Delta adds 3 new routes, defends NYC and Minneapolis hubs against competitors
Delta Air Lines is out with a network expansion aimed at firming up its presence in New York and Minneapolis.
The airline is adding three new routes from these hubs and will boost several existing frequencies over the coming weeks in a bid to entrench its position from increased competition. The network adjustments were first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed to TPG by the carrier.
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New York gets a new route and lots more flights
Delta's hubs at both New York-JFK and LaGuardia airports are growing in the latest schedule update.
The airline will add one new route from LaGuardia to Providence, Rhode Island (PVD), beginning on Jan. 5, 2022, operating up to three times daily through the end of the schedule in October 2022. Delta Connection affiliate Endeavor Air will fly a CRJ-900 on the new 143-mile route.
Additionally, the airline will connect LaGuardia with the state capital in Albany (ALB) starting on Jan. 5, 2022, marking the first time Delta has flown the route since June 2012. Endeavor Air will fly a CRJ-900 in the market.
As for the increased frequencies, Delta is officially bringing back its hourly shuttle between LaGuardia and Boston starting in January 2022. The airline confirmed that it'll fly up to 16 times a day in each direction, offering "the most conveniently timed and reliable service of any other carrier."
Interestingly, the move to boost the shuttle service comes on the heels of American Airlines' announcement that it's pulling out of this market. American will instead let its Northeast Alliance partner, JetBlue, operate exclusively on the hotly competitive route.
Unlike American, JetBlue doesn't operate a first-class cabin in the market, so Delta will be the only airline with a premium cabin for the plethora of business travelers who frequent this route.
Delta isn't just boosting this key business route, though. Several leisure-focused flights are also getting a big schedule expansion.
This includes LaGuardia to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (MYR), and Pensacola, Florida (PNS), along with New York-JFK to Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida (SRQ), which together saw a 184% increase in the number of flights for 2022, according to Cirium schedules.
For Delta, bulking up the New York schedule helps the airline entrench itself as the carrier of choice for the local market. As American and JetBlue team up in the Northeast (the latest cuts notwithstanding), Delta may be feeling pressure to boost its schedule and keep its competitors at bay.
2 new Minneapolis routes, going up against Sun Country
Just like Delta is defending its position in the Northeast, the airline is making a similar move in the Twin Cities.
Delta is adding two new routes from MSP Airport to Asheville, North Carolina (AVL), and Burlington, Vermont (BTV), beginning on April 15, 2022, and June 7, 2022, respectively. These new flights will go head-to-head against Minneapolis-based budget carrier Sun Country. (Another ultra-low-cost carrier, Allegiant Air, flies from MSP to Asheville, in what might've been a tit-for-tat move against Sun Country.)
Delta is also bringing back the following four markets from MSP for the summer 2022 season, which previously weren't on the schedule to operate next year.
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (MYR)
- Providence, Rhode Island (PVD)
- Portland, Maine (PWM)
- Savannah, Georgia (SAV)
The airline is also extending the schedule for its MSP to Jackson, Wyoming (JAC), route to include service during summer 2022.
With these boosts, Delta is going up against Sun County, which operates flights to all five of the aforementioned destinations.
In fact, in mid-October, Sun Country announced seven new cities to its network from MSP, which includes Burlington, as well as returning service to Asheville and Savannah.
Sun Country and Delta have different business models. The former operates as a discount carrier focused on giving Minnesotans access to leisure-oriented destinations nationwide. For Delta, however, serving Minneapolis isn't just about the local traffic — it's also one of its nine hubs through which it can funnel traffic.
With this latest boost, it's clear that Delta is getting serious about protecting its turf from the competition in the local market with more nonstop options for locals (and connecting traffic) alike.