Tag Archives: Delta Air Lines

Delta’s new Airbus A330-300 takeoff video

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has issued this new video and description written by Rachel Solomon:

Delta logo

By Rachel Solomon

Mojave, California – With 10 state-of-the-art A330 Airbus airplanes joining Delta’s fleet over the next two years, the airline saw an opportunity to tell a story of an innovative aircraft.

And how Delta Marketing told that story was just as cutting edge.

Equipped with top-notch technology, the A330-300 can fly farther while consuming less fuel than its predecessors. It also features best-in-class onboard features, including flat-bed seats and premium entertainment, reflecting Delta’s efforts to provide a superior customer experience.

The advanced A330 – with the new, sleek Delta logo painted on its belly – demanded a more dynamic video than in the past. So Marketing, in combination with Atlanta-based firm Pouya Creative, embarked on a months-long plan to produce dramatic images that let viewers get up close and personal with the belly-logo livery just as the A330 takes off.

How did the team do it? Thirty-five cameras, nine months of planning and one camera-rigged Porsche driving 160 mph just 200 feet below the plane.

“What would up the ante?”

The project started with Mauricio Parise, Director – Marketing Communications, in January.

“We have great footage showcasing our new 737-900,” Parise said. “But to represent ourselves as the global airline we are, we needed to film a widebody plane like this new A330-300, which flies across the globe.”

Then Delta’s Visual Content leads Mary Welsh, Manager – Brand Strategy and Creative Services, and Chris Fisher, Specialist – Art Direction and Graphic Design, and Pouya Creative teams took it from there.

The plan was to capture a dramatic shot of the belly logo just as the plane was taking off. To do that, the team would need a camera that could be attached to something moving as fast as the plane – say, a Porsche 911. The camera, wedged in the back seat, would need to be wireless and controlled remotely to ensure perfect-angle shots.

Meanwhile, a smaller Learjet and a helicopter would provide aerial shots to show other angles of the A330.

Last year, Delta used a Learjet and a helicopter to film a brand new Boeing 737, but filming in this manner – not only from aircraft but a sports car – took the project to the next level.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What would up the ante?’ this time,” said Pouya Dianat, Project Director and Director of Pouya Creative. “Delta loyalists crave unique perspectives, and we wanted to live up to that.”

Over the next several months, the team recruited all the right people for the job, including Delta employees from Flight Operations, Technical Operations and the Operations/Customer Center, as well as videographers and a professional stunt driver.

“Safety my first concern”

What started out as an artistic idea became a matter of engineering precision and skill. Using Airbus performance software, Cory White, Delta Senior Engineer – Performance Aircraft, figured out the exact calculations to ensure the Porsche-rigged camera could film the underside of the plane clearly and safely.

“I was excited to be involved in such a unique opportunity, but safety was my first concern,” White said. “It’s a heavy burden to make sure calculations are done properly. Checking and rechecking was essential.”

“Delta loyalists crave unique perspectives, and we wanted to live up to that.”

White calculated the effect of temperature and wind on the performance of the Airbus and the acceleration of the Porsche to determine the appropriate distance between the plane and the car, as well as timing of takeoff.
Then, the team put White’s calculations to the test.

Weeks prior to the shoot, the film crew and Delta’s flight team performed more than a dozen practice runs in both the car and a flight simulator. Testing continued during the shoot; Captain Dan Lewis, Delta Chief Line Check Pilot for the A330, and First Officer Robin Grey conducted two trial takeoffs in the A330.

“We’ll need to validate where the plane leaves the ground and have clear range signals worked out ahead of time,” Lewis said in one of several safety meetings. “What we have to do is plan for the worst.”

“Plane in my rearview mirror”

The teams met in September at the Mojave Air and Space Port, an arid location an hour-and-a-half northeast of Los Angeles. The production team had grown to more than 50 people, including pilots and co-pilots, cameramen, audio and video technicians, production crew members and security. After months of planning, everything began to come together.

The crew spent day one reviewing details of the shoot, establishing safety protocols and filming still photos of the A330, which had just landed from Atlanta that afternoon.

“We had a check list of things we needed from each part of the crew in order to be successful,” Dianat said. “It took the safety of the aerial film crews, the precision of the driver and pilots, and camera and wireless operations.”

On day two, the team reconvened at sunrise. Outside of a hangar, a helicopter circled above to capture the perfect shot of the A330 taxiing towards the rust-red Mojave Desert Mountains. The team performed its final test runs before shooting the groundbreaking scene that afternoon.

The A330 lined up on the runway behind the Porsche. Dianat gave the go-ahead, and the Porsche sped off with the A330 shortly following.

“Seeing the plane come up in my rearview mirror was unforgettable,” said Roger Richman, the professional stunt driver. “I’ve been chased by a lot of things, but never anything as large, or with first class seating! But I was amazed at the precision and consistency of these Delta pilots – I would trust my life with those guys.”

