Over the past two years, Delta has rolled out a significant international expansion, focusing on serving secondary markets from JFK and Atlanta. There was lots of debate among airline types about whether this was:
a) A smart strategy, allowing them to jump into under-served markets (a la Continental); or
b) Doomed from the start, since if these markets were worth pursuing, someone would have pursued them already. Plus, some were too far to allow for 757 service, forcing them to use the larger 767 which was difficult to fill profitably (ie, full of business passengers) on these routes.
It’s looking increasingly as if those who chose “B” were correct. I’ve done a quick analysis (using the obsessively detailed Airline Route Updates) and here are the canceled routes from that much-ballyhooed international plan:
(Some are seasonal, some are permanent, some are called seasonal but are probably permanent)
Add those to the previously announced list of African cities it will not be serving, and it would appear that, for the most part, the international experiment is over. Yes, some of those European routes will resurface during the summer, but Delta is still trying to figure out the best long-term strategy.