Category Archives: Delta Air Lines

Delta’s 50th U.S.-produced A320 Family airliner powered with sustainable jet fuel

Airbus also added to the story about Delta’s new A321 powered with sustainable jet fuel:

Airbus has expanded its aircraft deliveries using sustainable jet fuel blends, with one of the latest involving the milestone 50th A320 Family jetliner provided to Delta Air Lines from Airbus’ production facility in Mobile, Alabama.

The landmark aircraft was an A321 – Airbus’ longest-fuselage version in its A320 product line – and the first of 20 for the U.S.-based airline whose delivery flights over the next year will operate with blends of sustainable jet fuel.

This continues the strong Airbus commitment to minimizing air transportation’s environmental impact – which includes becoming the first aircraft manufacturer offering customers the option of receiving new jetliners with sustainable fuel in their tanks. Such delivery flights have been available since 2016, starting from the Airbus headquarters production facility in Toulouse, France.

Airbus offers this option as part of its strategy to promote a more regular use of sustainable fuels within the aviation industry. In the longer term, the company also envisions supporting industrial production of sustainable fuels for aviation in the southeastern U.S. – the broad geographical region in which the Mobile, Alabama production facility for A320 Family jetliners is located.

Delta Air Lines is the second U.S customer to have its aircraft delivered by Airbus from the Mobile final assembly line using sustainable fuel blends. The initial was JetBlue Airways, which received an A321 loaded with 15% sustainable jet fuel in September 2018.

The fuel for Delta Air Lines’ 50th A320 Family aircraft delivered from Mobile was supplied by Air BP and loaded into the jetliner by Signature Flight Support (Airbus’ fuelling services provider in Mobile). This fuel is certified compliant with the sustainability requirements of the European Union Renewable Energy Directive and the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification.

Delta Air Lines and JetBlue are among Airbus’ key customers in the U.S. market – and globally. Delta has ordered more than 400 single-aisle and wide-body jetliners overall from Airbus, while JetBlue’s orders total nearly 350 from the single-aisle product lines.

Photos: Airbus.

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Biofuels and carbon offsets power Delta’s first carbon-neutral flights

Delta Air Lines has made this announcement:

  • Delta Air Lines to take 20 carbon-neutral new aircraft deliveries from the Airbus final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.
  • Using biofuels and carbon offsets in coordination with Air BP, this move is Delta’s latest sustainability action toward its long-term goal of a 50 percent carbon emission reduction by 2050.

The newest A321 in Delta’s fleet will make its initial flight today – completely carbon-neutral, a first for Delta as it continues to make strategic moves to bolster its ongoing sustainability commitments.

Delta has partnered with Air BP to supply biofuels for an initial 20 delivery flights from the Airbus final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. which are manufactured and refined via sustainable sources and processes. The first flight will depart Mobile, Ala. for a facility in Kansas City where final induction work will be performed before the aircraft moves into service for Delta’s customers across its extensive domestic route network.

Test Flight

Since 2005, the airline has reduced its jet fuel consumption, leading to an 11 percent decrease in emissions as it works toward its long-term goal of achieving carbon-neutral growth and reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Delta was the first and only U.S. airline to voluntarily cap carbon emissions at 2012 levels by purchasing carbon offsets ahead of the ICAO CORSIA implementation, which caps international emissions at 2019/2020 levels.

Delta is also the first U.S. airline to recycle aluminum cans, plastic bottles and cups, and newspapers and magazines from aircraft, accounting for the recycling of more than 3 million pounds of aluminum from onboard waste. Delta is also removing a variety of single-use plastic items, including stir sticks, wrappers, utensils and straws from its aircraft and Sky Clubs, and removed all plastic wrapping from international Main Cabin cutlery and its new amenity kits for all cabins. These efforts will divert over 300,000 pounds of plastic from landfills each year.

Picture Captioned: The aircraft, seen here during its test flight, was delivered from Mobile, Ala. this morning​.

