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Encyclopedia > Delta Airlines
Delta Airlines Logo

Delta Air Lines 767-400ER.

Delta Boeing 747 at London (Heathrow) Airport, operated by Pan Am, in May 1974.

Delta Boeing 757-232 at in August 2003.
Delta Boeing 757-232 at LAX in August 2003.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL (http://www.nyse.com/about/listed/lcddata.html?ticker=DAL)) is an airline based in Atlanta, Georgia, operating a large domestic network within the USA, as well as an international network that spans Europe, Asia, and Latin America. In addition to its main hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Delta operates hubs at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport. Delta used to operate a hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, but has been dehubbed on January 31, 2005 in effort to avoid bankruptcy. John F. Kennedy International Airport is one of Delta's main airports for international flights, but is not officially considered a hub. It is a founding member of, and the largest carrier in, the SkyTeam alliance and uses the IATA designator code DL, as well as the ICAO designator code DAL. Gerald Grinstein is currently the CEO of Delta.

Delta operates several airline brands. The mainline Delta brand serves primarily long-haul, high-volume flights and most international services. Delta Connection feeds the airline's hubs with connecting traffic and is operated by Delta's wholly-owned subsidiaries Comair and Atlantic Southeast Airlines. Chautauqua Airlines operates for Delta in Florida and SkyWest Airlines does likewise in the western US. Under a code share agreement, American Eagle also operates Delta Connection service out of Los Angeles. Short-haul, non-reserved services between Boston, New York, and Washington DC are operated in a single-class configuration under the Delta Shuttle brand. Delta also operates Song on the Delta FAR Part 121 certificate -- a no-frills, low-fare brand connecting northeastern cities with Florida, Puerto Rico, and Las Vegas.

Delta Air Lines' mainline division currently employs more than 60,000 people, and serves 138 cities in 34 countries, with an additional two cities in two countries slated for the future. Many more cities are served by the Delta Connection carriers, and by Delta's codeshare partners.

Delta also awards the annual Delta Prize for Global Understanding in conjunction with the University of Georgia.



The company has its roots in Huff Daland Dusters, which was founded in 1924 in Macon, Georgia but moved to Monroe, Louisiana the following year. In 1928, Huff Daland Dusters was purchased and renamed 'Delta Air Services', where its route connected Dallas, Texas to Jackson, Mississippi, via Shreveport, Louisiana and Monroe. In 1941, Delta moved its headquarters from Monroe to Atlanta, Georgia, to center itself along its new route network that connected Chicago and New Orleans to Florida.

In the 1950s, Delta began flights from New Orleans to the Caribbean and Venezuela, becoming the number 2 U.S. carrier in the region after Pan Am and Braniff. By the early 1960s, Delta's route network stretched to the West Coast, and Dallas was emerging as its second hub city. Delta was the launch operator of both the DC-8 and DC-9 jets.

Delta purchased Northeast Airlines in 1972 to strengthen its market share in the northeastern United States. In 1978, Delta began flying from Atlanta to London with new Lockheed L-1011 TriStar aircraft: Frankfurt was added the following year.

Delta was named official airline to Walt Disney World in 1985. Their official ride in the Magic Kingdom was Delta Dreamflight. In 1987, Delta took over Western Airlines and absorbed its large hubs at Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. That year, Delta began flights from Portland, Oregon to Tokyo, Seoul, and Bangkok, its first transpacific routes.

Delta was the first airline to operate the MD-11 aircraft in 1990. Delta's most dramatic expansion came with its purchase of Pan American's European routes in 1991, shortly before Pan Am declared bankruptcy. The purchase gave Delta the largest transatlantic route network through most of the 1990s.

Delta was one of the airlines targeted in the failed Operation Bojinka plot: the conspirators planned to bomb a Delta MD-11 flying from Seoul to Bangkok via Taipei on January 21, 1995.

Delta operated its last MD-11 flight on January 1, 2004, Flight 56 departing New Tokyo International Airport (now Narita International Airport) at 4:45pm. The aircraft arrived in Atlanta at 3:20pm. This concluded MD-11 service in the fleet, with Delta having retired the other three-engined aircraft, the Boeing 727, in 2003. Its entire active fleet is now comprised of twinjets. Delta had 14 MD-11's at the time of the aircraft's retirement. On September 23, 2004, a Delta spokesperson confirmed plans to sell eight MD-11s to FedEx.

