TOKYO, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) today unveiled plans for the complete revitalization of its fleet of Boeing 747-400 aircraft flying primarily from the Tokyo-Narita hub. Between summer 2011 and 2012, Delta will equip each of its 16 747-400s with new fully horizontal flat-bed seats in the BusinessElite cabin and new Economy class seats featuring personal, on-demand entertainment, increased personal space and added under-seat storage.
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The investments are the latest in Delta's previously announced plan to invest more than $1 billion in enhanced global products and services through 2013. When complete, Delta will offer full flat-bed seats on more than 100 trans-oceanic aircraft, including all Boeing 777s, 767s and 747s, and will feature personal, in-seat entertainment for both BusinessElite and Economy class customers on all widebody flights.
"The multimillion dollar investment we are making to completely revitalize our trans-oceanic fleet speaks to our strong commitment to the Asian market," Delta President Ed Bastian said in a press briefing here today. "While we have solidly positioned ourselves as the leading U.S. carrier across the Pacific in terms of flights and destinations, we are now taking steps to enhance the products and services offered across our Asian-Pacific network to position Delta as a leader in in-flight service."
The 747 upgrades will bring substantial changes to both decks of the aircraft's BusinessElite cabin. The new, custom-designed product will feature 48 horizontal flat-bed seats with direct aisle access at each seat. Window seats will face the window for improved privacy and center seats will be angled toward each other for the convenience of customers traveling together.
The new seat, manufactured by Weber Aircraft LLC, will be 81.7 inches in length and 20.5 inches wide, similar to the flat-bed product currently offered on Delta's 777-200LR fleet. It also will feature a 120-volt universal power outlet, USB port, personal LED reading lamp and Panasonic's 15.4 inch personal video monitors with instant access to 250 new and classic movies, premium programming from HBO and Showtime, video games and more than 4,000 digital music tracks.
"The design of our flat-bed product meets customers' desire for comfortable sleep, direct aisle access and ample storage and work space when they travel on long-haul flights," Bastian said. "We have had great success from a customer service and business standpoint with flat-bed service since it first rolled out on our 777 fleet, and we expect similar results when customers experience our new trans-Pacific 747 and 767 BusinessElite product beginning next year."
In the last year, Delta has improved meal service in BusinessElite across the Pacific with the introduction of personal, hand-served entrees, signature dishes created by celebrity chef Michele Bernstein and master sommelier Andrea Robinson, expanded dessert options and improved Japanese meal options created by Delta's flight kitchen in Tokyo.
Economy class improvements
Customers in Economy class on the 747-400 will benefit from the industry's first seat designed collaboratively by a seat manufacturer and an in-flight entertainment company, Weber Aircraft and Panasonic Avionics Corporation, to fully incorporate seat and entertainment functionality into one product. Using a nine-inch screen, the new seat's embedded touch-screen entertainment system will offer each customer access to 250 movie titles, hundreds of television shows, 4,000 digital music tracks, personalized music playlists, more than a dozen interactive games and a USB port to charge iPods and other personal electronic devices.
The new seats offer up to 1.5 inches more personal space and increased under-seat storage through a "slimline" design that more efficiently uses cabin space than the older, heavier seats they replace. The upgraded seats also feature adjustable headrests and deliver environmental benefits through the Panasonic Eco 9i Integrated Smart Monitors that use 30 percent less energy and are 60 percent lighter than entertainment systems installed on other Delta aircraft.
Delta's 747s are dedicated largely to trans-Pacific and intra-Asia flights to and from the Tokyo-Narita hub, including routes connecting Tokyo to Detroit, Honolulu, Manila, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK and Shanghai.
When reconfigured, the 747s will accommodate 386 customers with 48 BusinessElite seats and 338 Economy class seats.
Delta in Asia
During the last several years, Delta has significantly increased its service across Asia-Pacific, expanding from 222 weekly departures in summer 2006 to 275 in summer 2010. Recently added routes include Tokyo-Narita to New York-JFK and Salt Lake City (June 2009); Shanghai to Detroit (June 2009); Sydney to Los Angeles (July 2009); Osaka to Seattle (June 2010); Beijing to Seattle (June 2010); Seoul-Incheon to Detroit (June 2010); Hong Kong to Detroit (June 2010); Nagoya to Honolulu (December 2010); and Tokyo-Narita to Palau (December 2010).
Delta also has announced plans to begin new nonstop service between Tokyo-Haneda and Detroit and Los Angeles in 2011.
"As the leading U.S. carrier to the region, we are solidly positioned to continue to expand convenience and choice for Asia-originating or Asia-bound travelers in one of the world's fastest growing travel markets," Bastian said. "Our history of investment in the region is underscored by our more than 2,300 Pacific-based employees in nine countries and our continued commitment to expansion and product renewal."
Additionally, Delta continues to expand its alliance relationships across the region with Vietnam Airlines joining the global SkyTeam alliance in June and the announcement that China Eastern Airlines will join the alliance in 2011.
Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. With its unsurpassed global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 354 destinations in 65 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 50 Delta Sky Clubs in airports worldwide. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and review flight status at delta.com.
SOURCE Delta Air Lines