Delta Air Lines Doubles Down In New York As Competition Grows

Delta Air Lines is doubling down in New York City. The airline is ramping up capacity and will serve nearly 100 domestic and international destinations this July. The airline is positioning itself as offering more flights to and from New York City than any other airline this summer as the competition heats up in the market.

Delta Airbus A330-900neo
Delta Air Lines intends to remain a major force in New York City. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Delta doubles down in New York City

New York City is opening up again. A year after the city shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the recovery is starting to begin in earnest. Delta is positioning itself to operate over 300 daily departures from its hubs at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA). This includes flights operated on regional jets.

Recently, the airline has brought back more domestic and international flights. In the US, from JFK, Delta reinstated service to Charlotte, Dallas, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Washington-Dulles. On the international front, Delta has resumed flights to Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport (KEF) in Reykjavik. Long-haul flights to Anchorage are also slated to begin.

Delta at JFK
Delta Air Lines is coming back at New York-JFK. Photo: Getty Images

International flights coming back to JFK. Starting on May 28th, flights to Athens International Airport (ATH) will be back on the schedule. Daily flights to Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) and thrice-weekly flights to Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) are open for leisure travelers under the COVID-tested protocols. Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) flights will start on July 2nd.

Lastly, JFK is getting a brand new route to Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) in Croatia. This will also start on July 2nd. More European flights are likely to come back or expand as the continent continues to open up.

Delta Connection
Some of Delta’s flights are onboard regional jets under the Delta Connection banner. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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LaGuardia gets some love

The airport geared toward short-haul flying, LaGuardia, is also getting new and resuming routes. Services to Louisville and Milwaukee have resumed. The airline is growing to Greensboro, Greenville, Omaha, and Birmingham from LaGuardia, with new twice-daily flights to Toronto scheduled to start from August and grow assuming travel restrictions come down.

Chuck Imhof, VP of Sales, East, stated the following on Delta’s planned New York ramp-up:

“After a very difficult year, New Yorkers are looking to make up for lost time and more eager than ever to reconnect with friends and family. And Delta couldn’t be more ready to welcome back customers just in time for summer travel.

“We have been working hard to elevate all aspects of the travel experience, including maintaining rigorous cleaning standards, introducing new onboard snack and beverage options, and working quickly on improved airport facilities.

“Providing our customers with a safe and seamless journey every step of the way will remain Delta’s top priority.” 

Delta LGA Getty
Delta did not want to give up slots in exchange for a joint venture at LaGuardia, highlighting the airport’s importance in Delta’s network. Photo: Getty Images

New York is getting competitive

The big three US airlines all call New York a hub. United Airlines mainly uses Newark, over in New Jersey but still in the New York City area, as its New York City hub, though United has come back to New York-JFK with a splash. JetBlue, American, and Delta call New York-JFK a hub. Lastly, at LaGuardia, Delta and American dominate.

American Airlines and JetBlue have a new Northeastern Alliance. Mainly covering JFK and LaGuardia, American Airlines is using its partnership with JetBlue to grow its own long-haul portfolio out of New York, including new flights to Greece, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile, among others.

Delta LaGuardia
Delta has also been investing in improving the terminal experience at both LaGuardia and JFK. Photo: Delta Air Lines

JetBlue was already Delta’s largest competitor at New York-JFK. With American Airlines as a partner, JetBlue can start to put up a fight for Delta’s long-haul international customers who choose Delta over JetBlue for their business or leisure travel overseas. Not to mention, JetBlue only on Wednesday announced its initial flights and schedules to London, marking its first transatlantic flights.

As JetBlue grows, as United adds new destinations out of Newark, and as American mounts a comeback in the market, Delta Air Lines shows it is not willing to back down from the market.

JetBlue Airways Airbus A320
JetBlue is Delta’s largest competitor at JFK. Photo: Getty Images

Delta has been making some quiet moves to improve its position in New York City. Alongside the terminal renovations, Delta has focused on improving the products it offers out of the airport. As the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and MD-90 fleet were being drawn down, Delta first sought to remove those jets from service in New York, back when American was still trying to figure out its position in New York.

As the competition started to build up, Delta started to make other moves. This included investing in a cabin retrofit for the Boeing 767-400ERs to service London after JetBlue first announced it would enter the market. Those jets have recently been used on flights between New York and Los Angeles. Speaking of that transcontinental route, Delta also, just a few years ago, began to standardize the product offering on this route to all-Boeing 767-300ER service.

Delta Getty
Delta and American are fierce competitors across the US. Photo: Getty Images

Recently, Delta started to bring an entirely new product into the market. The Delta One Suites are operating select routes out of New York City on Airbus A330neo aircraft. The A330neo is slated to operate flights to Amsterdam and Tel Aviv this summer. As Delta takes more Airbus A330neos and retires more Boeing 767-300ERs, expect this jet to fly more out of New York.

Are you glad that Delta is putting up a fight in New York City? Let us know in the comments!