NEW YORK, July 28, 2006 – Delta Air Lines – the world’s largest airline between the United States and Europe – has reached a definitive agreement with United Airlines to acquire the route authority to serve London nonstop from its fast-growing hub at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The agreement, which is subject to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) approval and certain other closing conditions, will allow Delta for the first time to operate daily round-trip flights between New York-JFK and London’s Gatwick Airport. The first daily round-trip flight would begin later this year with a second flight beginning in spring 2007.
Delta’s agreement to acquire the rights to London marks a milestone in a decade-long effort by Delta to expand to London from JFK. In addition to this new service to London-Gatwick, Delta continues to favor an Open Skies agreement between the United States and Europe that would allow Delta and other U.S. carriers to also serve London’s Heathrow Airport.
The new service between JFK and Gatwick will significantly enhance Delta’s presence in the New York market by providing customers nonstop access to most of the world’s top international destinations from JFK, where Delta has added more than 25 new domestic and international destinations since last fall.
“Our customers have long awaited the addition of daily nonstop Delta flights on the world’s most popular international route,” said Jim Whitehurst, Delta’s chief operating officer. “Airline consumers in cities throughout the U.S. will benefit from the increased competition these flights will generate as they fill a critical gap in our international network, allowing customers to choose Delta for travel between New York and London.
“Delta already has the most expansive U.S.-to-Europe network and it is only fitting that America’s largest trans-Atlantic airline should offer service on a route that is so important to our customers and the communities we serve,” Whitehurst continued.
With the addition of service to London, Delta will serve 22 trans-Atlantic markets nonstop from JFK, including eight destinations not served by any major U.S. carrier. In total, Delta has announced or launched eight new trans-Atlantic destinations from JFK this year, in addition to six new Latin/Caribbean routes and 14 new domestic routes.
"This is another great achievement for Delta, JFK and New York City," said New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "The addition of this new, nonstop service to Delta’s network will greatly enhance the travel experience for travelers between the Northeast Corridor and London. I commend Delta for its commitment to New York City and promise to continue to work to make both the city's airports more accommodating to our important world travelers."
Delta plans to operate the new flights with the 214-passenger Boeing 767-300ER aircraft featuring Delta’s award-winning BusinessElite service and will be available for sale to customers as soon as Delta receives required approval from the DOT. Schedules for the new Delta service will be announced following DOT approval.
Customers flying BusinessElite to and from London will enjoy Delta’s recently upgraded business class cabins and service, including all-leather sleeper seats with 60 inches of legroom; innovative food offerings designed by celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein; award-winning, original wine selections; and on-demand personal in-seat entertainment boasting more than 20 first-run and popular classic movies, a variety of TV programs, a broad range of music, and a suite of 12 video games. Economy class customers also will enjoy recent improvements on Delta, including new all-leather economy seats, enhanced food offerings, personal amenity kits and a complimentary cocktail with each meal.
As JFK’s leading airline, Delta operates nonstop service to more U.S. and international destinations than any other carrier. In total, Delta will offer customers 166 peak day flights to 72 worldwide destinations by December, including new nonstop service to 11 international destinations and more than a dozen new domestic destinations that began this summer. Additionally, this fall, Delta will begin the world’s first nonstop flights between Mumbai, India and the United States with daily nonstop service between Mumbai and JFK effective Nov. 1. And, on Dec. 11, Delta will begin the first nonstop service offered by any major U.S. carrier between New York and Africa with four-times weekly service to Accra, Ghana.
To support the continued growth of the JFK hub, Delta is investing in more than $20 million in renovations to its Terminal 2 and 3 facilities at JFK. Refurbishments under way include the addition of a new, dedicated BusinessElite check-in area in Terminal 2, refurbishing the customs and immigrations entrance, refreshing facilities in Delta’s BusinessElite lounge and Crown Room Clubs, and adding new international check-in kiosks throughout the facility.
Delta’s proposed service between JFK and London will complement an extensive schedule of flights between its three international gateways and the United Kingdom. With the winter schedule, Delta will operate seven peak-day flights between the U.S. and the U.K. with two flights between Atlanta and London, one flight between Atlanta and Edinburgh, one flight between Atlanta and Manchester, one flight between New York-JFK and Manchester, one flight between Cincinnati and London, and the newly proposed flight between New York-JFK and London.
Delta Air Lines (Other OTC: DALRQ) offers customers service to more destinations than any other global airline with Delta and Delta Connection carrier service to more than 290 destinations in 47 countries. With more than 50 new international routes added in the last year, Delta is America’s fastest growing international airline and is the world’s leading carrier between the United States and Europe with flights to 29 trans-Atlantic destinations. To Latin America, Delta offers nearly 500 weekly flights to 47 destinations and is poised to become the second-largest carrier in the region. Delta's marketing alliances also allow customers to earn and redeem SkyMiles on more than 14,000 flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that provides customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. Including its SkyTeam partners, Delta offers flights to 460 worldwide destinations in 97 countries. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes and check flight status at delta.com.
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