“The results are powerful. It really helps bring the brand to life in a differentiated way by showcasing a brand-new aircraft that symbolizes our global scope.”

After four takeoffs, the crew had the shots it needed and wrapped for the day. The following day was spent shooting the A330’s exterior from all angles by Learjet and helicopter.
In all, the team edited more than four hours of footage down to a 60-second spot.

Parise said the most challenging part of the project – aside from the desert heat – was pulling off a project that required coordination across many different teams – internal and external.

“The results are powerful,” Parise said. “It really helps bring the brand to life in a differentiated way by showcasing a brand-new aircraft that symbolizes our global scope.”

About the A330-300

It’s a quieter, more eco-efficient widebody aircraft that operates long-haul flights. Delta took delivery of its first in May.

Passengers: 293
Crusing speed: 531 mph
Range: 5343 miles

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40 years later, part of McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 N401EA to be sold as Delta Gift Cards

Northwest Airlines-NWA McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 N401EA (msn 47682) BWI (Brian McDonough). Image: 902732.

McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 was originally delivered to Allegheny Airlines as N920VJ (msn 47682) on October 10, 1975. The airframe was traded to Eastern Airlines (1st) as N401EA on November 16, 1978. Northwest Airlines (above) acquired the airliner on March 24, 1994 and kept the Eastern registration mark. With the merger by Delta Air Lines, the aircraft transitioned to Delta. Delta retired N401EA on January 5, 2013.

Now Delta is selling gift cards made from the aluminum skin. The airline issued this statement and photo:

Delta DC-9-51 N401EA Gift Card

Delta is giving customers and aviation enthusiasts an opportunity to own a piece of history as the airline has begun selling limited edition gift cards on eBay made from a recently retired DC-9 aircraft.

Only 2,500 cards have been produced from the aluminum skin of the jet and are selling for $250. Each card is marked with a unique sequence number ranging from 1 to 2,500, and the cards are loaded with $50 of non-expiring gift card value which can be used towards the purchase of airfare from Delta for any Delta-marketed flight worldwide.

Delta annually sells tens of thousands of gift cards at various denominations for purchases on delta.com/giftcards. The DC-9 collector gift card is the first specialized card that Delta has produced.

The DC-9 used to create the Delta Gift Cards flew under four different airline brands—Allegheny Airlines, Eastern Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines—during its lifespan. The gift cards come encased in a durable card-stock carrier designed to display and protect the collectible. The carrier features a history of the DC-9 aircraft as well as images capturing the production of the limited edition Delta Gift Card.

The cards are made from aluminum cut from various locations on the DC-9’s fuselage and tail. Because of the authentic nature of the materials, slight variations exist, including physical imperfections from natural wear and tear of the aircraft. As a result, each card will be unique in color, texture, and thickness. The front of the card may be white, blue, red, gray, multicolored, or metallic in color with the back being completely metallic. Each card has been protected with a clear-coat sealant.

About the aircraft

The DC-9-51 aircraft used to create these limited edition Delta Gift Cards was manufactured on Aug. 25, 1975, and began service as N920VJ with Allegheny Airlines. Eastern Air Lines changed the registration to N401EA in 1978, which was later kept when acquired by Northwest Airlines and Delta.

The tail of this DC-9 was repurposed to create the one-of-a-kind vintage reception desk now used by Delta’s Elite Services Team in the premium check-in area of Delta ONE at LAX.

Aircraft spec:
Registration: N401EA
Serial/Line: 47682/788

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com.

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Delta to start Los Angeles – Denver flights

Delta Connection-SkyWest Airlines Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) N807SK (msn 15082) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 929995.

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will launch five daily flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Denver International Airport beginning June 1, 2016.

In 2016, Delta will begin operating Boeing 717 aircraft on all Delta Shuttle flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco, increase to 10 daily flights to both New York-JFK and Seattle/Tacoma and add a third daily flight to Boston. Delta’s seat growth in Los Angeles has grown more than 99 percent since 2009, the most of any carrier.

Delta’s Los Angeles to Denver flights will be operated by Delta Connection carrier SkyWest Airlines (St. George) using two-class, 76-seat Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft.

Delta operates 160 peak-day departures to 60 destinations from Los Angeles.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ900 (CL-600-2D24) N807SK (msn 15082) of SkyWest Airlines departs from LAX.

Delta Connection-SkyWest aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Delta to connect Minneapolis/St. Paul with Keflavik, Iceland

Delta logo

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will launch seasonal service to Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport from its Twin Cities hub beginning May 26, 2016.

