ATLANTA, Nov. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) today named Holden Shannon senior vice president – Corporate Strategy and Real Estate and a member of the airline's Corporate Leadership Team, a committee of Delta's most senior executives responsible for the airline's overall strategy. Prior to joining Delta, Shannon spent 15 years at Continental Airlines.

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Shannon's appointment is one of several organizational changes reflecting Delta's focus on investing in its product, improving the customer experience and continuing to strengthen its global network.  

"With our merger integration substantially complete, these strategic management changes reflect our focus on planning for Delta's future," said Richard Anderson, Delta's chief executive. "Holden will be an important member of our team as we execute Delta's global strategy."

A broadly experienced senior airline executive, Shannon most recently served as senior vice president – System Operations and Real Estate at Continental where he was responsible for the airline's operations control and flight dispatch, operational planning and analysis and crew scheduling, worldwide real estate and environmental programs.  Shannon holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree in managerial studies from Rice University.  He will join Delta Nov. 1 and live in Atlanta with his wife and two children.

"A broadly experienced senior airline executive with a solid track record, Holden's strong personal character and management skills are consistent with Delta's values and principles," said Delta President Ed Bastian.

In addition to leading Delta's corporate strategy, Shannon will leverage his prior industry experience to oversee the completion of two new international facilities planned for Delta's largest international gateways at Atlanta and New York-JFK.  Delta recently announced plans for a $1.2 billion expansion of JFK's Terminal 4 to be completed by May 2013 and is working with the City of Atlanta on a new $1.4 billion international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to be completed by April 2012.  Shannon will report to Delta President Ed Bastian.

With Shannon's addition, two long-time Delta leaders will move to new roles to support focus areas of the airline's long-term plan.

Wayne Aaron, who successfully led the project management office overseeing Delta's merger integration, will transition from his current role as vice president – Corporate Strategy and Business Development to vice president – Marketing Programs and Distribution Strategy, reporting to Tim Mapes, Delta's senior vice president – Marketing.  Aaron will lead Delta's electronic distribution strategy and support product innovation, focus city initiatives and other marketing efforts. He will play a critical role as Delta focuses on improving the customer experience, with an investment of more than $2 billion in full-flat beds on trans-oceanic aircraft, expanded in-flight entertainment, new Sky Clubs and new international terminals planned over the next three years.

Jeff Arinder, who currently serves as Delta's managing director – Network Strategy, will be promoted to vice president – Corporate Strategy and Business Development, reporting to Holden Shannon. John Boatright, vice president – Corporate Real Estate, also will report to Shannon.

"Together we executed the industry's largest, and most successful, merger," Bastian said in a memo to employees. "I look forward to turning this energy toward our renewed commitment to investing in product and customer service as we continue to build a better airline for our employees, shareholders and customers."  

Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 348 destinations in 64 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs more than 75,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. A founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance, Delta participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 13,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. The airline's service includes the SkyMiles frequent flier program, the world's largest airline loyalty program; the award-winning BusinessElite service; and more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs in airports worldwide. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and review flight status at

SOURCE Delta Air Lines