ATLANTA, May 16, 2006 – Today’s opening of the fifth runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport sets the stage for additional domestic and international expansion, along with improved on-time performance, for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines – the largest airline at the world’s largest airport. Delta anticipates the fifth runway will immediately improve arrival and departure rates by 25-35 percent and significantly reduce delays for customers flying to, from or through Atlanta during severe weather and peak travel periods.
“On behalf of Delta customers worldwide, I’d like to thank the City of Atlanta, the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration for their leadership and support in increasing capacity and operational efficiency at the world’s largest airport at a critical point in our airline’s history,” said CEO Gerald Grinstein. “Piece by piece, Delta is making certain we deliver the service and product features our customers value. Those include refurbished aircraft interiors, industry-leading digital in-flight entertainment, enhanced meal service and expanded airport technology, as well as the fundamentals, such as the improved on-time performance throughout our global network that increased capacity at our largest hub will provide.
“More than 40 percent of Delta customers fly to, from or through Atlanta and we are confident that Hartsfield-Jackson’s new runway will positively impact on-time performance and reduce congestion beyond our flagship hub with benefits delivered to our customers around the world,” Grinstein continued.
With its summer 2006 schedule, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers will offer more than 1,000 peak-day departures to nearly 230 nonstop destinations from Atlanta – more than any airline at any other hub in the world. Delta and Delta Connection departures from Atlanta this summer will touch customers in 40 countries and 49 U.S. states.
To celebrate the opening of the new runway, Delta today will fly more than 200 national and local dignitaries onboard the first departure and arrival on Runway 10-28 using the international-range Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. Delta uses the 767 on nearly all international flights, signifying the importance of the new fifth runway in Delta’s quest to offer customers service to more worldwide destinations than any other carrier this year.
Since the fourth runway opened in Atlanta in 1984, Delta has increased the number of international destinations served from Atlanta by more than tenfold – including the introduction of expanded service to Europe with the acquisition of PanAm’s trans-Atlantic routes in 1991, the first nonstop service to South America in 1997, the first nonstop service across the Pacific in 1998, and most recently the largest international expansion in Delta history with the announcement of more than 25 new international routes from Atlanta since September, including the airline’s first service between Atlanta and Africa slated for December 2006**.
The fifth runway’s additional capacity also will assist Delta in continuing to grow the number of domestic destinations served from Hartsfield-Jackson. Since September, Delta has announced the introduction of more than 20 new nonstop destinations from Atlanta.
“For more than 65 years Delta has called Atlanta home and we are proud to enter the next chapter in our history with the opening of the fifth runway,” Grinstein said. “Delta and Atlanta have long been partners in making aviation history, starting with the introduction of the hub-and-spoke concept here in the 1950s to the rise of Hartsfield-Jackson as the world’s largest airport in the 1990s to the securing of Atlanta’s stature as a global city for the 21st century. The continued growth of our hub-and-spoke operation in Atlanta depends on the improved on-time performance that the fifth runway will provide. In the coming years, customers can expect more on-time Delta flights to more global destinations from Atlanta thanks this historic milestone in the expansion of our hometown airport.”
Delta Air Lines and the City of Atlanta began their partnership in 1941, when the airline made the historic decision to relocate its headquarters from Monroe, La. to Atlanta. Today, Delta employs more than 25,000 people in metro Atlanta with an estimated annual economic impact of $12 billion.
Delta’s flagship hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s largest airline hub. With its summer 2006 schedule, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers will offer more than 1,000 peak-day departures to nearly 230 non-stop destinations from Atlanta – more non-stop flights and destinations than any airline hub in the world. Delta’s Atlanta hub is the fastest growing international gateway in the United States, with more than 25 new international markets announced since September 2005. Delta also continues to expand the number of domestic destinations it serves from Atlanta, including more than 20 new non-stop destinations added or announced since September 2005. This December, Delta will make history in Atlanta again as it enters a new continent from the hub for the first time since 1997 with new service to Dakar, Senegal and Johannesburg, South Africa (via Dakar)**.
Delta Air Lines (Other OTC: DALRQ) is one of the world’s fastest growing international carriers with more than 50 new international routes added or announced in the last year. Delta offers flights to 447 destinations in 96 countries on Delta, Delta Shuttle, the Delta Connection carriers and its worldwide partners. In summer 2006, Delta plans to offer customers more destinations and departures between the U.S., Europe, India and Israel than any global airline*, including service on 11 new trans-Atlantic routes from its Atlanta and New York-JFK hubs.
Delta also is a major carrier to Mexico, South and Central America and the Caribbean, with nearly 40 routes announced, added or applied to serve since Jan. 1, 2005. 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. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes and check flight status at delta.com.
*From the U.S., based on July 2006 OAG
**Subject to foreign government approvals
Highlights from today's event will include 5th runway takeoff/landing, water cannon salute, dignitary comments, time-lapsed runway photos and more.
Feed date: Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Feed time: 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EDT