Quick Take: Delta brings back Atlanta-Shanghai

Quick Take:

Delta is calling this an expansion but it really is just a shift away from connections at its former Narita hub. Interesting that the carrier chose a return to Atlanta rather than using the slots for LAX-Beijing service, a route it sparred with AA over recently (including again just last week). No doubt that connecting flow in Atlanta is better than at LAX, though flight time is also longer so more expensive to run

Also, this is adding ASMs – though not frequencies – in the face of significant pressures in China (Both United and Delta have cited such in their Q2 earnings in recent days) and continued growth from Chinese carriers with service to the US, especially from secondary and tertiary cities. That may have a negative impact on the value Delta expects to realize with the onward connections with China Eastern.


ATLANTAJuly 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) is expanding in Asia with new service between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport starting in July 2018.

The new Atlanta flight will be Delta’s fourth U.S. gateway to Shanghai, complementing existing service from DetroitSeattle and Los Angeles. The flight will provide convenient one-stop access to more than 150 destinations in the U.S. and Latin America from Shanghai. In addition, the flight will also provide access to more than 50 destinations in China with codeshare partner China Eastern.

“Strong demand for Delta service across the Pacific and to China nonstop from the U.S. as well as our China Eastern partnership make this route compelling for both business and leisure travelers,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to connecting Delta’s hometown and China Eastern’s home with this route, while offering our customers innovative products, thoughtful in-flight service and leading operational reliability.”

The flight creates a direct link between one of China’s major commercial and industrial centers and Atlanta. The new flight adds to Delta’s existing service to Seoul and Tokyo, providing Atlanta with non-stop service to the three largest markets in Asia and convenient one-stop access to more than 75 destinations in Asia with partners China Eastern and Korean Air.

“Both global connectivity and maintaining a strong relationship with China are extremely vital to Georgia’seconomic landscape,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. “This nonstop flight will not only serve our tourism industry by shortening the international travel time, but will bolster our business community as well. The flight will help shorten supply chains for our companies and give them a daily link to China for time-sensitive distribution. I appreciate Delta Air Lines for all of its hard work in making sure that Georgiaremains a leader in the global marketplace.”

“Delta is a leading worldwide airline, and connecting Atlanta and Shanghai with direct service is a tremendous step for global commerce and for Georgia,” said U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).

“This is a huge win for Georgia jobs and businesses. I’m glad to see Delta leading the charge to connect the U.S. business sector to one of the world’s largest financial hubs in Shanghai,” said U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.).

“We are pleased that Delta is now offering non-stop service to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, strengthening Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s standing as the world’s busiest and most-efficient passenger airport and a gateway to the world,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “This new direct route will open new business and cultural opportunities between Shanghai and Atlanta, and will support our thriving tourism industry. Currently, China ranks second for visitor volume to Atlanta, and we welcome the new travelers who will be able to come to our city or through our airport with this new direct route.”

“Reinstating this vital intercontinental route further attests to metro Atlanta’s standing as a logistics powerhouse and gateway to the world,” said Hala Moddelmog, President and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “The team at Delta Air Lines continues to bring forward innovation and smart business ideas that inspire the airline industry and solidify our region’s position as a top-tier global competitor.”

Delta’s proposed service will operate on the following schedule (subject to government approval):




DL 185

Atlanta at 3 p.m.

Shanghai at 6:50 p.m. (next day)

DL 186

Shanghai at 11:40 a.m.

Atlanta at 2:55 p.m.

Delta’s onboard experience to and from Shanghai will be on the 291-seat Boeing 777-200LR aircraft featuring 37 lie-flat seats with direct aisle access in Delta One, 36 seats in Delta Comfort+ and 218 seats in the Main Cabin. The Delta One suite and Delta Premium Select will progressively roll out on Delta’s Boeing 777 fleet beginning in late 2018.

SOURCE Delta Air Lines

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

One Comment

  1. I’m shocked Delta’s press release doesn’t mention China Eastern’s government subsidies!

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