According to Aviation Daily (http://www.aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_aviationdaily_story.jsp?id=news/del09154.xml), Delta is planning to retire their 737-200, 737-300, 767-200, and MD-90 fleet.

In 2004, in an effort to avoid bankruptcy, Delta announced a restructuring of the company that included job cuts as well as turnaround plans for expansion of Atlanta operations by some 100 new flights making it a 'super-hub' and requiring the airline to spread its flight schedule more evenly across the day.

On January 5, 2005, the company changed the way it charges its fares. That it is cutting its most expensive fares by as much as 50 percent nationwide and simplifying its fare structure is not so simple. It's true - no fare will be higher than $499 one-way in coach class or $599 one-way in first class in the continental United States.


On the morning of August 2, 1985, Delta Air Lines Flight 191, on a Fort Lauderdale-Dallas-Los Angeles route, crashed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, killing 133 of the 164 passengers on board. The crash would later become the subject of a television movie.

On August 31, 1988, Delta Air Lines Flight 1411, bound from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Salt Lake City International Airport, crashed after take-off.

Delta Air Lines Fleet

Since retiring its MD-11s, Delta has an all-twinjet fleet. Along with Continental Airlines, Delta is one of the few airlines who operate an all-Boeing (including McDonnell Douglas aircaft) fleet. They do not operate any Airbus aircaft, nor do they have plans to purchase any.

Also like Continental Airlines, Delta has abolished three-class seating, replacing both first and business class on intercontinental flights with a single premium class called "BusinessElite."

Delta Air Lines Fleet (excluding Delta Connection)
Type Number Total # of seats Cargo capacity Engine Model Audio/Video
Boeing 737-232 52 100 850 ft³ (24 m³) Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15A No
Boeing 737-332 26 128 850 ft³ (24 m³) CFM International CFM56-3B1 No
McDonnell Douglas / Boeing MD-88 120 142 1,253 ft³ (35.5 m³) Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219 No
McDonnell Douglas / Boeing MD-90 16 150 1,300 ft³ (36.8 m³) International Aero V2525-D5 Yes
Boeing 737-832 71 150 1,555 ft³ (44.0 m³) CFM International CFM56-7B26 Yes
Boeing 757-232 121 183 1,670 ft³ (47.3 m³) Pratt & Whitney PW2037 Yes
Boeing 767-232 15 204 2,875 ft³ (81.4 m³) GE CF6-80A Yes
Boeing 767-332 28 252 3,770 ft³ (107 m³) GE CF6-80A2 Yes
Boeing 767-332ER 59 204 3,770 ft³ (107 m³) GE CF6-80C2B6F / Pratt & Whitney PW4060 Yes
Boeing 767-432ER 21 285 4,580 ft³ (130 m³) GE CF6-80C2B7F Yes
Boeing 777-232 8 268 5,656 ft³ (160 m³) Rolls-Royce Trent 892 Yes


See full article: Delta Air Lines destinations

IATA and ICAO Code

Delta Air Lines uses the IATA designator code DL and the ICAO designator code DAL.

External links

Members of the Skyteam Alliance
Aeroméxico | Air France | Alitalia | Continental Airlines | CSA Czech Airlines | Delta Air Lines | KLM | Korean Air | Northwest Airlines
Future Members: Air Europa | Aeroflot | China Southern Airlines
List of Aircraft | Aircraft Manufacturers | Aircraft Engines | Aircraft Engine Manufacturers
Airlines | Air Forces | Aircraft Weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

  Results from FactBites:
Travel to the United States - Delta Airlines -SkyTeam (166 words)
Delta Air Lines is proud to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2004.
Delta is the world's second largest airline in terms of passengers carried and the leading U.S. carrier across the Atlantic, offering daily flights to 281 destinations in 47 countries on Delta, Song, Delta Shuttle, the Delta Connection carriers and its worldwide partners.
The Delta SkyMiles program is designed to help you earn award travel and upgrades fast, by giving you a wide variety of ways to earn mileage.
cbs11tv.com - Delta Airlines Reports Nearly $2 Billion 4Q Loss (400 words)
Delta said its aircraft fuel costs fell 8.2 percent to $1.04 billion in the fourth quarter, compared to $1.13 billion a year earlier.
Delta said it spent $4.32 billion on aircraft fuel for all of 2006, a 1.1 percent increase from the $4.27 billion it spent for all of the previous year.
Delta hopes to emerge from bankruptcy as early as April as a standalone carrier with a projected value of $9.4 billion to $12 billion.
  More results at FactBites »



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