Delta builds in Boston to blunt JetBlue’s Logan run

Delta Air Lines' ranking at Boston has been impacted by the growth of JetBlue Airways and consolidation in the US airline market. While it acquired Northwest Airlines, the merger of AirTran Airways into Southwest Airlines, Continental Airlines into United Airlines and most recently US Airways into American Airlines has boosted the presence of its rivals at Logan International Airport.

US major Delta Air Lines is going on the offensive at General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport in Boston to safeguard marketshare having been overtaken in recent years by both American Airlines and JetBlue Airways in terms of departure capacity.

As reported by Airlineroute at the start of this week, the airline will add new non-stop services to Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Norfolk, Va.; – a new non-stop destination for Bostonians - as well as a second daily flight to Nashville, Tenn. beginning September 10, 2017. These destinations will be served by a mix of mainline equipment and regional jets flown by Delta Connection carriers Republic Airline or Endeavor Air.

“Delta is committed to being Boston’s global carrier of choice with service that meets the needs of both business and leisure travelers,” said Bob Cortelyou, senior vice president – network planning, Delta Air Lines. “Our growing network is built to support the diverse travel demands of our customers with unparalleled overall operational performance, and innovative products and services.”

From December 21, 2017 Delta will also expand weekend West Palm Beach, Fla., and Fort Myers, Fla., flights to daily, as well as increase weekend Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., flights to twice daily. Delta will also continue to support strong holiday travel demand with non-stop flights to popular Caribbean destinations including Montego Bay, Jamaica; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas; from the same month.

Delta’s previously announced non-stop service to Dublin, beginning May 25, 2017, and transcontinental service to San Francisco, beginning June 8, 2017, combined with the other eight routes complements its existing transatlantic service to Amsterdam, London-Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

Looking back ten years, Delta was the largest operator out of Logan International Airport with a 17.7 per cent share of departure seats. While it still remains the prominent operator between Boston and Europe, its overall share of capacity had fallen to 14.8 per cent last year. Its recent growth has helped boost its overall capacity to levels not seen since it was the market leader.

Delta’s ranking at Boston has been impacted by the consolidation in the US airline market and while it acquired Northwest Airlines, the merger of AirTran Airways into Southwest Airlines, Continental Airlines into United Airlines and most recently US Airways into American Airlines has seen it drop down to become the third largest operator in Boston by capacity.

Our analysis of schedule data from intelligence provider OAG shows the strong competition Delta has been facing in the market and how after a fluctuating capacity offering is now in its fourth consecutive period of year-on-year growth.

But it is JetBlue Airways that now leads the way in Boston. It has almost doubled its departure capacity from Boston’s Logan International Airport between 2007 and 2016, an average annual rise of 10.6 per cent. The airline overtook Delta Air Lines as the airport’s largest operator by departure seats in 2010 and now has over a quarter share of capacity, up from just 5.8 per cent in 2005. It is forecasted to grow capacity 12.0 per cent this year after a 7.6 per cent growth in 2016.

"We came to town in 2004 with the renegade idea that we could bring humanity back to air travel for customers underserved and overcharged by other carriers," Robin Hayes, president and chief executive officer, JetBlue has said about the airline’s arrival in the city. "Boston welcomed our unique approach with open arms, and we quickly grew together. We may be the top airline in Boston today, but we aren't even close to finishing our growth."