ATLANTA, July 26, 2007 – Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), supported by a broad coalition of customers, employees, civic officials and businesses, today strengthened its case before the U.S. Department of Transportation to introduce the first and only nonstop flights between China and the U.S. Southeast.  In an answer filed with the DOT addressing competing applications, Delta urged the DOT to select its application because:

  • Delta would be a new entrant and new competition should be encouraged. If entrenched carriers United and Northwest are awarded additional service to China in 2009, 75 percent of service between the U.S. and China will be operated by these two airlines. Delta, meanwhile, will bring new competition and service from a new gateway that will likely result in lower fares and better service for more consumers.
  • The Southeastern United States is critically underserved, and will remain so unless Delta is awarded rights to serve China from Atlanta. The Southeast region’s population of 65 million is larger than the population of any other U.S. region that currently enjoys nonstop service to China and is projected to grow at a faster rate than any other region.
  • Atlanta, the world’s largest airline hub, would be a powerful new gateway to China, connecting more underserved communities to China than any other proposed gateway with more than 1,000 daily departures.

“No matter the competition, Delta’s proposal is far superior to those of our competitors and will deliver the greatest benefit to the flying public,” said Delta Chief Operating Officer Jim Whitehurst. “Our proposed nonstop service from the world’s largest airline hub in Atlanta to Shanghai and Beijing will fill a critical void in air travel today by providing the 65 million residents of the Southeast with direct access to the world’s fastest growing economy.”

Delta’s “Next Gateway to China” campaign, which launched officially on June 21, has already won broad support from elected officials, business leaders and the traveling public across the Southeast. In less than a month, more than 30,000 new supporters have signed Delta’s online petition at

Additionally, Delta’s application has the support of a broad coalition of elected officials, business leaders, trade associations and tourism organizations, including 10 U.S. representatives, two U.S. senators, 12 governors, 17 state legislators, 28 mayors and county executives, 16 business and tourism organizations, 59 Southeastern-based companies and 13 Chinese professional associations.

Delta plans to provide daily nonstop service between Atlanta and China using its flagship Boeing 777 aircraft in a two-class configuration featuring BusinessElite, Delta’s award-winning business class service.  Additionally, Delta plans to introduce fully horizontal lie-flat seats on its Boeing 777 fleet beginning in 2008, with new in-seat entertainment system offering on-demand, digital video and music at every suite.

A complete copy of Delta’s rebuttal filing will be made available from the Department of Transportation Web site at, Docket No. OST-07-28567.

Delta Air Lines offers customers service to more destinations than any global airline with Delta and Delta Connection carrier service to 333 destinations in 57 countries. With more than 60 new international routes introduced in the last year, Delta has added more international capacity than all other U.S. airlines combined and is the leader across the Atlantic with flights to 36 trans-Atlantic destinations. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offers nearly 700 weekly flights to more than 60 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 479 worldwide destinations in 105 countries. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes and check flight status at