On Thursday May 27th, Delta announced that it will “strategically” adjust its flight schedule during the northern summer. Between July 1st and August 7th, it will reduce its services by about 100 departures per day, primarily in the US and Latin American markets. “This will create additional resiliency in our system and improve operational reliability for our customers and employees,” the company said.
According to the aviation data analytics company Cirium, in July the number of seats offered by Delta across its network is 13.8% lower than during the same month in 2019, close to the average seen this year (although 10.7% higher than 2021).
More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation are resulting in an operation that isn’t consistently up to the standards of DeltaAllison Ausband, Delta’s chief customer experience officer
In recent months, the Atlanta-based airline had already made adjustments to its schedule in order to minimize contingencies and improve preparedness for widespread cancellations or delays. In the same sense, and shortly before the beginning of one of the busiest air travel seasons of the year, the new measures will seek to optimize the services offered.
The company has highlighted the growing demand observed in recent times, in a context of general easing of travel restrictions and reopening of routes. “Rebuilding Delta’s large-scale operation to serve the growing number of customers who want to fly with us has been a great feat, not without its challenges,” the company said.
Delta expected to carry 2.5 million passengers over Memorial Day weekend, which was commemorated this year on May 30th. The figure represents a 25% increase over the same period in 2021. The three-day break also marks the beginning of the peak travel season.
Allison Ausband, Delta’s director of customer experience, remarked that more than at any previous time in the company’s history, factors affecting scheduling are resulting in an operation that is not consistently living up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years.
Circumstances such as summer weather, air traffic management and potential Covid-19 contagions resulting in unscheduled absences for the company’s own staff and suppliers may affect the planned service schedule. Delta remarked that it is working to offer relocation alternatives at no cost in cases of weather-related cancellations.
Delta also highlighted other measures to improve overall service, including working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to optimize air traffic management processes, hiring staff and implementing measures to streamline boarding processes.
According to CNN, JetBlue announced in April that it would cut between 8% to 10% of its summer schedule due to “industry challenges”. A similar action was seen when Alaska Airlines reduced its schedule by about 2% through June to cope with issues of capacity among its pilots.