Business

Delta adds Kingston to Atlanta flight

By Shamille Scott Business Reporter scotts@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 26, 2013    

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Delta Air Lines has added a Kingston to Atlanta route.

In fact, this may come as a relief to travellers who have to contend with a three-and-a half hour ride from Kingston to Montego Bay to catch the air line's flights.

But for the airline, it means getting into a segment that has volumes.

"It's (Kingston to Atlanta) a really big addition for us, it's one of those markets that we need to be in," Nicolas Ferri, Delta's vice president, Latin America and the Caribbean. "It's important and we want to be a part of it."

Ferri told the Jamaica Observer last week at the Delta Air Lines Media Summit in New York that the service complements the one in Montego Bay and reinforces Delta's commitment to Jamaica.

Already the schedule is in Delta's system and customers will have daily flights starting December 19.

It will operate most of the year with an MD-88 aircraft, which has 149 seats.

During the peak seasons such as Christmas and Summer, it will use much bigger aircraft, to accommodate additional passengers and baggage.

What's more, Delta has an oil refinery which it acquired last year to help cut fuel costs.

This addition means the company will spend less but it also means customers could get more value.

The oil refinery has had a positive effect of driving down costs, and in any business where you have those significant benefits; it can translate into value for its customers, said Richard Anderson, Delta Air Lines' chief executive officer.

"It gives us profitability, we can build more applications, and improve our services to beautiful countries like Jamaica," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Delta's mobile application helps flyers to track their luggage.

The percentage of mishandled bags in Latin America and the Caribbean region has dropped during the second and third quarters during 2010 to 2012.

But Ferri says the plan is to have the incidence of mishandled bags disappear.

At the same time, the airline has established networks and relationships around the world.

Delta invested in GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, the largest airline from South America. The partnership in GOL allows the company to offer access to more interior Brazil points than any other US airline.

Furthermore, it means that airline will have a stronger presence in the fastest growing South American economy and the country that is set to host the 2014 World Cup Football.

This alliance puts Delta in a position to serve 99 per cent of all demand points between the US and Brazil.

Delta sees itself as leading in the revival of the airline industry. So much so that it has pumped a sizeable amount of cash to the tune of US US$1.4 billion into the expansion of Terminal 4 at the John F Kennedy Airport. The extended facility officially opened on Friday.

"The state-of-the-art Terminal 4 facilities have been years in the making and Delta people, global customers and the residents of New York now have the international hub facility that they expect and deserve," said Anderson. "It's an exciting time at Delta and JFK Terminal 4 is emblematic of the investments we are making in New York and around the world.

"JFK T4 is the centre of Delta's most important global getaway, with services to 100 cities worldwide," the airline said.

As Delta would have it, it's renovated and expanded terminal at the Kennedy Airport will lure travellers with better amenities.

Terminal 4 expansion includes, nine new renovated gates, improved check-in areas, new dining and retail offerings and an in-line baggage system to streamline and improve the baggage handling system.

The Terminal 4 Delta Sky Club, the largest in the Delta system, offers travelers superior amenities and a unique customer experience. Debuting at JFK Terminal 4, it has a 2,000-square-foot rooftop terrace that overlooks Jamaica Bay.

"In addition we are commencing phase 2 of a construction project, which will ultimately create 11 additional gates at the airport, the facility has around 100 check-ins, and the international arrival hall can handle over 3,000 passengers per hour," the CEO told over 80 journalists at the Westin Hotel in Times Square.

Delta is leading the US industry revival, and as we look forward and look at the opportunities and is c commitment for being the best for travellers we have a bright future in the next decade, Anderson said.

The company announced a capital deployment program aimed at creating up to US$5 billion of value for shareholders, including returning more than US$1 billion to shareholders over the next three years, Delta said.

Over the next five years, it will reinvest more than US$2 billion annually into improving the company's fleet, facilities, products and technology.

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