LHR001
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Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 9:19 am

In recent days there has been more and more discussion of Delta Airlines and both current financial issues and route profitability. Delta, who at the top of this year seemed to be poised to be better than ever in terms of service, innovation, and profitability has suddenly fallen. Or so it would seem!


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Case in point -
Boeing 757-200
Trans-Continental Services
LAX-JFK
SFO-JFK
SAN-JFK
PDX-JFK
LAS-JFK
SEA-JFK


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Photo © Paul Paulsen



The Los Angeles market has always been very profitable for most airlines. However, Delta Airlines has never been able to grab on and keep Los Angeles as either an operations base, or gateway! Past routes for Delta Airlines in Los Angeles include Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Nagoya, and Tokyo. The use of the 757-200, is also to be noted. At one time Delta Airlines was mainly a wide body airline at LAX!
With the much discussed introduction of Song on the Los Angeles-JFK market, will people opt for Song over American Airlines, United Airlines, America West Airlines, Continental Airlines, or Jet Blue?
Will a Business Elite passenger be required to fly on Song, to connect with Delta Airlines at JFK to fly to Europe?


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Photo © Manas Barooah



The San Francisco market, while a notable Delta Airlines strongpoint. Has always proven to be a profitable market for the airline. Delta Airlines after Pan Am, had offered daily service on the L1011 to Frankfurt. American and United have constantly operated the Boeing 767 on its Trans Continental Services from San Francisco. Delta Airlines, seem to be now shuttling the Trans Atlantic passengers back and forth using a single 757-200! This being compared to American and United bi-hourly service from SFO-JFK. Should Song service San Francisco in the near future will the masses choose Song over American Airlines, America West Airlines, and United Airlines.. Or even Continental Airlines or Jet Blue for that matter?


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The San Diego market, as well has served a very notable purpose for Delta Airlines. Now we are seeing American Airlines move in with daily 767-300 service to JFK, and more so Jet Blue and A320 equipment on the route!


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Photo © Chris Coduto



The Portland market, historically Delta Airlines gateway to Asia. Has now been reduced to sole domestic flights and the discontinuation of the daily JFK service, that at one time was flown wih both 757 and 767 aircraft. Previous gateways from Portland included Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, Seoul, and Tokyo!


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Photo © Andy Martin



The Las Vegas market, which by demographics has shown to be a vastly leisure market was at one time served by Delta Airlines mainline 757 equipment to JFK. The departure was offered late in the evening and proved to be rather unsuccessful. Other past routes from Las Vegas have included Boston, New Orleans, Orlando, and Tampa. The introduction of Song on this route should be most interesting. Song will be competing head on with America West Airlines, Continental Airlines, and Jet Blue.


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Photo © Aaron David Mandolesi



The Seattle market, just as San Francisco has always played very well with Delta Airlines. However, one must think how well Delta Airlines is doing to have discontinued the daily 757-200 service to JFK. This flight fed passengers to the onward International departures. Seattle now has services offered by American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Jet Blue, and United Airlines.


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Photo © Carlos Borda



In the end we must stop and think of one very valid question.

How well is Delta Airlines doing on its JFK operations?


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Photo © Art Brett



Has JFK, become a source of decreased profit for Delta Airlines? We have seen American Airlines in the past year re-introduce the old TWA route from JFK-FCO during the summer season. A flight that was completely sold out for most of the season.

We have seen American Airlines grow to serve JFK-LHR, JFK-CDG, JFK-FRA, JFK-ZRH, and the possible resumption of JFK-BRU, JFK-BCN! United Airlines has beefed up JFK-LHR with the 777-200 fleet.

All the while Delta Airlines has discontinued the use of MD-11, and 777-200 out of JFK! The fact that Delta Airlines is operating all 767-300 out of JFK says something right there. While their competitors i.e. Lufthansa, Iberia, TAP, and Austrian are operating larger aircraft with much more frequent departures!

In closing, this topic has been of great interest to me and others in recent days! Any information would be so very well appreciated! In the end, Delta Airlines has served us all well. And in saying so, I hope they do for many years to come!



