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Delta, Northwest Expand International Routes

Delta and Northwest have both announced major international expansion plans yesterday, with Delta, especially, continuing to shift its strategy toward higher yield, lower competition routes.

Delta will begin service next summer from Atlanta to Prague, Vienna, Seoul and Dubai, while they’ll begin service from JFK to Pisa and Bucharest around the same time.  Delta briefly (very briefly) served Dubai just before 9/11.  The carrier hopes to achieve 40% of its revenue from its international operations.  They’re trying a very different approach for a US airline, for the most part avoiding competition and opening new routes where they can command a premium.  Assuming they can get their costs in line, monopoly routes + lie flat beds could mean success for them.  Finally.

Northwest, meanwhile, is introducing new service to Brussels and Dusseldorf from their Detroit hub, as well as nonstop service from Hartford (????) to Amsterdam.  Northwest has had meagre service to Europe compared to its other SkyTeam partners, so this should make people in the midwest quite happy.  Even better, they’re adding about 4 inches of legroom in coach.  Things are finally getting better in the back of the plane.

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  1. Let’s hope with all of the capacity that they are offering from ATL that Delta will convince TSA and ATL airport officials to fix the goat circus that is international arrivals (customs and immigration).

  2. I’m a little skeptical that Delta will find a pot of gold from this strategy. The architect of the plan, Hauenstein, is a former Continental exec. In the past decade, Continental morphed into a major international player, but they didn’t do it overnight. Delta is trying to do it overnight. If these transatlantic routes are so great, why didn’t Continental do them — epsecially since they have the single best transaltantic hub (Newark) on this side of the Atlantic?

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