ATLANTA, May 24, 2007 – Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is making flying regional jets fun again with the introduction of more First Class seats, enhanced snack and beverage service, and improved airport amenities for customers flying Delta Connection carriers to and from major U.S. hubs.
Building on a fleet of 63 two-class regional jets already planned for service by the end of 2008, Delta is replacing 14 CRJ aircraft currently in service with new Bombardier CRJ900s featuring 12 First Class seats. With the additional aircraft, Delta Connection carriers will operate one of the industry’s largest two-class regional jet fleets with 77 aircraft in service by the end of 2008, including 61 76-seat Bombardier CRJ900s and 16 70-seat Embraer 170s.
"A decade ago Delta Connection was the first program using regional jets in North America, making it possible for more customers and communities to be connected conveniently and comfortably to our major hubs,” said Jim Whitehurst, Delta’s chief operating officer. “Today, we mark the next milestone in the evolution of regional flying by making Delta Connection service more like Delta mainline, with more First Class seats, improved onboard snack and beverage service, and a more seamless travel experience with mainline jets.
In addition to fleet improvements, Delta also is investing in improved facilities and customer amenities for Delta Connection customers throughout its system. Planned improvements include:
- Assuming responsibility for all airport customer service and baggage handling for Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines at Delta’s largest hub in Atlanta, effective June 1;
- Adding jet bridges to offer customers covered boarding to Delta Connection flights at Concourse C in Atlanta;
- Creating a new organization within Delta with sole accountability for Delta Connection performance, including operations and commercial fleet planning;
- Replacing seat cushions throughout the Delta Connection fleet for increased customer comfort;
- Implementing Delta’s cleaning program at Atlantic Southeast Airlines and Comair with plans to roll it out to all Delta Connection carriers; and,
- Featuring Delta’s Midnight Sky Signature Cocktail Program and complimentary snack service onboard all Delta Connection flights.
“Delta continues to listen to our customers who have told us that they prefer the option of First Class seats and enhanced service on the ground when they fly on Delta Connection,” Whitehurst said. “Our investment in additional two-class RJs, as well as continued investments in the customer experience at our airports, is a critical step in ensuring that customers who fly Delta and Delta Connection can expect similar levels of service on any size of airplane, from our regional jets to our flagship Boeing 777.”
Currently, Delta Connection carriers Shuttle America, SkyWest, Freedom Airlines and Pinnacle Airlines operate or are scheduled to operate two-class regional jets for Delta. Later today, Delta will announce which Delta Connection partner will operate the additional two-class jets.
The Delta Connection program is the world’s largest operator of regional jet aircraft with more than 470 aircraft in operation throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with Delta Connection carriers Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Big Sky Airlines, Chautauqua Airlines, Comair, ExpressJet Airlines, Freedom Airlines, Pinnacle Airlines, Shuttle America and SkyWest. Delta Connection’s regional jets feed flights to and from Delta’s largest hubs and allow Delta to offer customers multiple frequencies and attractive fares, as well as nonstop service, in many small- to mid-size cities.
Delta Air Lines offers customers service to more destinations than any global airline with Delta and Delta Connection carrier service to 311 destinations in 52 countries. With more than 60 new international routes added in the last year, Delta is adding international flights at a faster rate than any other major U.S. airline and is a leader across the Atlantic with flights to 32 trans-Atlantic destinations. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offers more than 600 weekly flights to 58 destinations. Delta's marketing alliances also allow customers to earn and redeem SkyMiles on nearly 15,000 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 and worldwide codeshare partners, Delta offers flights to 462 worldwide destinations in 98 countries. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes and check flight status at delta.com.
Statements in this news release that are not historical facts, including statements regarding our estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections or strategies for the future, may be “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections and strategies reflected in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the actions and decisions of our creditors and other third parties with continuing interests arising in connection with our Chapter 11 proceedings; the cost of aircraft fuel; the impact that our indebtedness will have on our financial and operating activities and our ability to incur additional debt; the restrictions that financial covenants in our financing agreements will have on our financial and business operations; labor issues; interruptions or disruptions in service at one of our hub airports; our increasing dependence on technology in our operations; our ability to retain management and key employees; the effects of terrorist attacks; and competitive conditions in the airline industry.
Additional information concerning risks and uncertainties that could cause differences between actual results and forward-looking statements is contained in Delta’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including its Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006, filed on March 2, 2007.
Caution should be taken not to place undue reliance on Delta’s forward-looking statements, which represent Delta’s views only as of May 24, 2007, and which Delta has no current intention to update.
News media note: Delta Connection Carrier fact sheet is available at http://news.delta.com > Research.