If relations were not already sour between Delta and Alaska, Delta is getting ready for an all-out war by announcing even more flights this week from Seattle. One month after announcing a major west coast expansion, Delta announces new service between Seattle and Fairbanks and Seattle and Vancouver; two routes Alaska currently has no competition on! In addition to the new service, Delta took delivery of a new 737-900ER jet this week and dedicated it to the crew and customers in Seattle by naming it the Spirit of Seattle.
Delta has an ever long list of destinations from Seattle and needs feeder traffic to fill new existing routes to Asia as Seattle doesn’t have enough origin and destination traffic to support the expanding network of long haul flights. In addition to the current service to Paris, Amsterdam, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo Narita, and Tokyo Haneda, Delta has announced new service to Seoul, Hong Kong, and London. In past years, Delta has relied on Alaska to coordinate schedules and feed long haul operations from Seattle, but with Delta’s ever growing portfolio they have opted to feed their own fights by adding North/South service on the West Coast.
Mike Medeiros, Delta’s Vice President of Seattle said, “These new flights make it even more convenient for customers in Vancouver and Fairbanks to connect through our growing global gateway in Seattle,” said . “By next summer, customers will have one-stop service to the top five cities in Asia as well as the top three European markets.” But let us not forget, that earlier this year he also said, “We have continued to strategically add service from key markets in an effort to support passenger demand for our expanding international destinations. Delta’s most recent additions will provide our customers with one-stop access to and from several of the top international and domestic destinations via our growing global gateway in Seattle.” Clearly, Delta has been evaluating the Seattle market closely over the last 30 days and decided that these two markets would be good fit for the Seattle mini hub.
In an effort to lure more customers and show Seattle that they can be their #1 or #2 airline (depending on how you look at it) they also named a brand new 737 the Spirit of Seattle this week. Mike Medeiros was also at the ceremony at Boeing field, “For 80 years, our customers, employees and partners in Seattle have embraced Delta, and our growth here would not be possible without them, the Spirit of Seattle aircraft will proudly bear its name as it travels around the country as a representation of Delta’s history in Seattle and a sign of our thanks and commitment to our future here.”
Delta’s new domestic routes from Seattle
Between the new domestic service from Seattle and this new 737-900ER being dedicated to Seattle, Delta has made it clear that they have every intention to taking Alaska on in Seattle and have no plan to back down. Mike Medeiros made it clear that Alaska and Delta are “fierce competitors” in an interview earlier this year, and now Delta is really proving this by expanding more than ever in Seattle. Alaska is responding by adding additional service of their own, expanding at Salt Lake City and not codesharing on Delta’s North-South routes. Yet with Delta serving six of ten of Alaska’s top route one must really wonder what is going on and what is Delta’s full intention. Alaska has always been a strong takeover target for Delta, and one has to wonder if Delta is now purposely trying to attack Alaska by weakening their market share to drive down Alaska’s stock prices and make a hostile take over easier.