Delta Air Lines announces its second quarter 2019 profit

Delta Air Lines today reported financial results for the June quarter 2019 and provided its outlook for the September quarter 2019. Highlights of the June quarter 2019 results, including both GAAP and adjusted metrics, are below and incorporated here.​

June Quarter Financial Highlights

  • ​ ​Adjusted earnings per share were $2.35, reflecting a 32 percent increase year over year with 8.7 percent top-line growth, 2.3 points of operating margin expansion and $1.8 billion of free cash flow.
  • Total adjusted revenue, which excludes refinery sales, grew nearly $1 billion to $12.5 billion, a new quarterly record, with 52 percent of adjusted revenue from premium products and non-ticket sources.
  • Total unit revenue, adjusted, increased 3.8 percent driven by healthy growth in leisure and corporate revenue and an approximate one point benefit from the amended American Express agreement announced earlier this year.
  • Non-fuel unit cost (CASM-Ex) increased 1.4 percent compared to the prior year period, driven by better operations, fleet transformation and efficiency initiatives.
  • Generated $5.2 billion of operating cash flow and $2.5 billion of free cash flow on a year-to-date basis, after investing $2.7 billion into the business, primarily for aircraft purchases and modifications.
  • Returned $497 million to shareholders, comprised of $268 million of share repurchases and $229 million in dividends.

“Our record June quarter financial and operating results demonstrate that we are translating our powerful brand and competitive advantages into earnings growth, margin expansion and solid returns for our owners.  Our people are the best in the business and I’m proud to recognize their hard work and dedication this quarter with an additional $518 million toward next year’s profit sharing,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer.  “With our strong first half performance and building momentum from our customer-focused initiatives, we are increasing our full-year earnings guidance to $6.75 to $7.25 per share.”

September Quarter 2019 Outlook

For the September quarter, Delta expects to deliver solid top-line growth and margin expansion.

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Revenue Environment

Delta’s adjusted operating revenue of $12.5 billion for the June quarter improved 8.7 percent, $1 billion higher than prior year quarter. This revenue result marks a record for the company, driven by improvements across Delta’s business, including a ten percent increase in premium product ticket revenue and double-digit percentage increases in loyalty and third-party maintenance revenue.  Cargo revenue during the quarter declined 17 percent driven by lower volumes and yield.  Other revenue declined by $24 million as growth in loyalty and third-party maintenance was offset by $176 million lower third-party refinery sales.

Passenger Revenue by Geographic Region:

  • Domestic revenues grew 8.8% in the quarter on 3.6% higher passenger unit revenue (PRASM) and 5.1% higher capacity.  Domestic premium product revenue grew 11% and corporate revenue grew 8%, similar to the March quarter.
  • Atlantic revenues grew 6.1% in the quarter on 4.6% higher capacity and 1.5% higher PRASM, including a two point headwind from foreign exchange rates and pressure from the cessation of operations of our partner in India. Atlantic unit revenue improved from the March quarter driven by premium cabin performance and strong U.S. point of sale demand.
  • Latin revenues grew 5.2% on a 7.8% increase in unit revenue and 2.4% lower capacity. This revenue improvement was driven by double-digit unit revenue growth in Brazil and Mexico beach markets.
  • Pacific revenues grew 3.2% in the quarter as 9.7% higher capacity was partially offset by a 5.9% decline in unit revenues. Unit revenue performance was pressured by a 6% increase in length of haul, softer than expected demand in Japan and a roughly 1.5 point currency headwind.

“With record passenger loads, customer satisfaction and $1 billion in revenue growth for the June quarter, demand for Delta’s customer-focused product and service has never been stronger.  Our third quarter is off to a great start with a new highest revenue day on record on July 7th,” said Glen Hauenstein, Delta’s president.  “We now expect revenue growth of six to seven percent for the year, a $3 billion increase over 2018, as we benefit from our multi-year pipeline of fleet, product, and loyalty initiatives.”

Cost Performance

Total adjusted operating expense for the June quarter increased $559 million versus the prior year quarter, with approximately 20% due to higher profit sharing expense.  CASM-Ex was up 1.4 percent for the June quarter 2019 compared to the prior year quarter.  This performance was driven by industry-leading operations, savings from the company’s fleet transformation and the One Delta efficiency initiative, which partially offset investments in our people and product.  During the quarter, the company decided to accelerate retirement of its MD-90 fleet by two years to the end of 2022, which pressured CASM-Ex by approximately $60 million due to higher depreciation expense.