LHR001

[Edited 2003-10-28 01:50:42]
 
flyguy1
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:07 am

Your topic is not very clear, the question you pose is DL profitable at JFK, yet you bounce back and forth to discuss other DL cities. As for DL at JFK, they do still serve Seattle, from JFK. You state the fact that DL no longer flies the MD11 to JFK, well they retired it from service completely ! As for the 777, it would be nice to see them use at least 1 per day, but with double daily to CDG, and AZ/AF/Skyteam operating to some of their other cities, it not really needed. Were as out of ATL, DL operates the only flight of the day to many European cities, thus the larger 777 is needed. Song operates the more leisure type destinations out of JFK, I doubt places such as LAX, SFO, SEA. SLC would ever go song. Europe is a very strong market from JFK, therefore I assume DL has made $$ there over the years
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FlyPNS1
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:10 am

Some of your information is wrong.

DL still flies SEA-JFK daily with a 757.
DL does not fly SAN-JFK anymore.
AA does not fly JFK-FRA.

As for DL at JFK, it has been rough going. Overall, the current JFK operation is not profitable for DL. Of course, right now no part of the DL system is profitable.

On the domestic front, DL is hoping to return JFK to profitability using Song on the long-haul high volume routes. Will Song work on routes like LAX-JFK and SFO-JFK? Maybe. Song will have a competitive cost structure, lower than AA/UA and only a little higher than JB/HP. Leisure travelers in the back of the plane will find Song's product as good if not better than most of its competitors. However, business travelers on these routes will likely be turned off by Song. Of course, we don't know for sure if DL will put Song on these routes.

On the int'l front, DL has been trying to build up the feed at JFK adding more Connection feeder service. JAX,STL,BNA,IND and CMH have all been added to feed JFK in the past six months. DL is also resuming DFW-JFK with mainline. Contrast with AA that has slashed much of its feed to JFK.

Most of DL's international routes are quite profitable during the summer months....the problem is the other eight months of the year. Many of the European routes are quite thin (VCE,NCE,ATH,IST) which explains the use of 763's. You can't really compare UA and AA flying 777's to LHR with DL flying 763's to secondary markets. UA and AA don't serve these types of secondary destinations. DL is hurt most at JFK by the lack of access to LHR. Without it, DL has a hard time winning many corporate contracts that demand access to LHR. There's not much DL can do about it.

Whether or not DL can keep the JFK operation going is a big question. Some of that will likely be determined in the next year or two. If DL is not successful getting more cost cuts, DL will continue to lose marketshare at JFK to both the LCC's and to other international competitors. Connected to the cost issue is Song. If Song doesn't catch on, DL's domestic operations at JFK will fail. At that point and considering the alliance with CO, DL may finally call it quits at JFK.

Another problem at JFK for DL are the facilities. Terminals 2 and 3 while historical are not up to par as a modern international/domestic gateway. DL needs to invest a lot of money in a new terminal facility. However, if JFK can not produce some reasonable profits for DL, DL will not be willing nor able to invest the needed money to build a new terminal.

I hope DL can keep and rebuild the JFK operation (bring back flights to MUC,DUB,ARN,TLV and use Song/Connection to build a better domestic product), but it will be tough for DL to pull it off.
 
N670UW
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:13 am

DL can't jusity large aircraft on JFK-Europe (777, MD-11) because one must remember, that operation relies completely on O&D traffic. DL has no connections on either side (except CDG and some one-a-day RJ's to places like Pittsburgh and Detroit). The majority of these markets (Amsterdam, Brussels, Venice, Nice, Istanbul, etc.) can't support an aircraft larger than a 767-300 without feed.

N670UW
 
LHR001
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:17 am

Apologies,

It was my error. I pulled up OAG inline. The date requested was having an issue. I see what you meant.

Yes, Delta Airlines does operate SEA-JFK!

However, I must say for the above.. It is so very sad. Is it the progression of time, or what?

Delta Airlines, has served many markets.. and Delta Airlines has incredible service. Why are they dealing with so many issues at one time?



LHR001
 
luv2fly
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:21 am

LHR001 by chance did you change your name from kl777jfk?
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
LHR001
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:24 am

Luv2Fly,

KL777JFK?

 
MSYtristar
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:31 am

The problems that Delta is facing is not uncommon to those that other airlines are facing. Overcapacity, High costs. Not enough high-yield business travellers to fill the seats. Etc, etc.

Delta has been very inconsistent in feeding its JFK hub. They have had a history of starting routes only to discontinue them months later, or severly downgrade them (notice the growing number of CRJ feeder flights into JFK).
Major cities which could support flights to JFK if marketed properly...such as IAH,DEN,MSY,PDX,SAN...no longer see direct service.

