Delta outlines plans for transatlantic 757s

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Delta Air Lines has unveiled route deployment plans for its newly acquired fleet of transatlantic Boeing 757-200s.

Delta executive vice-president network, revenue management and alliances Glen Hauenstein says the carrier will use the 757s on at least 12 transatlantic routes starting in its summer 2008 schedule. The 757s will be used to launch four new routes and replace 767-300s on eight existing routes.

The new 757 routes are New York JFK to Edinburgh, Lyon, Malaga and Paris Orly. Delta announced earlier today it was resuming service to Lyon and launching service to Orly but did not specify an aircraft type. JFK-Edinburgh and JFK-Malaga were announced late last month but again at the time Delta did not specify which aircraft type it would use on the two new routes.

Delta officials say 757s will also be used on existing services from its JFK hub to Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Manchester, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Shannon and from its Atlanta hub to Edinburgh and Shannon. All these services are now flown with 767-300s.

Hauenstein says these 767-300s will be re-deployed to support new Delta routes including Atlanta-Stockholm, JFK-Dakar-Nairobi, JFK-Dakar-Cape Town, JFK-Cairo, JFK-Amman, JFK-Lagos and Salt Lake City-Paris. All these routes have been announced over the last several weeks as part of a major expansion of Delta’s transatlantic operation.

Delta now serves 35 transatlantic destinations, including Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. Hauenstein says this will expand to 45 by next summer with the addition of Amman, Cairo, Cape Town, Lagos, London Heathrow, Lyon, Paris Orly, Malaga, Nairobi and Stockholm.

Delta last year announced plans to lease 13 ex-American 757s to support further expansion of its transatlantic operation in 2008. The carrier, which now only uses 757s on domestic routes, earlier this year said a total of 15 757s including the 13 newly acquired aircraft would be used for transatlantic operations from summer 2008.

All 15 aircraft will be reconfigured over the next few months for transatlantic services. Delta will become the fifth US carrier operating 757s across the Atlantic, joining American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Northwest Airlines and US Airways.

Hauenstein says all 15 757s will be used to operate transatlantic services in the summer, including two or three spares, but a couple may be deployed on Caribbean routes during the winter months.

Over the last couple of years Delta also has been reconfiguring 767-400s for transatlantic operations. About half of Delta’s 767-400s are now operating over the Atlantic while the other half continue to operate domestic routes.

Delta vice-president of network planning Bob Cortelyou says by 2009 all 21 of Delta’s 767-400s will be reconfigured for transatlantic operations. He says the next 767-300 to 767-400 upgrade will be on the Atlanta-Dakar-Johannesburg route.

“There’s been a lot of unmet demand to South Africa from the United States,” Cortelyou says, adding: “I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the traffic out of Dakar itself.”

All of Delta’s 767-400s are now based in Atlanta but Cortelyou says some may move to JFK in 2008. He says the addition of 767-400 and now the 757 allows Delta to “right-size” its transatlantic fleet and launch more new routes.

“Three years ago Delta had rigid flexibility because all we had for the transatlantic basically was the 767-300,” he says.

Hauenstein says the new transatlantic joint venture agreement with Air France gives Delta further opportunities to expand its transatlantic operation. For example, he says Salt Lake City-Paris could not be supported without a joint venture and Delta may also launch Salt Lake City-London in the future.

“We’ll do one at a time [from Salt Lake]. We’ll look for a London option later,” Hauenstein said during an interview today in Paris following the signing of the joint venture agreement between Delta and Air France.