If we didn’t already know that Delta was on attack in Seattle, they are making it even more clear by adding four more nonstop flights from Seattle to Phoenix, Tucson, Palm Springs, and Jackson Hole. Three of the four new routes are currently served by Alaska Airline and the addition of these four new routes furthers prove that Delta is creating more than just a focus city in Seattle.
Delta’s new Seattle service beginning Dec. 20, 2014 includes:
- Five daily flights to Phoenix
- One daily seasonal flight to Palm Springs, Calif.
- Saturday seasonal service to Tucson, Ariz.
- Saturday seasonal service to Jackson Hole, Wyo.
- One additional nonstop flight to Honolulu for a total of two daily flights
Expanded seasonal service beginning in September includes:
- One new daily nonstop flight to Anchorage, Alaska for a total of two daily flights in September and three daily flights during the summer
Delta’s new service to Phoenix, Palm Springs and Tucson will be operated by Delta Connection carrier SkyWest Airlines using two-class, 76-seat aircraft, while Jackson Hole service will be operated with two-class, 65-seat aircraft. The expanded Honolulu and Anchorage service will be operated by Delta using Boeing 757 and Boeing 737 aircraft, respectively.
With the addition of these four new destinations from Seattle, Delta will serve 27+ destination and offer 79+ peak day departures plus over 2,500 international seats weekly to Asia and Europe from Seattle. This is more daily flights than Delta’s former hub in Memphis which now offers only 60 daily flights and rivals Delta smaller hub in Cincinnati where Delta offers 101 peak day departures to almost twice as many destinations. Although Seattle has been a growing international gateway and a focus city for Delta, today was the first time Delta has referred to it as a hub in a press release:
In addition to the expanded service, Delta will also adjust current arrival and departure times in Seattle to offer easier connections for customers traveling through the hub.
Although the media release calls Seattle a hub, at the bottom of the media release Delta does not name Seattle as one of their global hubs. Each media release has an “about Delta” section on the bottom. In this media release it states:
Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita.
Notice it does not mention Seattle. I may be reading too far into the media release, but it is very interesting to see Delta refer to Seattle as a hub for the first time. Not to mention, Delta is rebanking their flights so people can connect through Seattle; meaning Delta is not only trying to capture origin and destination traffic to/from Seattle or connecting passengers to Asia and Europe, but even transit people via seattle from Alaska, the east coast & midwest to destinations on the west coast and beyond.
Delta’s push in Seattle is clearly to expand their West Coast network, and not their East-West network from Seattle. Almost every new route that has been added from Seattle is to destination in the Western part of the United State, Alaska, or overseas.
I won’t bore you with details about how Delta’s continual expansion in Seattle is a direct attack on Alaska Airline’s route network and how I truly believe that Delta is trying to weaken Alaska Airline’s stock price. If Delta is successful in stealing Alaska’s traffic in Seattle, Alaska Airline’s share price will drop and this will make them an easier take over target. Could a hostile takeover by Delta be in the works? Possibly. But this will depend on if Delta is successful in Seattle and if Alaska’s stock prices drop to the point where Delta can afford to buy their way in. Either way, it’s clear, Delta wants more traffic in Seattle and not only do they want to offer connections for their international flights from Seattle on their own metal, they are willing to add capacity and add flights that are for business travelers and travelers not connecting to other destinations.
Alaska needs to watch out, as it is clear that Seattle is no longer a single airline hub and Alaka’s own partner is not playing fair in the Seattle market. Could the Alaska/Delta relationship be on the fringe of collapsing, absolutely, but how soon will be dependent on contracts that Alaska and Delta currently have in place.