In a bid to meet robust demand for air travel during the summer season, Delta Air Lines DAL and partner Virgin Atlantic aim to boost capacity next year across the Atlantic by nearly 10,000 seats a week.
As part of the expansion move, Delta aims to bolster its 2020 capacity by 15% year over year between the UK and its coastal hubs in Boston and New York-JFK. Following this latest decision to expand its UK network, more flights will operate to Heathrow from next year.
For instance, from Mar 28, 2020 Delta will increase its New York JFK-Heathrow service to three flights per day. Notably, these additional flights mark Delta’s first daylight trans-Atlantic service. On the contrary, Virgin Atlantic operates five daily flights on the route, including daylight service.
Delta’s decision to augment capacity on the route means that the total daily flights operated by the joint venture partners will be eight from next year. Notably, Delta’s newly retrofitted Boeing 767-400 jets will operate on the JFK and Boston-Heathrow routes from this winter.
Virgin Atlantic, whose partnership with Delta commenced in 2014, will add three weekly flights connecting Los Angeles and Heathrow from Mar 29, 2020. Following the move, Virgin Atlantic will operate 17 flights per week on the route. Virgin Atlantic will also introduce four weekly flights between Seattle and Heathrow from the same day, operating 11 flights a week on the route.
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Apart from its intention to operate more flights to Heathrow, Delta aims to resume services to London’s Gatwick airport from May 21, 2020. Notably, Gatwick offers huge commercial potential as it represents the largest unserved market European market from New York, according to Delta. In fact, Gatwick will be the Atlanta-based carrier’s seventh transatlantic destination with nonstop flights from Boston. Flights connecting New York-JFK and Gatwick will be operated by the British carrier.
Following the U.S. carrier's return to Gatwick, this is the first time that both Delta and Virgin Atlantic will serve the airport since the commencement of their partnership.
Delta’s initiative to boost its UK capacity will also see it returning to Manchester next summer, with nonstop flights connecting the city and Boston set to operate from May 21, 2020. Delta will utilize its Boeing 757 jets for operating flights on the route. Virgin Atlantic already operates daily flights connecting Manchester to five U.S. cities, namely, Atlanta, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Orlando.
Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks
Delta sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Investors interested in the Zacks Airline industry may also consider Copa Holdings CPA, GOL Linhas GOL and China Southern Airlines Company ZNH, each carrying the same rank as Delta. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Shares of Copa Holdings and GOL Linhas have gained in excess of 33% and 28% on a year-to-date basis. Meanwhile, 2019 earnings at China Southern Airlines are expected to increase in excess of 100%.
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