Delta, Northwest Airlines report drop in November 2008 traffic; Delta to fly to Fargo and Bismarck, North Dakota

Sunday, December 7, 2008, 15:42 by Aviation Correspondent

Delta Air Lines, based and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States, has said that the November 2008 traffic dropped at both Delta and its new subsidiary, Northwest Airlines.

Delta flew 4.9% fewer revenue passenger miles, a measure of traffic that counts one passenger flown one mile.

In a statement, Delta Air Lines said the November 2008 system-wide total (counting Delta regional flights, but not Northwest Airlines) was 8.91 billion miles, down from 9.36 billion during November 2007. However, there was an increase in the category of international flying – a rise by 7.6% to 3.13 billion miles.

Delta’s system traffic in November 2008 went down by 4.9% as against November 2007 on a capacity decrease of 5.3%. The system load factor rose in November 2008 by 0.3 points compared to the same period a year ago.

Delta’s international traffic increased by 7.6% year over year on a 13.1% rise in capacity, and load factor declined by 3.6 points. Domestic traffic fell by 10.5% year over year on 13.7% lower capacity. Load factor increased by 2.8 points to 80.0%, higher than any previous November on record.

Capacity, measured in available seat miles, by fell by 5.3% to 11.5 billion miles system-wide, from 12.15 billion a year ago.

Load factor, an industry measure of occupancy, jumped to 77.4% from 77.1% in November 2008.

The statement from Delta said a similar situation existed at Northwest Airlines, which Delta acquired at the end of October 2008, but which still operates as a stand-alone carrier.

Northwest Airlines’ system traffic in November 2008 fell by 7.4% on a capacity decrease of 4.7%. The carrier’s system load factor in November 2008 dropped by 2.3 points compared to the same period a year ago.

Northwest Airlines’ domestic traffic in November 2008 was down by 10%.

Northwest’s capacity came down by 4.7% to 7.08 billion available seat miles, from 7.43 billion available seat miles a year ago.

While Northwest’s international traffic decreased by 3.4% year over year on a 1.3% rise in capacity, load factor fell by 3.9 points. Domestic traffic decreased by 10.0% year over year on an 8.7% drop in capacity, and load factor decreased by 1.2 points.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines has announced that it will restore daily non-stop flights to Fargo, North Dakota, the United States, and begin new service to Bismarck, North Dakota, in June 2009.

The airline will resume a cancelled flight and add a second flight to Fargo on June 4, 2009. Service to Bismarck will begin on the same day.

Both routes will be operated by SkyWest Airlines, which flies for Delta as Delta Connection. SkyWest will use 50-seat CRJ200 regional jets on the route.

Delta Air Lines is the world’s largest airline. From its hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St Paul, New York’s John F Kennedy International, Salt Lake City as well as Narita Airport in Japan, Delta, its subsidiary Northwest Airlines and Delta Connection carriers offer service to over 376 destinations worldwide in 66 countries and serve over 170 million passengers each year.

Customers of Delta, the company said, can check in for flights, print boarding passes, and check bags and flight status at the website delta.com