Adjusted fuel expense decreased $35 million, down two percent, relative to June quarter 2018.  Delta’s adjusted fuel price per gallon for the June quarter was $2.08, which includes a $37 million benefit from the refinery.

Adjusted non-operating expense for the quarter was $60 million higher versus the prior year quarter, driven primarily by lower pension income and lower results from international equity partners.

Cash Flow and Shareholder Returns

Delta generated $3.3 billion of operating cash flow and $1.8 billion of free cash flow during the quarter after the investment of $1.4 billion into the business primarily for aircraft purchases and improvements.  Year-to-date, the company has generated $5.2 billion of operating cash flow and $2.5 billion of free cash flow.

For the June quarter, Delta returned $497 million to shareholders, comprised of $268 million of share repurchases and $229 million in dividends.  The company also completed repayment of the $1 billion short-term loan that was used to accelerate the repurchase of shares in the March quarter.

The Board of Directors today declared a quarterly dividend of $0.4025 per share, an increase of 15% over previous levels. This marks the sixth consecutive increase in Delta’s dividend since it was established in 2013.  The September quarter dividend will be payable to shareholders of record as of the close of business on July 25, 2019, to be paid on August 15, 2019.

“With efficiency gains from our operations, fleet transformation, and One Delta initiatives, we have solid line of sight to achieve our 1% cost growth target for the year,” said Paul Jacobson, Delta’s chief financial officer.  “Our strong financial foundation and cash generation allow us to sustainably invest in the business, while maintaining our investment grade balance sheet and consistently returning cash to shareholders.  With our cash flow exceeding original expectations, we are on track to return $3 billion to our owners this year through share repurchases and our increased dividend.”

Strategic Highlights

In the June quarter, Delta achieved a number of milestones across its five key strategic pillars.

Culture and People

  • Accrued an additional $518 million in profit sharing and paid $26 million in Shared Rewards as a testament to the outstanding performance made possible by Delta’s more than 80,000 employees around the world.
  • Ranked as the number one corporate blood donor by the American Red Cross for the second year in a row with 13,064 units of blood, up 18 percent from the prior year, from 254 Delta sponsored blood drives.
  • Recognized as an honoree of The Civic 50 by Points of Light, the world’s largest volunteer service organization, for a second consecutive year, a testament to the commitment of the Delta people to everyday social responsibility by celebrating Pride, building homes with Habitat for Humanity and giving blood through the American Red Cross.
  • Named to Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s annual 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking, recognized for outstanding environmental, social and governance transparency and performance amongst the 1,000 largest U.S. public companies.

Operational Reliability

  • Delivered 148 days of zero mainline cancellations and 78 days of zero system cancellations for the first half of the year, a 30% improvement over 2018’s record performance.
  • Achieved record quarterly system and domestic load factor of 88.0% and 89.0%, up 1.3 points and 2.3 points, respectively, versus the prior year.
  • Reached record completion factor for the first half of the year on a system and mainline basis, with mainline completion factor of 99.86%.

Network and Partnerships

  • Celebrated the one-year anniversary of the joint venture with Korean Air, building the most comprehensive and reliable network in the trans-Pacific and providing our customers unparalleled access to over 80 destinations in Asia and more than 290 in the U.S.
  • Received tentative approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation for new Delta service between Tokyo-Haneda and five U.S. cities, a major milestone for Delta that, once finalized, will increase traveler options and bring more competition to Tokyo.
  • Received clearance for the WestJet-Delta proposed U.S./Canada transborder joint venture under Canada’s Competition Act from the Canadian Competition Bureau.  The proposed joint venture is still subject to regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Customer Experience and Loyalty

