Delta Air Lines plans to eliminate all 50-seat regional jet flying under growth plans for its hub at Salt Lake City International airport, says president Ed Bastian.
The Atlanta-based SkyTeam alliance carrier anticipates seat capacity rising 8% and departures increasing 1% to 2% by 2017, in a presentation he made to the Salt Lake City airport board on 15 January. Positive economic trends from technology companies expanding in Utah will drive the growth, he explains.
Delta plans to replace all regional aircraft with 50 seats or less with 76-seat regional jets or larger mainline aircraft, says Bastian.
Bismarck (North Dakota), Milwaukee, Minot and Raleigh/Durham are slated for new service from Salt Lake City on the airline in the next five years, he adds. Most of its existing destinations will also see increased capacity.
Delta flew 8.68 million seats from Salt Lake City in 2013, Flightglobal/Innovata data shows. Seat capacity was down 2.2% during 2013 and down 7.1% since 2010.
An 8% increase in seat capacity would equal a roughly 694,058 increase in seats on Delta for a total of 9.37 million seats annually in five years, based on the 2013 numbers.
Delta had 88,699 departures from Salt Lake City in 2013, according to Flightglobal/Innovata. This was down 0.8% during 2013 and down 18.4% since 2010.
A 2% increase in departures equates to about 1,774 new flights on Delta for a total of 90,473 annually by 2017, based on the 2013 numbers.
Bastian says that he is “impressed” by the Salt Lake City airport’s redevelopment plans, which call for a new terminal and south concourse by 2019. He recommended that the airport maintain a competitive cost structure, collaborate with airlines and stakeholders often, and adopt a phased flexible plan for the project.
The airport plans to complete schematic designs and begin the comment period on the new terminal and concourse in the first quarter, according to a presentation by Mike Williams, terminal redevelopment programme director at the Salt Lake City airport, to the board. The design process is scheduled to run through 2015 with construction beginning in 2016.
The first phase of the redevelopment programme will replace the existing terminals 1 and 2, as well as concourses A and E, as well as part of B.
Salt Lake City airport plans to begin construction on a new rental car services facility, which is part of the redevelopment programme, this year, according to Williams’ presentation.