Delta ups international flying

BUOYED by the outlook of a relatively stable year ahead, Delta is moving to step up its international capacity in 2011 with a number of new routes.

Lately the Pacific has been the least robust market for Delta Cargo. Nevertheless it will be the main arena for expansion in the coming year, with three routes to China planned. The airline wants to launch a daily Detroit-Beijing service next summer, return to Guangzhou with flights from its Asian hub in Tokyo-Narita and resume operations on the Atlanta-Shanghai sector. In addition, there are two new flights to Tokyo, taking advantage of the opening of Haneda airport to international service.

The peak season out of Asia this year has been decidedly lacklustre, but Delta has managed to maintain high load factors and kept yields “at respectable levels” thanks to its network, which enables it to carry cargo beyond the major gateways, said Neel Shah (right), vice-president of cargo.

“It’s been a struggle out of Asia, whereas Europe has been strong and Latin America has been very strong,” he observed.

“I think overall 2011 will be a steady year. The global economy is recovering,” he continued. “We, as a company, are quite bullish. That’s why we are expanding.”

Delta will deploy 777 aircraft on the Detroit-Beijing and Atlanta-Shanghai routes, while Guangzhou will be served with 767-300 equipment.

While the Detroit-Beijing route is new for Delta, marking the emergence of the US city as the carrier’s main Pacific gateway, Atlanta-Shanghai and Narita-Guangzhou are revisits of routes that were abandoned earlier. The former will be just twice weekly and may be increased later, depending on results, Shah said.

For the full story read the latest free digital edition of Air Cargo News, no. 691 dated 29 November, here.

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