This year is off to a record-breaking start as Delta over the weekend ended a more than 13-day streak of zero mainline cancellations. Not a one.
For 318.9 hours ending Sunday, the global airline flew 39,801 cancel-free mainline flight operations, beating Delta’s previous record of 279.3 hours by more than a day and a half. And if that wasn’t precedent-setting enough, the Delta Connection operation knocked out a roughly five-day streak without a cancellation from Wednesday, April 27 until mid-afternoon Sunday.
The accomplishment came despite several days of air traffic control-driven ground delay programs in busy Northeast and West Coast airspace corridors. Teams in the OCC, TechOps, Flight Ops, In-Flight Services and Airport Customer Service, among others also worked to navigate a higher-than-average number of aircraft out of service and limited crew member availability.
On Wednesday, April 27, for example, 37 aircraft were out of scheduled service—something that in year’s past would have driven numerous compounding cancellations.
“Delta people have accomplished what is singularly the biggest feat of operational excellence we’ve ever experienced, breaking last year’s already astounding cancel-free record and providing unmatched reliability for our customers,” said Dave Holtz, Delta's Senior Vice President —Operations and Customer Center. “And the best part is I’m sure the Delta team will soon beat this record as well.”
So far this year, Delta has clocked 70 mainline cancel-free days, compared to roughly 40 last year. The combined mainline and Delta Connection operation has seen 18 “brand perfect” days in the first four months of the year, compared to zero at this point last year.
A cancel-free operation between both the mainline and Delta’s connection carriers is a somewhat recent accomplishment as Delta and its partners have worked to collectively improve the Delta-branded operation. On June 29 last year, Delta and the six-carrier regional portfolio did just that for the first time.
“The Delta team and our partner carriers certainly didn’t stop after our first combined cancel-free day,” said Holtz. “Our people continue to knock it out of the park and do what no other airline has ever done before.”