Delta is boosting transatlantic flights from Boston by 30%, with new service to London, Manchester, Paris, and Rome starting in 2020. Make no mistake, the move is targeted at JetBlue.
Delta has built up its focus-city in Boston to the point in which it is approaching hub status. Delta already flies between Boston and:
But after a successful summer, Delta is adding even more transatlantic flights next summer
Delta’s New Transatlantic Flights from Boston
Delta will add four additional transatlantic flights from Boston starting in the summer of 2020.
To augment its flights to Heathrow, Delta will add a late-evening service to London Gatwick, perfect for napping and well-timed to maximize the full day in Boston and the full day ahead in London.
The return flight will depart late in the morning, allowing a leisure breakfast before arriving in Boston in time for for an afternoon tea.
The service begins on May 21, 2019 and will run year around, utilizing a Boeing 757-200 aircraft.
- DL112 Boston to London Gatwick dep 9:00PM arr 8:45AM+1
- DL113 London Gatwick to Boston dep 11:00AM arr 1:45PM
Delta will add seasonal service to Manchester, operating on a 757-200 from May 21 to September 08, 2020.
- DL114 Boston to Manchester dep 10:00PM arr 9:30AM+1
- DL115 Manchester to Boston dep 11:30AM arr 2:00PM
Both Manchester and London Gatwick were announced last month, but have recently been filed.
Between May 21 and September 08, 2020, Delta will also add service between Boston and Rome. The flight will utilize an Airbus A330.
- DL20 Boston to Rome dep 5:00PM arr 7:15AM+1
- DL21 Rome to Boston dep 10:45AM arr 2:15PM
This service will compete with Alitalia’s service between Boston and Rome.
Delta already operates one Boston – Paris flight, but will introduce a second daily flight for the summer season (same May 21 – September 08 schedule)
- DL226 Boston to Paris dep 11:40PM arr 12:40PM+1
- DL227 Paris to Boston dep 3:40PM arr 5:30PM
The late departure allows for a full day in Boston and still arrives in Paris in time for lunch. It will be operated by a 767-300 and will complement the year-around service of DL404/405.
Delta’s JetBlue Containment Strategy
Delta’s focus on Boston is no coincidence. First, American Airlines has largely abandoned Boston, a critical focus city that American once offered extensive domestic service to and even flights to London. Boston was also a US Airways stronghold. But as American has receded in Boston, Delta has stepped up.
The wildcard has been JetBlue, which helped to drive American Airlines out of Boston but has been unable to slow Delta’s growth.
Delta and JetBlue are chasing the same customers. As JetBlue announced service to London in 2021 with ambitions of serving other European destinations later on, it will face a strong Delta whose latest flight announcement marks not only a growth opportunity, but a scheme to concurrently contain JetBlue’s growth.
By establishing a premier transatlantic network, Delta…at the very least…demonstrates to JetBlue that it will challenge JetBlue’s every move and offer a route network and soft product that will compete with customer-beloved JetBlue.
JetBlue has promised to disrupt legacy airlines like Delta on pricing. That may still occur. But Delta will establish (think of the new corporate contracts implicated by yesterday’s route announcement) an inherent advantage by planting its roots first.
Suddenly, JetBlue’s bold but still nebulous operations to expand its network across the Atlantic will face even stronger headwinds from its fiercest competitor. Will Delta succeed in scaring JetBlue away? I doubt it. But Delta will likely prevail in setting JetBlue upon a more conservative path in Boston (and New York).