DL TATL schedule sustainable?

Old Aug 8, 20, 3:17 pm
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DL TATL schedule sustainable?

I've had a lot of time the last couple days and have been looking at everything flying across the ocean this summer, particularly on DL. Ex AMS today there are three departures to ATL alone (2x DL, 1x KL). With both countries essentially closed to each other, can this be sustainable? Does anyone have any idea what load factors on these flights look like right now? What about the DTW, SEA, BOS, JFK flights?

I would welcome any thoughts or anecdotes of people who have flown between the two continents lately.
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Old Aug 8, 20, 8:55 pm
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Originally Posted by liquidtoast View Post
I've had a lot of time the last couple days and have been looking at everything flying across the ocean this summer, particularly on DL. Ex AMS today there are three departures to ATL alone (2x DL, 1x KL). With both countries essentially closed to each other, can this be sustainable? Does anyone have any idea what load factors on these flights look like right now? What about the DTW, SEA, BOS, JFK flights?

I would welcome any thoughts or anecdotes of people who have flown between the two continents lately.
Definitely not closed. There is some traffic on these routes. I flew IAD-AMS on KLM in July. It was the first day KLM operated the route since March, maybe 50 passengers on the outbound (A330). My return only had about 30 passengers. They had 8 people at Dulles doing all the health screenings, but since we were the only international arrival at the time it only took a few minutes to process everyone. Some of the crew said they are flying more cargo than normal, because it's probably not sustainable with passenger loads alone. I assume Delta is similar.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 2:10 am
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Cargo is the keyword. And I know they wouldn't hesitate to shut any flight down if it wasn't worth it in this environment. I don't think they're like keeping it running for the slot or anything like that. Cargo, cargo, cargo. It even made KE a hefty profit this quarter, for example.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 9:53 am
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Cargo, plus there are a bunch of people with international marriages (or children with different citizenship), dual citizenship, or citizenship and permanent residence on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Other categories that can travel freely include anyone in any sort of diplomatic post plus family, all employees of international organizations plus family, military plus family, and then those traveling for health care, first responder, or other essential work.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 10:03 am
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I myself fall into the dual citizenship category, but am finding it hard to believe that there are really that many people who are able (or willing to) travel at the moment. I'm glad to see so many links restored though, so that those who need or want to travel have choices again. They must really be moving a lot of cargo.

Anecdotally, a good friend recently travelled YYZ-AMS and CDG-YYZ on KL and AF and while the outbound was fairly busy, the return in particular was wiped. I suppose a lot of Canadians must not be making use of their ability to enter the EU - perhaps the quarantine on return is a deterrent.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 10:54 am
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I think the short answer is.. nothing in aviation is sustainable right now. I assume you are asking "why 3X daily flights instead of 1X?" - in which case there probably is an answer. Others have mentioned cargo which is definitely a component, but 3X daily ATL-AMS flights is a bit misleading in terms of overall passenger volumes.

Keep in mind that:
  • AMS/CDG/LHR-US Secondary cities are gone. There is no MCO-AMS, CVG-AMS, or RDU-AMS. Heck, there's not even an MSP-AMS or SLC-AMS right now. This means that any any city that is trying to get to AMS (or even connect in AMS) is going to have to go through ATL, DTW, JFK, LAX, or SEA whereas before you could go nonstop from HOU, ORD, MIA, LAS, and so on.
  • ATL/JFK/DTW-European Secondary cities are gone. This means that if you are trying to get anywhere in Europe that Delta used to fly nonstop, you're now connecting in AMS (or possibly CDG).
  • Planes are capped at ~60% capacity meaning that more flights are needed for the same capacity

On a capacity-adjusted basis, taking 1, 2, and 3, it's the equivalent of probably 100+ TATL flights getting collapsed down to maybe 10 (across all of Delta's hubs). And of course, even those are flying only half full on restricted capacity.

So no, it's not sustainable (cargo helps, but cargo rates have started to normalize a bit). On the flip side, even 3 flights a day out of ATL - which seems like a lot - is still a reflection of a 90%+ drop in total TATL lift even if on that particular route the capacity drop is far less.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 11:01 am
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Originally Posted by liquidtoast View Post
I myself fall into the dual citizenship category, but am finding it hard to believe that there are really that many people who are able (or willing to) travel at the moment. I'm glad to see so many links restored though, so that those who need or want to travel have choices again. They must really be moving a lot of cargo.

