Delta is slowly ramping up its flight schedule as it attempts to navigate the dismal business climate created by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Delta Air Lines Inc. will add nearly 1,000 flights to its system-wide schedule in July, the Atlanta-based carrier announced Tuesday. Delta is focusing its efforts on summer destinations, such as Florida and certain West Coast cities, and “major business markets.”
In North America, Delta is adding more non-stop flights from major hubs including Atlanta, Detroit, Minnesota and Salt Lake City. The carrier is boosting transcontinental flights for business travelers. Non-essential travel guidelines for travel between the United States and Canada remain in place through the end of July, leaving Delta with limited service to Canadian locales such as Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Winnipeg.
With borders opening in Latin America and demand increasing, Delta “will add a significant amount of capacity back into the Latin region.” Vacation hotspots that include Cancun, Mexico; Los Cabos, Mexico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, will receive the bulk of the service. South American connectivity will resume with service between Atlanta and Sao Paolo, Brazil, and previously suspended Central American routes to destinations in Aruba, St. Maarten and Costa Rica will resume as well.
For transatlantic summer travelers, Delta is planning to resume its four-times-weekly routes between New York-JFK and Lisbon, Portugal, and JFK and Athens, Greece. Four-times-weekly service from Boston to Amsterdam, daily service from Seattle to Amsterdam and service from Detroit to Paris-Charles De Gaulle also are on the docket. These plans are pending a lift on border restrictions in the relevant countries.
Pending U.S. government approval, Delta intends to resume flights to Africa with service from New York-JFK to Accra, Ghana, and from Atlanta to Lagos, Nigeria.
Delta’s operations in the Asia-Pacific will remain limited, but routes are increasing. Weekly service from Los Angeles to Sydney is scheduled to resume, as is weekly service from Atlanta to Seoul-Incheon (Delta already is flying to Seoul-Incheon from Detroit and Seattle).
Delta plans to return to the China market with weekly service to Shanghai, via Incheon, from both Detroit and Seattle. This is pending government approval.
Delta’s July schedule is roughly 70% smaller compared to the same time one year ago. However, that percentage is a step in the right direction for the carrier. Delta cut its schedule by as much as 85% at the height of the pandemic this spring.
Demand for flights from U.S. airports is beginning to return, though it is nowhere near pre-pandemic norms. On Monday, June 15, 534,528 travelers went through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, a notable increase from the depths of the pandemic when just 90,510 travelers with through TSA checkpoints on April 12. On June 15, 2019, TSA checked 2,699,580 air travelers.