  • Took delivery of Delta’s first A330-900neo aircraft, featuring a modern, luxurious interior with all four branded seat products – Delta One suites, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin – and thoughtful touches like in-seat power ports, full-spectrum LED ambient lighting, spacious overhead bins and memory foam cushions throughout the aircraft for added comfort.
  • Launched Reclaim My Status, an industry-leading program allowing Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members who have experienced a life event that has temporarily affected their ability to travel to resume their status. Its launch is an important step in making our policies more intuitive and customer-friendly and has been extremely well-received by our Medallion Members.
  • Began the use of Apple Business Chat, allowing select Medallions and an expanded group of customers in the future to connect with a live Delta representative to receive in-the-moment assistance, or with a Delta Virtual Assistant, to get quick answers to frequently asked questions through the Fly Delta app.
  • Completed an initial two-week trial of free Wi-Fi to gather customer feedback from more than 700 flights, a first step toward making Wi-Fi as accessible in the sky as it is when visiting most businesses on the ground.

Investment Grade Balance Sheet

  • Completed repayment of a $1 billion short-term loan that was used to accelerate the repurchase of shares in the March quarter, earlier than initially expected.
  • Received a reaffirmed investment-grade rating and Stable outlook from Fitch Ratings.
  • Achieved a 1.7x adjusted debt to EBITDAR ratio, in line with our long-term leverage ratio target of 1.5x to 2.5x adjusted debt to EBITDAR, which is expected to allow Delta to maintain investment grade ratings through a business cycle.

June Quarter Results

Adjusted results primarily exclude the impact of unrealized gains/losses on investments.

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Delta to launch nonstop service between New York-JFK and Houston on Airbus A220

Airbus' 12,000th aircraft, delivered May 20, 2019

Delta Air Lines is launching its state-of-the-art Airbus A220 aircraft on new flights between New York’s JFK International Airport and Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport this October, with customers enjoying best-in-class service on two daily flights connecting two of the largest business markets in the U.S.

For Houston customers connecting through JFK, the new service will provide one-stop access to international destinations such as Lagos, Nigeria; Dakar, Senegal; Accra, Ghana; and Tel Aviv, Israel.

Service will begin on Oct. 27, 2019, and will operate on the following schedule:

IAH

  • Departs IAH at 11:58 a.m. and arrives JFK at 4:22 p.m.
  • Departs IAH at 6:22 p.m. and arrives JFK at 10:45 p.m.

JFK

  • Departs JFK at 8:00 a.m. and arrives IAH at 11:19 a.m.
  • Departs JFK at 2:55 p.m. and arrives IAH at 6:14 p.m.

Delta has grown its presence in New York City by over 65 percent in the last 10 years and today operates more than 520 peak-day departures from its hubs at LaGuardia and JFK. The airline is JFK’s No. 1 carrier, offering more than 240 peak daily departures to nearly 100 worldwide destinations. The airline first unveiled its $1.4 billion, state-of-the-art international gateway at JFK’s Terminal 4 in 2013. Delta also continues to make significant investments to provide more consistency, comfort and convenience in the travel experience throughout all cabins of service on its flights to and from New York.

Service to Houston from JFK complements the five daily flights Delta currently offers between Houston and Delta’s other New York hub at LaGuardia. Those flights also are operated on the A220, which features a modern and spacious interior, and an elevated, customer-friendly onboard experience including:

  • ​Thoughtful innovations like high-capacity overhead bins, extra-large windows and full-spectrum LED ambient lighting.
  • The widest Main Cabin seats in Delta’s entire fleet in a two-by-three layout, with personal power ports and complimentary premium entertainment on individual seat-back screens.
  • A new First Class seat design in a two-by-two layout, featuring the largest IFE screens of any Delta domestic First Class seat.

Delta’s A220 debuted in February to rave reviews; Business Insider called the A220 “an absolute triumph.” The airline plans to add a total of 95 A220s to its aircraft fleet over the next four years. ​​

Top Copyright Photo: Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-100 (CS100 BD-500-1A10) N113DQ (msn 50032) YMX (Gilbert Hechema). Image: 946573.

