Since mid-March, Delta has helped repatriate to the United States more than 28,000 people who were displaced due to travel in response to the COVID-19.
Many Delta teams, including Airport Customer Service, Charters, Flight Operations, Global Sales, Government Affairs, and In-Flight Services, are working together to navigate the challenges that come with these travel restrictions.
Delta is coordinating with the U.S. State Department and foreign governments to receive the proper approvals before flying. Due to this coordination, Delta has been able to plan and operate more than 100 charters to more than 20 countries/territories – including Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines and South Korea. Delta people have also ground-handled charters operated by other airlines, assisting with arrivals from EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, Fiji Airways and Delta partner LATAM.
“Delta has an important role to play in the response to COVID-19, from providing flights for medical professionals to repatriating citizens who have been displaced,” said Bill Wernecke, Delta’s Managing Director of Charter Operations. “Over the last four weeks, we have brought home more than 28,000 people, and we will continue to work with the government and our customers to help people get home safely in the midst of this unprecedented crisis.”
Delta’s Salt Lake City team has handled many charter flights over the past few weeks, including 27 international aircrafts bringing people home from Africa, Asia, South America and the South Pacific. The team on the ramp, including baggage handlers and ground service equipment operators, have handled an average of 650 bags per charter flight, and the Airport Coordination Center has accommodated aircrafts that have never before been seen at the Salt Lake City hub - including A350, A330-900neo, and Boeing 777 aircrafts.
More repatriation flights are scheduled and in the works, including two flights from Havana, Cuba scheduled for Friday, April 24 and the eighth trip from Mumbai, India on April 30. As restrictions extend and change, Delta continues to work closely with the U.S. State Department and other groups to determine how it can help with future repatriation missions around the world.