As economies reopen and border restrictions lift, Delta (DAL) will add almost 1,000 flights system-wide in July, the airline has now announced.
It revealed that it has implemented several measures to encourage extra space and has capped cabin seating at 60% in the main cabin and 50% in first class and blocking middle seats until the end of September.
“Confidence in a safe travel experience is key to a successful recovery,” said Joe Esposito, Senior Vice President – Network Planning. “While we’re rebuilding our network at home and abroad, it’s even more critical that we provide the highest industry standard of safety, space and clean so when our customers are ready to travel, we’re ready for them.”
Customers can also change their plans without a fee for a year, for new flights purchased through June 30.
Even with the modest growth in demand, Delta’s July schedule will be approximately 70% smaller than the same time last year, including reductions of about 65% for U.S. domestic travel and nearly 75% for international.
For the rest of the summer travel season, the airline will work to add seat capacity which could involve up-sizing to a larger aircraft type or adding more flying on routes with increasing customer demand.
Specifically, Delta will continue to add more nonstop connectivity between top markets, with a focus on major hubs like Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City. It is also adding capacity to popular leisure markets like Florida and throughout the West Coast, as well as more transcontinental flying for business travelers.
As for Latin America, the airline will operate approximately 25% of its schedule compared to last year, a marked improvement from June’s capacity that was reduced by more than 90% due to travel restrictions.
At the same time, Delta will now begin resuming its China service with two flights per week to Shanghai from Seattle and Detroit. The first flight is due to set off next week from Seattle, with weekly flights set for July. As required by the Chinese authorities, passengers will have their temperatures checked before departure.
Shares in DAL have plunged 48% year-to-date, but the Street nevertheless shows a bullish take on the stock’s outlook. Its Strong Buy consensus breaks down into 9 recent buy ratings vs 2 hold ratings, while the $38 average analyst price target indicates 25% upside potential lies ahead. (See Delta stock analysis on TipRanks).
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