Keflavik (near Reykjavik) will be Delta’s fifth destination in Europe from Minneapolis-St. Paul. Delta recently announced service from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Rome and also operates flights to Amsterdam, London, Paris and Tokyo-Narita. Iceland service will be operated in conjunction with Delta’s joint venture partners Air France, KLM and Alitalia using a 199-seat Boeing 757-300 aircraft. The aircraft offers 20 seats in the premium cabin as well as 29 in Delta Comfort+ and 150 in Main Cabin.

SkyWest to operate 19 new Embraer 175s for Delta

Embraer 175 (Flt)(Embraer)(LR)

SkyWest, Inc. (SkyWest Airlines) (St. George, Utah) today issued this statement:

SkyWest (red-blue) logo (LRW)

SkyWest, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a Capacity Purchase Agreement (CPA) with Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) to operate 19 new Embraer E175 dual-class regional jet aircraft. SkyWest has determined that these 19 E175 aircraft will be operated by SkyWest Airlines, Inc. (St. George) a wholly-owned subsidiary of SkyWest. The CPA is under terms and conditions similar to SkyWest’s existing Delta agreements.

Delta Connection logo

“SkyWest is a longtime Delta partner, and we’re pleased to advance our partnership with an additional aircraft type,” said Chip Childs, SkyWest, Inc. President. “As we continue to evolve our fleet mix, we look forward to continuing to deliver what our partners need through solid, reliable service.”

The aircraft will be flown in dual-class configuration of 76-seats, and will be equipped with Wi-Fi. Under the agreement, it is anticipated that delivery of the aircraft will begin in August 2016, with all 19 aircraft being delivered by mid-2017.

In related news, Embraer and SkyWest, Inc. have signed a firm order for an additional 19 E175s jets. The aircraft will be flown by SkyWest Airlines, Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary of SkyWest, under a Capacity Purchase Agreement (CPA) with Delta Air Lines. The transaction will be included in Embraer’s 2015 fourth-quarter backlog. Delivery of the first aircraft is expected for the third-quarter of 2016.

SkyWest Airlines currently operates the E175 for Alaska Airlines (Alaska SkyWest) and United Airlines (United Express).

Image: Embraer.

Delta Connection-SkyWest aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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Delta explains its aircraft fleet strategy, follows-up on CEO Anderson’s “aircraft bubble” comment

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) has issued this statement explaining its fleet strategy is driven by opportunity and flexibility:

Delta logo

Delta does things differently than most airlines, and that includes the way it buys airplanes.

While most big carriers replenish and expand their fleets with brand new jets, which are either leased or purchased, Delta has purchased a mix of new and used aircraft over the past several years.

Ed Lohr, Delta’s Managing Director of Fleet Strategy, explained that the airline looks at the entire cost of jet – the purchase price, the maintenance costs, fuel efficiency and other factors – before making decisions. Often, used aircraft make the most economic sense for the airline.

And thanks to Delta’s TechOps aviation maintenance team, used planes can be maintained and retrofitted with entirely new interiors, providing a superior customer experience even though the jet may be a few years old.

And Delta typically purchases planes outright rather than leasing them.

“We do have a different strategy than most of our competitors,” Lohr said. “When you have a strong balance sheet like we do, a great TechOps organization like we do, it gives you a lot more flexibility to take advantage of opportunities when they come up.”

Above Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Ex-AirTran Airways Boeing 717-231 N925AT (msn 55079) arrives at Baltimore/Washington (BWI). N925AT was formerly painted in the special “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” (Universal) livery.

For example, Delta acquired 88 used Boeing 717 (above) after Southwest inherited them in its merger with AirTran Airways. Those jets fill a critical role in Delta’s domestic network, and were given nose-to-tail revamps before entering service.

Delta has similarly scoured the world for used MD-90 jets, reliable narrowbodies that are also dramatically upgraded and brought into the fleet at a very reasonable price.

Still, Delta will buy new when it makes sense. For example, the airline recently ordered 25 fuel-efficient Airbus A350-900s to fly primarily long-haul trans-Pacific routes starting in 2017.

The aircraft strategy is one of the reasons Delta has been able to pay off more than $10 billion in debt since 2008, and has seen its credit rating rise to just one notch below investment grade. Less money is tied up in expensive new jets, and instead can be invested in airport facilities, operational performance, new technology and on-board improvements to enhance the customer experience.

“The days of buying just one brand of aircraft, or signing huge orders all at once, those are definitely over,” Lohr said. “At least, they are for us.”

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Delta Mainline Fleet Graph (Delta)(LRW)

Delta logo

In a related story, Delta also issued this further clarification after CEO Richard Anderson’s recent comment about an “aircraft bubble” (also reported by us):

The aviation world was buzzing last week after Delta CEO Richard Anderson discussed an “aircraft bubble” that has been dramatically pushing down prices of used widebody aircraft.

“We’re seeing a huge bubble in excess wide-body airplanes around the world,” Anderson said during Delta’s third quarter earnings conference call. Anderson said he had seen mid-life Boeing 777-200 aircraft being available in the market at about $10 million.