I think you'll continue to see more RJ growth at JFK to feed its International service...and pssibly some more Song flights to popular leisure markets...but not much in the way of Delta mainline growth, except DFW of course.

The JFK Worldport started its slow death the day Delta took over its operations from Pan Am as far as I'm concerned.


Steve in New Orleans
 
LHR001
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:36 am

Wasnt the JFK-DFW operated at one time by a 767-300?
 
MSYtristar
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:41 am

JFK-DFW was flown by both the 763 and the 310 in the early/mid 90's. The good old days.


Steve in New Orleans
 
LHR001
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:45 am

Yes,

Those were the good old days for sure!

They also flew DFW-FRA on the L1011, didnt they?
 
SHUPirate1
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:45 am

Being a New York City-area resident myself, who nearly exclusively uses LGA, despite being closer to JFK, I have been wondering recently if it would (greatly) benefit Delta and American (the only two airlines with significant operations at both airports) to have a within-security airtrain connection between JFK and LGA, making connections between the two airports viable, as the recommended connection from a JFK to an LGA flight would likely be cut from nearly four hours to approximately two hours or so...American and Delta could have their own trains, that stop exclusively at AA or exclusively at DL terminals, they could have their own baggage compartment allowing for baggage to be transferred without it being checked in again, and the city could charge, say, a 20 dollar tax into the cost of the flight for use of the airtrain...maybe I'm crazy, but I think it could have a financial windfall for JFK, LGA, AA, DL, and, if they plan it right, New York City itself...
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LHR001
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:58 am

The MTA has announced a few days back an idea that would provide greater service to the two airports. In addition the linking of the two has been discussed!

It is a very good idea. In the long run the public probably wont want to fit over an extra $20.00 tax to transfer airports. The airlines should be providing this service free of charge if ever enacted!
 
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STT757
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:20 am

DL's in a precarious postion at JFK, there's really no place to expand.

They tried JFK-Asia (Tokyo), that did not last long.

They were planning on launching JFK-GRU, JFK-EZE but those flights never "took off" because of the decline of the Brazilian and Argentinan economies.

They tried going into the Caribean with flights to Aruba, Grand Cayman, St.Maarten etc.. Never really developed into anything.

They tried the Middle East , Tel Aviv, Cairo, Dubai, did not last long.

Domestically they have scaled back dramatically from JFK as has AA, the biggest reason is B6.

Flying one CRJ a day from JFK-JAX, IND etc is not going to get them anywhere.

They have a couple choices..

Steamline the operation turning all non Hub Domestic flying (LAX, PHX, SEA, SFO) over to Song, and keep the strongest performing European routes which can be supported soley on NYC O&D.

Move the 767-300s to BOS and try to succeed where NWA failed at establishing BOS as a European gateway, they have a new terminal opening up and lack of LCC dominance.

Or move closer to alliance Partner CO, either through a full blown merger or close alliance. DL's substantial 767-300 fleet and route network to Secondary European Cities fits in well with CO's EWR hub and CO's substantial European, Latin America and Asian route network which are feed via a strong Domestic operation.


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SHUPirate1
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:20 am

Why do you say that? Think about it...somebody who flies CLE-LGA/JFK-LHR on American wouldn't likely have a problem with paying an extra 20 dollars to make that connection, when tacked onto the current $458 airfare on that identical route, I'm sure would be appreciated when it meant that somebody could take a later flight into LGA (or earlier flight out of LGA) and have their baggage checked through after clearing customs (inbound only, baggage would be checked through totally on the outbound segment)...maybe it's not worth 20 dollars, but certainly 10...
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STT757
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:25 am

SHUPirate1,

The possible planning of the extension of the Airtrain from Jamaica to LGA was "floated" by Charles Gargano, however it's not even on anyone's radar right now.

Even if it was it would take atleast 10 years to develop once past the planning and enviromental stages which it has not even reached, right now the Port Authority is concentrating on extending the PATH from Lower Manhattan to EWR and building a connection from a new Fulton street station to JFK either via a new East River tunnel connecting to the LIRR's Atlantic Ave branch or taking over the A train's tunnel.
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SHUPirate1
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:29 am

I understand that that is what they are considering...however, I totally disagree with what they are saying...remember, the number one O&D airport in the NYC area is none other than LaGuardia...I still can't understand how this fact continuously manages to escape the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey...
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
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STT757
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:30 am

The fact remains that what is happening to DL and AA at JFK is similar to what happened to US Airways at BWI during the early Ninties, a new low fare (WN) carrier moves in and takes over.

