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Delta targets rival Alaska on more Seattle routes

Delta Air Lines will add seven new nonstop routes out of Seattle later this year, turning up the heat on rival Alaska Air Group ahead of the formal end to their partnership.

The Atlanta-based airline will launch service to Milwaukee from 9 March, Eugene, Oregon (1 April), Nashville (26 May), Raleigh-Durham (8 June), Austin (12 June), Redmond, Oregon (12 June) and Lihue, Hawaii (21 December).

It will operate once daily on most of the routes. The Eugene flights will be operated thrice daily and Redmond twice daily.

"Extensive service throughout North America is important to Seattleites, and this is another example of our commitment to the Pacific Northwest," says Mike Medeiros, Delta's vice-president – Seattle.

Delta will compete against Alaska Airlines or its regional affiliate Horizon Air on all seven of the routes, FlightGlobal schedules data show. Alaska is the lone carrier operating on five of the seven markets, while Southwest Airlines also operates nonstop from Seattle to Milwaukee and Austin.

With the new markets, Delta will operate to 49 destinations and 160 peak-day flights from Seattle, it says.

Delta will operate Airbus A319s on the Austin and Nashville flights, Boeing 757s to Lihue and Boeing 737s to Raleigh-Durham. Regional carrier SkyWest will operate service on behalf of Delta to Redmond and Eugene, with Bombardier CRJ700s. SkyWest will operate Embraer 175s to Milwaukee.

Separately, Delta says it will grow frequencies on existing Seattle destinations. It plans to add a second daily frequency to both Boston and Orlando, an eighth daily flight to Portland and a fifth daily flight to San Diego. It will also upgauge “several” flights to San Francisco and Denver to mainline aircraft.

Competition between Delta and Alaska at Seattle - home to the latter - has grown significantly in recent years. The two airlines announced last month that they will end their codeshare and frequent flyer partnership on 1 May.

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