Delta aircraft slide show (Airbus):

Delta to debut wholly reinvented international Main Cabin experience

Delta Air Lines has made this announcement:

First-of-its-kind service will launch for Main Cabin customers on international flights in November

Customers can expect to be impressed on board Delta’s international routes* starting this November when the airline debuts its industry-leading Main Cabin experience. Free “Welcome Aboard” cocktails featuring Bellinis to start, hot towel service and mix-and-match options for premium appetizers and larger entrees are just a few of the ways Delta is differentiating its international Main Cabin service.

“This is about investing in every single customer who chooses Delta, no matter where they sit on the plane,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President — In-Flight Service. “The thoughtful touches we’re investing in throughout the new Main Cabin experience were designed by flight attendants with one goal in mind — delivering an exceptional experience that our customers will rave about and one that our team, the best in the business, is proud to deliver.”

Designed to delight and create “wow” moments that feel like dining in your favorite splurge restaurant, Delta’s reinvented Main Cabin experience has been met with high marks — with increased customer satisfaction scores on the more than 700 flights it’s been tested on between Portland and Tokyo-NRT over the past year.

 

International Main Cabin Inforgraphic

 

A Main Cabin experience designed by flight attendants, endorsed by customers

The experience launching in November isn’t the same service Delta started testing more than a year ago. Rigorous reviews of the service through nearly 14,000 hours of flight time, information from over 1,800 customer surveys, robust crew feedback and input from a design team made up of 24 flight attendants resulted in a number of changes to perfect the innovative service for Delta’s international flights.

International Main Cabin Meal

“With this service, at the end of the flight I know I’ve made a difference in the customer’s journey,” said Michael Miller, a New York-based flight attendant and member of the design team behind the new experience. “I know I’ve had the opportunity to not only offer an exceptional onboard experience, but also to engage with customers and create special moments for them.”

Creating magical moments in-flight

In addition to these enhancements, over the past several months, Delta has provided specialized training to its team of more than 3,000 Pursers — the lead flight attendants on international flights. Responsible for the customer experience from nose to tail, the Purser role at Delta has been elevated to include pre-flight introductions in the gate house and personal greetings at the boarding door — just a few examples of the important connections between crew and customers that lead to memorable moments and a delightful experience all around.

Delta’s first new LaGuardia concourse to open this fall

 

By Elizabeth Wolf.

Delta Air Lines has issued this update:

As summer begins, Delta teams are already looking ahead to the fall – and to celebrating the next major milestone in the airline’s history of investment in New York and at LaGuardia Airport.

The first of four concourses that will comprise Delta’s new state-of-the-art terminal at LGA is scheduled to open this fall, furthering the airline’s commitment to enhancing the New York customer experience from ground to air. The spacious 105,000-square-foot concourse will feature floor-to-ceiling views of Citi Field and Flushing Bay, gates that can accommodate a range of aircraft types, and dining options from favorite New York chefs and eateries.

 

“The historic infrastructure project underway at LaGuardia is a significant component of the more than $12 billion Delta is currently investing in airport redevelopment efforts around the country,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “Our customers and employees are excited to see the LaGuardia of the future more fully come into view. Many thanks to everyone who has been working hard to launch an exciting new era for Delta in New York.”

“This new milestone in LaGuardia’s transformation brings us another step closer in converting the airport into a superb flight hub in line with New York standards,” said New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “Our collaboration with Delta in the development of this concourse and their new LaGuardia terminal is another demonstration of the effectives of public-private partnerships at work to modernize our state’s infrastructure.”

Delta operates more than 275 peak-day departures from its LGA hub and began construction of a $3.9 billion replacement of Terminals C and D in 2017, building on the airline’s extensive investment in New York airports over the past decade. When complete, the new terminal will feature 37 gates across four concourses connected by a centralized check-in lobby, security checkpoint, and baggage claim; dual taxiways that will help reduce hold outs and taxi times; a new, larger Delta Sky Club with a Sky Deck; larger gate areas and more concessions space; and more efficient airport roadways.

The large airport infrastructure project supports the significant investments Delta has also made in the skies to provide more consistency, comfort and convenience on flights to and from New York. The airline has added thousands more flights on new aircraft in the market and offers more seatback entertainment and more first class seats than any other airline out of New York City.