Delta’s aircraft experts, Greg May, Senior Vice President – Supply Chain Management, and Ed Lohr, Managing Director – Fleet Strategy, told Delta News Hub that several trends have conspired over the last few years to create a “perfect storm” driving down prices.

The major factors:

A large number of leased widebody aircraft are being returned to lessors and manufacturers, causing a glut in the market.

Boeing 777While Delta generally purchases both new and used aircraft, many carriers lease new planes, turning them in when the lease ends, usually after seven to 10 years. Those aircraft often end up on the used airplane market.

One factor driving the large number of leased aircraft now being sold is the nearly four-year delay in deliveries of Boeing’s 787 jet, Lohr said. The delay caused many airlines to lease Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 aircraft (left) to bridge the gap while waiting for their orders to be fulfilled. Many of those aircraft are now nearing the end of their leases and being returned.

One aircraft in particular – the Boeing 777-200ER powered by Rolls-Royce Trent engines –will be entering the used market in significant numbers over the next couple years, May said. He also cited the new Airbus A350 (below), a twin-engine long-haul competitor to the Boeing 787, which has reduced demand for the 777.

“There was a time when the 777 had that market all to itself,” May said. “With the A350 and the 787 that’s no longer the case, so it’s not as attractive.”

Softness in the international economy has slowed capacity growth and reduced demand for wide-body aircraft, pushing down prices.

Economic softness in Asia and Latin America has caused many foreign airlines to tamp down growth plans. That has resulted in leased widebody aircraft being returned earlier than expected.

“They are paying the rent on those planes every month, so it’s very expensive to park them,” Lohr said. “That’s why they are not extending leases and in some cases are willing to pay a penalty to get out of other lease early, in each case, increasing the availability of used aircraft in the market.”

In addition, lower fuel prices have blunted a major advantage of new planes, which tend to be more fuel efficient.

Cheap financing created a demand for new aircraft, lowering the value of used jets.

Historically airlines in small and developing nations primarily leased or purchased used aircraft because they couldn’t afford new jets. But a wave of cheap financing, some from export credit agencies, has made it much easier for those airlines to buy new planes. Less demand for used aircraft means lower prices.

Airbus A350Lohr likened the widebody jet bubble to the housing bubble in the U.S. that burst in 2008 and collapsed the real estate market.

“Why did we have a real estate bubble? Because anyone and his brother could get a loan,” he said. “It’s the same story with new airplanes.”

While these factors have primarily impacted the widebody market, the narrowbody market is likely to be affected as well, Lohr said.

“The economics and the trends will eventually get to the narrowbodies,” he said.

After Anderson’s comments, Boeing’s stock value plunged. Analysts issued a flurry of reports debating the issue, and the question will likely be in the spotlight this week when Boeing announces its third quarter earnings.

Reuters reported Friday that Boeing may need to slow production of its Boeing 777 because of the weakness in the used aircraft market. Orders for the current generation 777 have fallen from 194 in 2011 to 63 in 2014 and just 34 this year, according to the report.

“Boeing is going to have to slow down the production rate,” Gueric Dechavanne of appraisal firm Collateral Verifications told Reuters.

Despite the attention that Anderson’s remarks received, Delta isn’t in negotiations to purchase used planes for the airline to fly right now, May said.

During the earnings call, Anderson said that he expects prices to decline further.

“Prices are going to get lower,” he said. “You wouldn’t strike a deal now.”

Delta Air Lines aircraft slide show (current livery): AG Airline Slide Show

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Delta to connect its Seattle/Tacoma hub with Orange County

Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) will added Embraer 175 Delta Connection service (operated by Compass Airlines) between its Seattle/Tacoma hub and Orange County (John Wayne) starting on May 1, 2016.

The airline made this announcement:

Delta logo

Delta Air Lines’ hub at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will continue to grow next spring with the launch of four daily flights to Orange County’s John Wayne Airport beginning May 1, 2016.

In all, Delta will launch service to ten destinations from Seattle/Tacoma between November 2015 and May 2016: Billings, Montana.; Boston; Cancun, Mexico; Edmonton, Alberta; Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island; Missoula, Montana; Orange County; Orlando; Pasco, Washington; and Victoria, British Columbia. Some service may be operated by Delta Connection carriers SkyWest Airlines and Compass Airlines.

Delta’s Seattle/Tacoma to Orange County flights will be operated by Delta Connection carrier Compass Airlines using Embraer 175 aircraft.

In other news, Delta will operate weekly Boeing 737-800 Cuban charters from Atlanta to Havana starting on April 2, 2016.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Compass Airlines’ Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N612CZ (msn 17000201) taxies to the runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Delta Air Lines aircraft slide show (current livery): AG Airline Slide Show

Delta Connection-Compass aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

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