Anecdotally, a good friend recently travelled YYZ-AMS and CDG-YYZ on KL and AF and while the outbound was fairly busy, the return in particular was wiped. I suppose a lot of Canadians must not be making use of their ability to enter the EU - perhaps the quarantine on return is a deterrent.
I was shocked there weren't more people willing to travel. You don't realize how bad things are in the US until you see how good they are in Europe. My time there felt like military leave, and now I feel like I'm back in a war zone. I'm already planning another trip.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 11:16 am
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Originally Posted by liquidtoast View Post
I've had a lot of time the last couple days and have been looking at everything flying across the ocean this summer, particularly on DL. Ex AMS today there are three departures to ATL alone (2x DL, 1x KL). With both countries essentially closed to each other, can this be sustainable? Does anyone have any idea what load factors on these flights look like right now? What about the DTW, SEA, BOS, JFK flights?

I would welcome any thoughts or anecdotes of people who have flown between the two continents lately.
A few thoughts:

1. The Summer TATL schedules were devised at a time when the prevailing assumption was that some significant amount of international; travel would be possible by mid-to-late summer. The hopes of April/May have, of course, given way to the realities of the present.

2. Delta's joint venture with AF/KL/VS means capacity decisions are undertaken in concert with those airlines. Specifically, the JV's terms require each airline to adhere to agreed-to capacity ratios as much as possible, or else face penalties in the distributions of monies from the JV. So are there probably some TATL flights DL would rather not operate? Sure, but it might be cheaper to operate the half empty flight than to take a financial hit from falling below minimum capacity requirements.

On a related note, labor also factors into the equation insofar as Delta must not appear to be "outsourcing" its overseas flying to its partners.

3. The TATL schedule becomes far more realistic into September and especially October. Look at how little flying will take place this winter as a contrast.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 12:55 pm
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TATL Summer 2021

DL made changes to the winter 2020-21 schedules and summer 2021 schedules for TATL this past weekend. Of course both will change about 500 or more times each from now till then, but itís still interesting to see where DLís priorities lie and what they consider important in the network and which areas they think traffic will return first:

For summer 2021 TATL (Europe/Africa/Israel/India) compared to summer 2020 schedule:

JFK: 5 of 27 nonstop routes suspended:
Suspended: SNN, GLA, CPH, PRG, BOM
Planned for S21: LHR, EDI, DUB, AMS, BRU, CDG, NCE, FRA, BER, ZRH, MXP, VCE, FCO, ATH, MAD, BCN,
LIS, KEF, TLV, DSS, ACC, LOS.

ATL: 5 of 17 nonstop routes suspended
Suspended: MXP, VCE, BRU, ZRH, DUS
Planned for S21: LHR, DUB, AMS, CDG, FRA, MUC, STR, FCO, MAD, BCN, LOS, JNB/CPT

DTW: 2 of 6 nonstop routes suspended
Suspended: MUC, FCO
Planned for S21: LHR, AMS, CDG, FRA

MSP: 1 of 4 nonstop routes suspended
Suspended: KEF
Planned for S21: LHR, AMS, CDG

BOS: 5 of 9 nonstop routes suspended
Suspended: LGW*, MAN*, EDI, LIS, FCO*
Planned for S21: LHR, DUB, AMS, CDG
*never even got to start as they were new for 2020

SEA: no drops, AMS and CDG still planned

SLC: only keeping AMS; CDG and LHR dropped

LAX: keeping CDG but dropping AMS

PDX: keeping AMS but dropping LHR

RDU-CDG: still planned for S21

CVG-CDG: still planned for S21

IND-CDG, MCO-AMS, TPA-AMS: all suspended right now for S21

So in total out of 76 nonstop routes across the Atlantic, they are keeping 52 so far for S21, which would be considered the peak of their TATL network for 2021.

