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Delta adds in Boston including Washington reconnection

Delta Air Lines will connect Boston Logan to four more cities in 2019, including large business markets like Chicago and Washington DC that are gaps in its network from the airport.

The SkyTeam Alliance carrier will add thrice-daily Cleveland service from 1 April; and five-times daily Chicago O'Hare, four-times daily Newark and six-times daily Washington National service from 9 September, it says today. The Chicago, Newark and Washington flights will be operated with 76-seat Embraer 175 aircraft.

"These new routes… means that beginning next fall Delta will offer service to the five top business markets requested by our corporate customers," says Glen Hauenstein, president of Atlanta-based Delta.

The latest additions in Boston continue Delta's heated battle in the market with JetBlue Airways, the largest at Logan who serves all four of the routes announced today. Other recent additions at the Massachusetts airport by Delta, including Charleston (South Carolina), Las Vegas and Philadelphia, are served by JetBlue.

Delta was the third largest carrier at Boston during the year-ending in August. For the period, it carried 17% of the airport's 36.9 million passengers, while American Airlines carried 18% and JetBlue nearly 29%, the latest US Department of Transportation data shows.

Delta will operate up to 152 peak day flights from Boston Logan with its latest additions. JetBlue operates up to 162 peak day flights from the airport, FlightGlobal Diio schedules data shows.

The mainline carrier engaged in a similar battle in Seattle against Alaska Airlines. Delta is now the second largest after its hometown competitor in the market, which serves as its primary Asia gateway on the West Coast.

United Airlines is also a target for Delta in Boston. The Star Alliance carrier will end its thrice-daily service to Boston from Cleveland, a former hub for the airline that it closed in 2014, on 30 March 2019, FlightGlobal schedules data shows. JetBlue has served the Boston-Cleveland route since 2015.

Chicago-based United operated 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft on the route, while Delta says it will operate dual-class regional jets.

Delta made a similar move on the Boston-Pittsburgh route after American disclosed it would exit the market, upping frequency to five-times daily.

Delta's return to the Boston-Washington National market comes six years after it dropped the route. It exited the market, which schedules show it had served since 2002, as part of its slot swap deal with then US Airways through which it gained slots at New York LaGuardia by giving up some at National.

The carrier declines to say how it will fund the slots at Washington National for the six daily flights to Boston. However, FlightGlobal schedules show a single frequency reduction to Detroit for six daily flights, and two-frequency reduction to New York LaGuardia for 10 daily flights at National on 9 September.

Delta plans to grow capacity by roughly 3% in 2019.

In addition to JetBlue, the mainline carrier will compete with American Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United to Chicago O'Hare, and United to Newark, schedules show.

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