Bart Jansen, USA Today
As Delta Air Lines strengthens its joint ventures with European partners, the carrier is also adding trans-Atlantic flights to more U.S. cities with an eye toward connections in Asia and Africa, executives said Thursday.
Delta announced that trans-Atlantic revenues grew 11 percent to nearly $1.8 billion in the second quarter, driven by “very strong” business-cabin and “robust” leisure demand, according to President Glen Hauenstein.
As the carrier unifies its joint ventures with European partners like Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic, Delta now flies 60% of its trans-Atlantic flights to its partners’ hubs, he said.
As it does so, Delta is flying to those partner hubs from an increasing number of cities in the U.S. — including from many in the U.S. that are not hubs for Delta.
Among those: Delta added flights from Orlando to Amsterdam in March and from Indianapolis to Paris in May. Amsterdam is the primary hub for Dutch partner KLM while Paris Charles de Gaulle is the top hub for partner Air France.
In Los Angeles, which is a hub for Delta, the airline added flights to both Paris and Amsterdam in June. Before the launch, Delta hadn’t flown its own planes to Europe from Los Angeles, in contrast to American and United airlines.
The city pairs were chosen for their frequent-flier bases and their loyalty to Delta, Hauenstein said. But rather than focusing on point-to-point travel from cities other than its hubs in Atlanta and New York, he said the service offers more opportunities for connections.
“When we fly from Indianapolis to Paris, we’re not just flying from Indy to Paris, we’re flying from Indianapolis and connecting to all of Europe, and then really connecting Asia and Africa through Paris,” Hauenstein told investment analysts on an earnings call.
“Really exciting for us, the results,” he added, with each of the markets “doing quite well” in their first year.