Last edited by ClipperDelta; Aug 9, 20 at 1:14 pm
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Old Aug 9, 20, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by ClipperDelta View Post
DL made changes to the winter 2020-21 schedules and summer 2021 schedules for TATL this past weekend. Of course both will change about 500 or more times each from now till then, but itís still interesting to see where DLís priorities lie and what they consider important in the network and which areas they think traffic will return first:

For summer 2021 TATL (Europe/Africa/Israel/India) compared to summer 2020 schedule:

ATL: 5 of 17 nonstop routes suspended
Suspended: MXP, VCE, BRU, ZRH, DUS
Planned for S21: LHR, DUB, AMS, CDG, FRA, MUC, STR, FCO, MAD, BCN, LOS, JNB

So in total out of 76 nonstop routes across the Atlantic, they are keeping 52 so far for S21, which would be considered the peak of their TATL network for 2021.
I'm assuming the JNB includes CPT with the new "triangle" routing?
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Old Aug 9, 20, 1:13 pm
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Originally Posted by DCAhome View Post
I'm assuming the JNB includes CPT with the new "triangle" routing?
yes, sorry it does..I will amend my post
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Old Aug 9, 20, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by ClipperDelta View Post
DL made changes to the winter 2020-21 schedules and summer 2021 schedules for TATL this past weekend. Of course both will change about 500 or more times each from now till then, but itís still interesting to see where DLís priorities lie and what they consider important in the network and which areas they think traffic will return first:

For summer 2021 TATL (Europe/Africa/Israel/India) compared to summer 2020 schedule:

JFK: 5 of 27 nonstop routes suspended:
Suspended: SNN, GLA, CPH, PRG, BOM
Planned for S21: LHR, EDI, DUB, AMS, BRU, CDG, NCE, FRA, BER, ZRH, MXP, VCE, FCO, ATH, MAD, BCN,
LIS, KEF, TLV, DSS, ACC, LOS.

ATL: 5 of 17 nonstop routes suspended
Suspended: MXP, VCE, BRU, ZRH, DUS
Planned for S21: LHR, DUB, AMS, CDG, FRA, MUC, STR, FCO, MAD, BCN, LOS, JNB/CPT

DTW: 2 of 6 nonstop routes suspended
Suspended: MUC, FCO
Planned for S21: LHR, AMS, CDG, FRA

MSP: 1 of 4 nonstop routes suspended
Suspended: KEF
Planned for S21: LHR, AMS, CDG

BOS: 5 of 9 nonstop routes suspended
Suspended: LGW*, MAN*, EDI, LIS, FCO*
Planned for S21: LHR, DUB, AMS, CDG
*never even got to start as they were new for 2020

SEA: no drops, AMS and CDG still planned

SLC: only keeping AMS; CDG and LHR dropped

LAX: keeping CDG but dropping AMS

PDX: keeping AMS but dropping LHR

RDU-CDG: still planned for S21

CVG-CDG: still planned for S21

IND-CDG, MCO-AMS, TPA-AMS: all suspended right now for S21

So in total out of 76 nonstop routes across the Atlantic, they are keeping 52 so far for S21, which would be considered the peak of their TATL network for 2021.
And, really nice summary. Much appreciated!
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Old Aug 9, 20, 1:17 pm
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Oh Wise Delta FlyerTalkers,

Last Thursday near O'Hare I saw a Delta 777 fly over me. I was shocked to see a Delta wide body in Chicago and equally curious that a 777, that I thought had been phased out of the Delta fleet was still flying. I checked Plane Finder and noted that the Destination was Frankfurt. I forgot the flight number but I think it was DL 2406.
Has Delta added Chicago as an Emphasis Market and running non-stops TATL or is this the pre- cursor to the imminent Delta-United Merger ?
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Old Aug 9, 20, 2:15 pm
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Originally Posted by gpicur View Post
Oh Wise Delta FlyerTalkers,

Last Thursday near O'Hare I saw a Delta 777 fly over me. I was shocked to see a Delta wide body in Chicago and equally curious that a 777, that I thought had been phased out of the Delta fleet was still flying. I checked Plane Finder and noted that the Destination was Frankfurt. I forgot the flight number but I think it was DL 2406.
Has Delta added Chicago as an Emphasis Market and running non-stops TATL or is this the pre- cursor to the imminent Delta-United Merger ?
Itís an all-cargo flight DL has been operating since April or so. The flight number is in the 33XX range which means itís an all-cargo flight. Other similar flights include DL3320 JFK-BOM and DL3322 ATL-BOM; both are all-cargo flights using pax 777s right now.
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Old Aug 9, 20, 5:06 pm
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Originally Posted by gpicur View Post
Last Thursday near O'Hare I saw a Delta 777 fly over me. I was shocked to see a Delta wide body in Chicago and equally curious that a 777, that I thought had been phased out of the Delta fleet was still flying.
I think the original announcement was that they'd be gone by the end of the year -- forget if there's been any recent update to that.
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