Delta Air Lines announced yesterday in a statement its plans to resume transatlantic flights. Starting on the 21st of May, the airline will begin thrice-weekly services between Atlanta and Frankfurt as well as Detroit and London. Although the flights will mainly cater to the increased cargo demand, a few seats will also be available for customer travel.
Delta Air Lines has, like many other airlines, taken the brunt of the coronavirus impact. It has been forced to consolidate its services in the United States and cut a significant portion of all its international routes. However, the revival of international travel might be a positive sign for the airline.
Delta has, for a long time, been one of the leading US-based carriers. With one of the largest fleets in the world, the airline operated to around 300 destinations worldwide. However, the onset of coronavirus pandemic has caused a major setback to its plans and expansion. As a result of this, Delta has been forced to make some tough decisions.
The Atlanta-based airline had earlier said that it had been losing around $50 million a day because of grounded aircraft and an inactive workforce. Consequently, it announced yesterday that it would be retiring its entire fleet of B777s by the end of this year.
This will help the airline in adapting to the changed market demand post-coronavirus. Although the B777’s have been an integral part of its long-haul flights, the airline has a fleet of more fuel-efficient A350’s to replace these services.
Moreover, the airline had predicted that international passenger demand would not revive to the pre-existing level for at least the next few years. But on the positive side, the airline industry has seen a positive trend in demand for air cargo across the globe.
Clear skies ahead
Shawn Cole, Vice President of Delta cargo, has said in a statement,
“Keeping global supply chains open is more important now than ever and these new services will enable suppliers to meet the needs of their customers. We’re receiving daily requests for shipments of medical supplies as well as goods that keep businesses in operation.”
Flights from Chicago to London via Detroit will be operated on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday by a B767-300. The aircraft will have a cargo capacity of 26 tons. Additionally, flights from Atlanta to Frankfurt will be operated on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday by an A330-300 with 31 tons of capacity.
Other than European flights, Delta will also add cargo-only services between New York and Mumbai, which will complement its existing cargo routes to Asia. Since last week, the airline has offered multiple daily services to Shanghai and Seoul from its Atlanta and Los Angeles hubs.
As the demand for cargo keeps increasing, we might be able to see a further expansion in Delta’s network in the coming days. This may be the start of a long road to recovery for the US-based airline.
Do you think Delta will be able to sustain its business? Let us know in the comments.