Mega Hub: Inside Delta’s Atlanta Operations This Month

Delta has 199 routes and nearly 45,000 round-trip flights from Atlanta in September. While more business-focus destinations reenter the most-served list, we see that Orlando still has the most capacity. The A321 has the most seats from Atlanta, while the A330neo has the fewest.

Delta A330neo
Delta and its regional partners will use 17 types from Atlanta this September – The A321 has the most seats, followed by the B737-900, B757-200, B717, and A320, while the A330-900 (see here) has the fewest flights with a small handful of services to Seattle. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Orlando is still number-one from Atlanta

Delta, the USA’s second-largest airline this year, has 199 routes from Atlanta this September, including 52 international. With approximately 44,773 services in all, it has more than 1,400 take-offs and arrivals every day, data from OAG shows. And with a 78% share of flights in September, Atlanta is, as you would expect, very much a Delta fortress hub.

With 150,839 seats this month, the 404-mile service to Orlando remains the most-served from Atlanta, as shown in the following figure. No surprise there. Indeed, Florida as a whole has 1,080,821 seats, OAG indicates, making it Delta’s top state from Atlanta. Delta serves 16 airports, including three airports that have grown spectacularly this summer.

Delta's top-15 routes from Atlanta
The top-15 routes now look more like they did before COVID struck, with the likes of Boston, New York LaGuardia, and Washington National – all of which fell out the list – now back. Source of data: OAG.

The return of particular destinations

As we know, coronavirus resulted in a much greater focus on leisure travel as business demand plummeted. Many states, including Florida, saw more capacity than previously, sometimes wildly for smaller places like Montana.

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That has now changed somewhat, with Delta’s Atlanta-Florida operation this September at 86% of what it had in 2019, lower than in previous months. Meanwhile, more business-focused destinations have reentered the most-served list. This chimes with a previous finding that Chicago O’Hare to New York LaGuardia is the USA’s seventh-largest domestic market this month when it wasn’t even in the top-15 two months earlier.

Boeing 767-300ER
The B767-300ER remains important, with 19 routes from Atlanta. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Honolulu is the longest domestic route

At 4,502 miles, Delta’s Honolulu route is the longest domestic service from the Georgia hub. This is operated once-daily using 293-seat A330-300s. It leaves Atlanta at 11:35, arrives at 15:01 local time, departs at 16:35, and arrives back the next morning at 07:12.

Anchorage (3,417 miles away) is Delta’s second-longest domestic service. Relaunched in 2013, it is operated once-daily by (mainly 226-seat) B767-300ERs until September 19th. Thereafter, it operates three-weekly (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and switches to the B767-400ER in October.

Delta's Atlanta network in September 2021
Delta has 52 international routes this September. Cancun leads, as you would expect. Image: OAG Mapper.

A proper hub with high frequency

With a proper hub comes high frequency, and Atlanta is no exception. Delta’s domestic routes have an average of four daily departures from the hub, a significant amount. While LaGuardia features fifth for seats (see the figure above), it is third for flights.

This reflects (slightly) fewer seats per flight than other destinations, helping to increase frequencies. For example, while Detroit, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles average about 203 seats per trip, it is ‘only’ 189 for LaGuardia. Still, the New York airport is primarily served by the A321, Atlanta’s most-used aircraft, although also the A320.

Delta A321
Las Vegas is Delta’s 13th-largest market from Atlanta. Photo: Tomás Del Coro via flickr.

Just one round-trip in September

Bangor, Kalispell, Missoula, and St. Kitts each have just one remaining round-trip, mainly on Saturday, September 4th, as the summer ends for them. Bangor, Maine, restarted this year after an absence of 13 years.

Will you be flying through Atlanta this summer? Comment below!