Delta Air Lines plans to add 21 nonstop flights out of Los Angeles this summer, doubling its presence in the West Coast's biggest market as it beefs up service to Latin America and Asia.
Delta said Wednesday it will add flights from Los Angeles International to Denver; Phoenix; San Jose, Calif.; Vancouver, British Columbia; Spokane, Wash.; and Boise, Idaho. The airline also is adding more flights on existing routes from LAX to Oakland, Calif.; Sacramento, Calif.; and San Francisco.
With the new flights, which begin July 1, Delta will have doubled the number of flights out of LAX in a year, to about 100 flights daily. Delta's expansion will also have added 34 new destinations from Los Angeles over the past year, to a total of 48 cities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America.
"Based on our success to date, Delta is eager to introduce additional growth for customers in Los Angeles this summer," said Glen Hauenstein, Delta's executive vice president over network planning and revenue management, in a written statement.
The additional flights will be on 50-seat regional jets operated by ExpressJet Airlines.
Currently, Delta ranks fourth in market share at the Los Angeles airport in terms of passenger departures, behind United, American and Southwest airlines. LAX will rank fifth in Delta's network in terms of destinations, behind Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City and New York's John F. Kennedy airport.
Still, the expansion comes as Delta executives say they plan to focus on adding new Latin American and Asian routes as part of the carrier's ongoing efforts to shift more flying overseas.
Before and during its 19-month bankruptcy restructuring, the airline cut domestic capacity and expanded international capacity, particularly on flights to Europe.
Last winter, Delta added 21 new routes out of Los Angeles to cities in the United States and Latin America. Los Angeles would also be a good jumping-off point for flights to Asia next year, to complement new flights from Atlanta to Seoul, South Korea, this summer. Delta is lobbying to gain rights to start flights from Atlanta to Shanghai, China, in 2008.
Also Wednesday, Delta financial chief Ed Bastian briefed industry analysts during an airline conference. He told them Delta plans to continue its gradual shift toward more international flying. Bastian also said Delta is not seeing the domestic demand weakness some carriers report heading into the summer.
And he said Delta plans upgrades at its Kennedy airport international gateway, although no decision has been made on whether to revive plans for a new terminal.
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U.S. carriers are adding flights, hoping to cash in on an increase in travel between the countries.