Delta Air Lines is taking proactive measures to improve reliability ahead of the busy summer travel season.
On Thursday, Atlanta-based Delta announced it was reducing its flight schedule by about 100 daily departures from July 1 to August 7 to prevent summer travel disruptions.
According to the airline, surging post-pandemic demand has forced the carrier to make these adjustments, saying it will “build additional resilience in our system and improve operational reliability for our customers and employees.”
Delta chief customer experience officer Allison Ausband explained a number of factors have resulted in Delta not consistently performing at its desired operational standard, including increased sick calls due to COVID, poor weather, and vendor staffing.
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“We deeply appreciate the energy and efforts of our people and the confidence of our customers as we adapt and pivot to ensure we provide the airline-of-choice experience we’re so proud to be known for,” she said.
Delta said that it would be in contact with customers whose flights are affected by the summer changes.
The decision comes as the company takes other measures ahead of the expectedly chaotic summer, including working with the Federal Aviation Administration to improve air traffic control, hiring hundreds of new crew members each month, and launching initiatives to better its on-time performance.
Despite the mounting challenges, Delta is anticipating a busy Memorial Day weekend. According to the carrier, 2.5 million passengers will fly on its planes over the holiday, which is a 25% increase from 2021.
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Delta is not the only airline struggling to meet summer demand. Carriers like Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways have also cut flight schedules this summer, with JetBlue nixing 8%-10% of its May flights, CNN reported.
Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci apologized in a YouTube video on May 13 for the mass cancelations caused by the pilot shortage. In April, the carrier said it would reduce its schedule through June by 2% to “match our current pilot capacity,” but Minicucci admitted in the video that the carrier was still 63 pilots short.
To increase summer reliability, Alaska is hiring 150 new pilots, 200 more reservation agents, and 1,100 flight attendants.
“This, along with the reductions we’ve made to our schedule, will ensure we run an operation that you can count on,” Minicucci said.