New dining options highlight star-powered chefs, favorite flavors of New York

Delta has again partnered with airport hospitality group OTG to bring chef-driven dining options and authentic local flavors to the new concourse. Chef Mark Iacono of Brooklyn’s Lucali consulted on Rossi Pizzeria, a Neapolitan-style pizza and calzone concept; and chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer of King Restaurant in Soho consulted on Flatiron Tavern & Provisions, a contemporary tavern that will feature chops, burgers and fresh fish. OTG will also be introducing New York favorites Birch Coffee, H&H Bagels and Juice Press. To ensure dining offerings are relevant throughout the day, the H&H Bagels outpost – available in the morning – will transition to Rossi Pizzeria in the afternoon and evening. Each of the full-service concepts will place power outlets and USB ports at every seat, along with tablets allowing customers to track their flight, browse the web, play games, and order food, drinks and amenities.

“OTG is thrilled to have partnered on such an important project for Delta, its customers and employees, and really the city of New York,” said Rick Blatstein, OTG CEO. “The dining options we’re introducing at these dynamic concepts reflect the best of what’s available in our city, offering Delta’s LaGuardia customers the flavors we love and appreciate as New Yorkers.”

Meanwhile, Stellar Partners, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of HMSHost, will design retail options for the new facility that provide a wide selection of travel essentials.

“We are very pleased to be part of Delta’s elevated and differentiated concessions program at LaGuardia Airport,” said Padraig Drennan, Stellar President & CEO. “This is truly a visionary program that will change the airport experience for New Yorkers and visitors to the city, and we could not be more excited to partner with Delta in making this vision a reality.”

Concourse construction, highlighted by unique and sustainable attributes, enters final phase

As final preparations continue for the opening of the new concourse, Delta teams recently installed passenger boarding bridges at the gates and energized the facility with permanent power. They’ve also been paving the aircraft ramp areas, testing building systems, and constructing the temporary pedestrian walkway that will connect the new concourse to Delta’s existing Terminal D. The security checkpoint in Terminal D will expand to support both concourses until the centralized check-in lobby opens in late 2021.

The new facility features a 12-megawatt Con Edison substation, which is integrated into the upper level of the concourse, providing power for the new terminal. Additionally, all major electrical and mechanical equipment is housed on the upper level to protect such systems from water damage in the event of a major storm. The concourse also features an ice-generation system that reduces electrical consumption at times of peak demand by creating ice at night, when energy demand is lower, and using it to cool the building during the day.

The opening of Delta’s first new gates represents another step forward in the comprehensive $8 billion redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport announced by Governor Cuomo in 2015. Under the governor’s plan, old facilities are being demolished only as new facilities are completed, enabling the airport – which services 30 million passengers each year – to remain fully operational as the multi-phased construction project continues. To date, Delta’s construction features 2,000 tons of steel, more than 50,000 cubic yards of concrete, and more than 40 miles of piping, cabling and other infrastructure.

Delta has invested more than $7 billion in airport projects since 2006, and along with its airport partners, will be involved in an additional $12 billion worth of facilities infrastructure projects in coming years, including improvements in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake City and Seattle.​

WestJet, Delta Air Lines obtain clearance from the Canadian Competition Bureau for transborder joint venture

WestJet and Delta Air Lines today announced that their proposed U.S. – Canada transborder joint venture has received clearance under Canada’s Competition Act from the Canadian Competition Bureau (CCB). The CCB issued a no-action letter confirming that it does not intend to challenge the proposed joint venture agreement between WestJet and Delta Air Lines.

The proposed joint venture between the two airlines is still subject to regulatory approval from the Department of Transportation in the United States.

Upon receipt of all regulatory clearances or approvals the new joint venture will enable Delta and WestJet to deepen their existing partnership with expanded codesharing, reciprocal elite frequent flyer benefits, optimized growth across the U.S.-Canada transborder networks, and co-location at key hubs with initiatives designed to deliver a more seamless guest experience. The partners will also begin implementing joint sales and marketing activities and increase belly cargo cooperation.

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