Delta Airlines’ international passenger traffic up in 2008, domestic traffic down

Saturday, January 10, 2009, 15:03 by Aviation Correspondent

The passenger traffic at Delta Air Lines, based in Atlanta, Georgia, the United Sates, increased by 13.7% in 2008 thanks to a rise in international routes. However, Delta’s domestic traffic was down by 5.3% in the same period.

A statement from the company said that Delta Air Lines flew 123.1 billion revenue passenger miles. (Revenue passenger mile is an industry measure that represents one mile flown by one paying passenger.)

Capacity – also called available seat miles – went down at Delta Air Lines by 0.5%. Load factor – also known as occupancy – rose by 1.1 points to 81.5%.

Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines merged in October 2008 to become the world’s largest carrier. Delta operates domestic and international network, covering North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

Delta Air Lines also said its passenger traffic was up slightly in December 2008 as compared with November 2008, mainly owing to increased international flying.

However, the carrier’s overall capacity decreased by 2.4% in December 2008.

As for December 2008, traffic at Delta rose by 0.7% to 9.78 billion revenue passenger miles from 9.72 billion revenue passenger miles in 2007.

The December 2008 traffic at Northwest Airlines fell by 3.6% to 6.04 billion revenue passenger miles from a year ago.

The December 2008 capacity at Delta fell 2.4% to 12.2 billion available seat miles from 2007, and fell 4.5% to 7.38 billion available seat miles at Northwest Airlines.

Load factor in December 2008 rose to 80.1% from 77.7% at Delta, and to 81.9% from 81.2% at Northwest Airlines.

Separately, traffic at Northwest Airlines was down by 3.6% overall year over year.

The company’s statement explained that Delta’s domestic traffic was down by 5.3% in 2008 because airline reduced its domestic seats by 7.5% even while increasing international capacity by 14%

Delta said it scaled back domestic flying “because of stiff competition that has held fare prices and profits in check. International flying, where competition is less, is more lucrative.”

The airline added: “Delta Air Lines also cut domestic capacity to cope with oil prices which rose to a record peak of $147 a barrel in July 2008. Prices collapsed in the second half of 2008, and now Delta is contending with weak demand caused by a year-long recession.”

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines has started fare sales in about 300 cities across the United States and Canada, including Salt Lake City, where it has a hub and 3,500 employees.

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