Delta Air Lines continued its cautious approach to capacity, cutting summer flights in an effort to maintain a reliable operation.
The SkyTeam member’s executives have previously said Delta will remain “disciplined” about capacity this year because of “macro uncertainty”–even as the carrier has touted a strong demand environment. “The priority is to operate reliably and . . . not get ahead of demand,” President Glen Hauenstein said in April.
Now, Delta will “strategically decrease our flight schedule this summer,” the airline said in a May 26 statement.
From July 1-Aug. 7, Delta will drop approximately 100 daily departures from its schedule, “primarily in markets in the US and Latin America that Delta frequently serves,” the Atlanta (ATL)-based carrier said. “This will build additional resilience in our system and improve operational reliability for our customers and employees; we’ll continue to proactively adjust select flights in the coming weeks.”
Delta said the latest capacity drawdown is in line with “adjustments [the airline has made this year] to minimize disruptions and bounce back faster when challenges occur.”
Following the COVID-19 crisis, “rebuilding Delta's full-scale operation to serve the increasing number of customers who want to fly with us has been a huge feat–and not without challenges,” the airline said.
Delta chief customer experience officer Allison Ausband added: “More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation–weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased COVID case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some work groups–are resulting in an operation that isn’t consistently up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years.”
Delta CEO Ed Bastian has described Delta’s approach to this year as “cautiously bullish” and indicated he believes other US airlines have been too aggressive in adding back capacity, leading to operational disruptions. “Fundamentally, our commitment and our promise to our customers is to give them a great, safe, on-time, reliable experience,” he said.