Delta Airlines has announced a major transatlantic network expansion in the airline’s history. This is in line with similar developments across the industry as airlines worldwide have already started planning their summer schedules for next year, and Delta Air Lines has shown the eagerness for warmer days to come in what would be its most extensive transatlantic network expansion to date, the Atlanta-based carrier just revealed several new routes for its transatlantic summer services next year.
The expansion also includes new non-stop flight services to destinations the carrier hasn’t served in nearly two decades and will primarily be focused on connectivity through three significant hubs: Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York.
According to Delta’s Senior Vice President of Network Planning, Joe Esposito, “Next summer, Delta will give customers expanded access to popular destinations across the transatlantic, continuing to solidify its position as the number-one carrier in New York. With nearly 620 weekly flights and connectivity to 32 destinations in Europe and beyond, customers will have a wealth of iconic destinations to explore and an unmatched journey to enjoy across the pond.”
As Delta’s central transatlantic connectivity hub, it is no surprise that New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport would be offering more than 220 weekly departures to 26 destinations, including:
Adding a third daily seasonal flight to Rome–Fiumicino International Airport from May 25th,
Resumption of daily flight services to Berlin Brandenburg Airport on May 25th
To further spice up the transatlantic competition, Delta is adding in two new pinpoints from New York, including a new seasonal route to London’s Gatwick Airport, commencing on April 10th. The airline last offered flight services to Gatwick in April 2012, but it was operated from its main base at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Yet, perhaps the most anticipated newcomer to the network will be the addition of Geneva, Switzerland, a destination that Delta will be flying to for the first time since 1993.
The daily flights will commence on April 10th and will complement the airline’s non-stop flights to Zurich. Regarding competition, Delta will only go toe-to-toe against SWISS’s daily flight services between the two cities.
Of the expansions from New York-JFK, only flights to Geneva will be operated on the refurbished Boeing 767-400s , while the rest will be served on the more dated Boeing 767-300s .
And then, for the first time since March 2020, Delta will once again be connecting Los Angeles International Airport with Europe, bringing back some nostalgia favorites such as:
Restarting flight services to London’s Heathrow beginning on March 25th,
Resumption of flight services to Paris-Charles De Gaulle Airport starting on May 8th
Considering the Paris route was suspended due to the pandemic, returning to the French capital should bring in plenty of passengers for Delta during the summer. The resumption will be adding a fifth option for SkyTeam flyers as it would complement Air France’s four-times-weekly non-stop flight services.
Additionally, the reinstatement of the London Heathrow route is quite a comeback for Delta, as the airline hasn’t offered any flight services for this particular route since October 2015.
These restorations only mark two of its previous three European flights from Los Angeles, with flight services to Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport left being uncertain if it might return. The route was last operated in August 2019, and given Schiphol Airport’s passenger cap and chaos, it’s unlikely the resumption might happen next summer.
Both routes out of Los Angeles will be operated daily on the airline’s Airbus A330neo, furnished with Delta’s latest cabin products.
Finally, and not forgetting its biggest hub airport, in which it offers over 800 peak-day flights, Delta is resuming three long-haul routes, including:
Resumption of thrice weekly service to Stuttgart beginning on March 26th,
Restarting the thrice weekly flight services to Dusseldorf starting on May 9th,
Restarting a five-times-weekly seasonal flight service to Edinburgh on May 25th
Flight services to Stuttgart Airport were last operated in March 2020, and since the route connects the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche US headquarters in Atlanta with their main offices in Germany, this business-centered route will certainly be quite popular.
Delta’s flights to Dusseldorf were also suspended due to the pandemic, so having them come back for the summer after a long pause is always exciting. What’s more interesting, perhaps, is the resumption of flights to Edinburgh, a route Delta has not offered since 2007. Unfortunately, all three routes are scheduled to be operated on the more aged Boeing 767-300s.
The resumption of Atlanta-Edinburgh would provide passengers with another option for Edinburgh since the New York-Edinburgh route is already fixed on the airline’s schedule.
When the demand for international air travel soared this year, it was well noted that some of Delta’s nonstop flights were absent from its summer schedules. The absence was especially felt from its West Coast hub in Los Angeles, which became one of the earliest victims of the pandemic.
But given how the hub is making quite the comeback next year, perhaps the SkyTeam member airline was waiting till the aviation industry was better stabilized and ensuring that demand was steadily rising and not faltering. However, Delta is in for quite a heated summer as competition seems heavy on some routes.
Delta’s expansion to Gatwick is interesting, given how the airline is already no stranger to London with two daily non-stop flight services to Heathrow Airport, and with a partnership with Virgin Atlantic, it shares a few more flights to the English capital.
With Gatwick located just over an hour away, Delta seems ambitious as it competes heavily against British Airways and JetBlue. Low-cost carrier Norse Atlantic Airways is also operating daily flights for this route, further beefing up the competition for Delta. What’s more, Gatwick is more of a leisure-centered airport, so passengers are more likely to seek out more affordable fares, going in favor of JetBlue and Norse.
And it also probably doesn’t help that Delta will use its Boeing 767-300s, which are generally quite outdated in cabin products. So unless Delta comes up with lower fares or attractive promotions, Gatwick will be pretty challenging to upkeep for the full-cost carrier.
If it hasn’t been obvious, any route connecting the US and London seems to be hotly contested, and the Los Angeles-London route is not an exception, especially when it’s to Heathrow Airport.
For its comeback to Heathrow, Delta is facing stiff competition as full-cost rivals American Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic have already been a mainstay on the route with multiple daily flights.
However, given that Delta will be operating the Airbus A330neo for this route, passengers might be more attracted to the airline in hopes of experiencing how well-equipped the aircraft is. Passengers can look forward to the Delta One Suites at the front of the plane, Delta Premium Select seats, Delta Comfort Plus for extra legroom, and the roomy 2-4-2 configuration in Economy.
Delta is truly stepping up its game for its transatlantic network next summer, and the emphasis on three of its more significant hubs is also a clever play. Especially since New York-JFK is undergoing a $1.5 billion transformation to include a new Delta Sky Club and a Delta One Club, though they will open in early 2024. Still, passengers will experience a brand-new Terminal 3 facility at Los Angeles Airport with nine new gates, spacious seating areas, and premium concessions and retail offerings.
Furthermore, several of the announced routes make highly-anticipated comebacks after being suspended during the pandemic, while others haven’t been flown in over a decade. Although competition on these routes will prove heavy for Delta, the airline is proving with this expansion that transatlantic travel in 2023 will be bigger and hopefully better without the past summer’s chaos.