However JFK still warrants attention from the legacy carriers because of the large interntational market un touched by low fare competition, however without adequate domestic feed these routes can only be developed to a certain point.

Hence AA's scaling back of their JFK Terminal project from 55 gates to 39, DL's non commital to a JFK facilities expansion and Jet Blue's recent terminal expansion announcement.
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LHR001
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:30 am

SHUPirate1,

Well, I have to applaude you for your effort! Not many people would willingly change airports in New York City.

By the Way, have you ever driven to JFK from LGA at 5pm???

Try it with traffic!

Your new - airport tram - would have to go through so much ... i.e. neigborhoods, local agencies, it will be a long time coming if ever!

Since you live in CLE..

CLE-ORD-LHR
CLE-DTW-LHR
CLE-IAD-LHR
CLE-YYZ-LHR
CLE-YUL-LHR
CLE-BOS-LHR

The list is endless with one airport connection!

 
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STT757
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:32 am

"The MTA has announced a few days back an idea that would provide greater service to the two airports. In addition the linking of the two has been discussed! "

Where did you see this? Last time I looked the MTA was not interested in anything other than linking EWR and JFK to Lower Manhattan, even at the expense of connecting LGA to the NYC Subway (N train) at Astoria.
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LHR001
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:36 am

The article which was discussed and not physically shown, was if I recall said to have been in the NY Times or Village Voice!

 
SHUPirate1
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:38 am

LHR...I live in the NYC area, not CLE as you suggest (I was just using that as an example) and that is exactly why I know that the rush-hour drive between LGA and JFK is absolute purgatory...which is why an in-security LGA-JFK tram would be SO beneficial...for both airports, both airlines that would use it (AA and DL) and the PANYNJ and NYC itself...for that matter, a tram like that could also lay the groundwork for the city of London to have a similar system for passengers transiting from LHR to LGW, which is actually fairly common...
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
LHR001
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:44 am

If you are refering to the British Airways airort transfers - Gatwick-Heathrow and vice versa. It is currently a bus service. And at that not required for much longer as London Gatwick has been dismantled as a British Airways fortress! Most international and intra-European routes for that matter are back at homebase Heathrow!
 
SHUPirate1
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:50 am

BA moving everything to LHR would make it unnecessary...but the LHR-LGW transfers are something like an hour-plus ride...plus, passengers still have to bring all of their luggage on the bus with them...wouldn't be necessary in my LGA-JFK plan, where luggage would be put in "cargo holds" of the trams to go between LGA and JFK...
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
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STT757
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 12:07 pm

"...I still can't understand how this fact continuously manages to escape the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey"

What are they going to do, turn Ditmars ave into a pararell runway?

The idea of linking LGA with the current JFK Airtrain by extending the system past Jamaica station with a stop at Flushing for the #7 trian, LIRR Port Washington branch, US Open Shea stadium (Lets go Mets!) and onto the LGA Terminals and possibly onto Astoria to connect with the N Train has legs.

However there a couple pieces that would not be acceptable..

First,

No airline is going to run it's own trains, unless they want to spend their own money building the line to which they do not have they $3+ Billion that it would likely cost.

Second,

There will not be dedicated Baggage cars, the main reason would be that you would need someone to either ride in the baggae compartment or be stationed at each of the 9 (soon to be as few as 7) Terminals to get off and un load the bags and make sure each bag gets off at the right terminal.
Way too time consuming.

They have a baggage check system at the Newark Airport Rail link station, what happens is once you step off a NJ Transit or Amtrak train at the station you go inside where there are regular Airline ticket counters. At these ticket counters you can check in for your flight and check your luggage, the luggage goes down a slide to a van below the Rail station's concourse. The bags are then loaded onto the van and driven to the appropriate terminal via a private roadway for Port Authority vehicles only.

The airlines that "were" utilizing this service were CO, UAL and AA. However for security reasons they have suspended the Rail station check-in and baggage check. Not sure when it's coming back.

Lhr001,

I still don't know what your refering to,can you give more details?

