. Amsterdam (AMS) – Vilnius (VNO)
  3. Amsterdam (AMS) – Tallinn (TLL)
  4. Barcelona (BCN) – Riga (RIX)
  5. Brussels (BRU) – Riga (RIX)
  6. Brussels (BRU) – Tallinn (TLL)
  7. Copenhagen (CPH) – Riga (RIX)
  8. Copenhagen (CPH) – Tallinn (TLL)
  9. Dublin (DUB) – Riga (RIX)
  10. Dusseldorf (DUS) – Riga (RIX)
  11. Edinburgh (EDI) –  Riga (RIX)
  12. Frankfurt (FRA) – Riga (RIX)
  13. Madrid (MAD) – Riga (RIX)
  14. Munich (MUC) – Riga (RIX)
  15. Munich (MUC) – Tallinn (TLL)
  16. Munich (MUC) – Vilnius (VNO)
  17. Milan (MXP) – Riga (RIX)
  18. Nice (NCE) – Riga (RIX)
  19. Paris (CDG) – Riga (RIX)
  20. Paris (CDG) – Vilnius (VNO)
  21. Paris (CDG) – Tallinn (TLL)
  22. Prague (PRG) – Riga (RIX)
  23. Stuttgart (STR) – Riga (RIX)
  24. Zurich (ZRH) – Riga (RIX)
Delta airbaltic
The routes Delta and airBaltic would like to codeshare on. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper.

Delta and airBaltic submitted the application to codeshare last week. airBaltic lists Delta as an interline partner. Interlining is less of a partnership compared to a codeshare.

Delta provided Simple Flying with the following comment:

“Delta Air Lines has signed a codeshare agreement with airBaltic which has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation for approval, as is required for all new airline agreements.  When approved, the two airlines will review opportunities for elite reciprocal loyalty benefits for members traveling with either airline.”

The routes for codesharing

The codeshares are also ripe for targeting connecting flights. Amsterdam (AMS) and Paris (CDG) are European hubs for Delta. It is a no-brainer for Delta to turn to codeshares out of those cities. Given the sheer number of flights that Delta operates from both of those airports, Delta can offer a relatively significant number of connections onto airBaltic’s flights.

airBaltic A220 interior
airBaltic is an all-A220 carrier, which is also a type that Delta flies. Photo: airBaltic

Most of the cities covering the codeshare have Delta service scheduled through the end of the year. The ones that do not are Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Prague, Riga, Tallinn, and Vilnius.

The common thread with the three non-Baltic cities is that Delta has served them in the past. In fact, Dusseldorf was on Delta’s flight schedules up until the crisis hit. Prague and Copenhagen have seen seasonal summer service in the past.

It is not unbelievable to consider that Delta may come back to those three cities. Come summer 2022, using a Boeing 767 or 757 out of New York-JFK, Delta could fly to all three cities or even service some out of its largest hub in Atlanta.

When Americans think about going on vacation, most do not think about heading to the Baltics. Nevertheless, Delta can still look to get a leg-up on those travelers with a broader partnership with airBaltic.

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Delta already serves a majority of the non-Baltic cities the codeshare covers. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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Why a codeshare would make sense

Delta has, historically, been weak in the Baltic states. Even its closest European partners, Air France and KLM do not fly to the region. To get passengers to that part of Europe, Delta relies on its interlining with airBaltic.

The initial codeshare could also be expanded upon in the future. The first routes will see Delta place its code on airBaltic flights. In the future, the two airlines could expand that codeshare to put airBaltic’s code on Delta’s flights from Europe to the United States, giving airBaltic greater reach to the United States with one-stop itineraries from the Baltic states.

The codeshare could give airBaltic added reach for customers flying to and from the US. Photo: airBaltic

airBaltic is a non-aligned carrier. It is not part of an alliance, and Delta has not been wedded to its SkyTeam membership, despite being a founding partner.

Instead, Delta has gone around the world and built up partnerships of its own accord. This includes setting up partnerships with LATAM, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Cape Air, and WestJet.

With airBaltic, Delta will be able to shore up its position in the Baltic without needing to fly its own metal to those destinations. Plus, the added connections can help Delta keep some of its planes full when flying to other destinations. For airBaltic, the additional customers can help the airline better compete in Europe.

Delta A330-900neo
Delta Air Lines could use this codeshare and its joint ventures with Air France, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic to expand in Europe. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Once a codeshare goes into effect, Delta and airBaltic may choose to provide elite reciprocal benefits, which could drive even more lucrative customers over to Delta or airBaltic. As the airline industry comes out of the crisis, partnerships like these will continue to be critical for both airlines.

What do you think about the proposed Delta-airBaltic codeshare? Let us know in the comments!