I subscribe to the NY Times and read it every day, plus I read the Sub talk forums and have not heard any references to which your refering.

http://www.nycsubway.org
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
TheGov
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:28 pm

My personal opinion as to why DL is not doing very well at JFK is that there is no longer the need for international hubs like JFK in this day and time. Why? Because the aircraft that are now available make point-to-point operations profitable. Years ago, if a traveler wanted to fly from CLT to LGW, he would most certainly have to make at least one if not two connections to begin the trans-Atlantic leg which would have been flown with a B747. But, because of smaller aircraft like the B767ER, B757 and A310, point to point service is now viable. Therefore, most airlines began to "jump over" JFK as a funnel point for traffic and opted instead for point to point from smaller hubs in smaller cities. There are many other examples, some of which no longer exist, like PDX-FRA, BRU-DFW, CLT-FRA, MEM-AMS, CLE-LGW that illustrate what smaller, ER type aircraft can offer the traveling public. But, to its credit, DL is operating its JFK trans-Atlantic services with its smallest widebody ER aircraft.
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.
 
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:33 pm

DFW, CLT, MEM and CLE are all airports with bigger hub operations than any airline has for JFK. Hardly secondary airports.
 
LHR001
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 3:03 pm

The Gov,


Hit it right on the head! JFK, has become one of the "staple" , or "typical" gateway citys in the league of SFO, LAX, ORD, MIA, and HNL!

Think about it IAD, (the nations capitol) has never been a major player on a level with ORD or JFK. Why? Perhaps the old saying "if it is okay, leave it alone". This would play into the fact that airilnes for years have used certain cities as the gateways to certain markets.

ORD - Europe
JFK - Europe
MIA - Central America/South America
LAX - Asia/Pacific
SFO - Asia

Continental Airlines has made Newark a major gateway.

Delta Airlines and Eastern Airlines, built Atlanta into a powerhouse.

United Airlines has built Washington IAD into a major gateway.

The list goes on. Perhaps now it is time to pass JFK off to another city..or cities!



 
panamair
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:22 pm

JFK is still an important gateway for international travelers as New York is still the premier U.S. city for many foreign tourists and business travelers. Granted, due to the rise of EWR, JFK's importance as an international gateway has diminished but it is still nonetheless important (foreign airlines still consider JFK to be in their top three lists when they consider starting service to the U.S. and how else would you explain that DL only has nonstop service to IST, ATH, VCE, NCE, SVO from JFK, and not from mightly ATL with all the possible domestic connections in the world?)

JFK has always been a problem for airlines because of LGA and this has been exacerbated by the rise of the other super hubs (ORD, ATL, DFW, etc.) which draw transatlantic traffic from other parts of the U.S. As someone said, to make JFk a viable transatlantic hub, you need domestic connections. However, as Pan Am I has proven, domestic flights into JFK for connections is a strict moneyloser - a few have tried to beef up domestic flights into JFK with better frequencies to attract domestic travelers but at the end of the day, no NewYorker wants to trek out to JFK to fly domestically when he/she can do so at LGA....UNLESS, the price of the ticket makes it worthwhile (which is exactly what JetBlue has done).

Given this scenario, Delta I believe has been doing its best with JFK as is possible. The recent additions of domestic feed cities using RJs is a move in the right direction as it helps to fill the ERs across the Atlantic without putting bigger mainline a/c into potentially money-losing markets. And unless you have LHR, 777s are not really viable on a year-round basis. Even AA has downgraded all of their non-LHR flights to 763s from JFK. Delta was able to regularly fill an MD11 and a 777 a day between JFK and CDG last year but with the overall company strategy of eliminating the MD11 from its fleet and the limited number of 777s (needed for ATL routes), the only long-haul a/c left are the 763ERs. On a year-round basis (with severe seasonal swings in transatlantic traffic), the ER is the right a/c for DL from JFk to Europe.
 
flyguy1
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RE: Delta Airlines - JFK - Profitable?

Wed Oct 29, 2003 5:28 am

JFK due to it being the Int'l airport for NYC, will always have strong demand to Europe. DL has been operating many of these European flights for years, and they tend to run good loads. Many of the thinner flights are not daily during the winter, which makes it easier to operate them. Many people seem to forget that though DL doest not operate 10 flights per day from DCA-JFK, the 2 they do operate are enough to feed the European services. Most of the DL Euro flights out of JFK, would not be able to operate profitably anywhere else in the USA.
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