Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
International Consolidated Airlines Group S.a. LSE:IAG London Ordinary Share ES0177542018 ORD EUR0.10 (CDI)
  Price Change % Change Share Price Bid Price Offer Price High Price Low Price Open Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  5.00 2.61% 196.90 196.96 197.00 197.38 193.06 195.28 25,767,547 16:35:18
Industry Sector Turnover (m) Profit (m) EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap (m)
Travel & Leisure 21,584.2 1,925.2 73.1 2.7 9,789

Delta Expects New Slots To Foster Growth At Heathrow Airport

23/02/2011 3:43pm

Dow Jones News

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Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) will add more flights at London's Heathrow airport with a special focus on lucrative transatlantic routes after securing slots that British Airways and AMR Corp's American Airlines were forced to surrender due to competition issues after forging their alliance.

Delta's Senior Vice President for Europe, Middle East & Africa, Perry Cantarutti, told reporters that the company will continue to look at further opportunities at the world's busiest international passenger airport. He declined to comment on how much Delta paid for the new slots.

The second-largest U.S. airline will increase flights per day from Heathrow to U.S. destinations to 10 from currently seven and add flights to Boston and Miami in March. Cantarutti noted that demand at London's smaller Gatwick airport held up well despite the company's focus on Heathrow.

Cantarutti said Delta was happy with the timings within its slot portfolio and is "feeling good about the demand environment" as far as forward bookings are concerned.

Delta has fitted all its Heathrow flights with flatbed seats. Through a one-two-one configuration per row of seats each passenger has direct access to an aisle.

Delta is embroiled in legal dispute over flatbed seats and whether they infringe on Virgin Atlantic's patent. The U.K. Court of Appeal earlier Wednesday ruled in favor of the U.K. airline, but Delta could still go to The Supreme Court, Europe's highest court, to appeal.

Delta is targeting a one percent increase in capacity over the calendar year. But this target could come under threat should fuel prices continue to rise. This could demand "judicious" management of the company's network, Cantarutti said.

Delta is looking to retire some of its aircraft as part of a fleet replacement plan, but this won't hurt revenue because at the same time it will optimize the use of aircraft, Cantarutti said. Delta will retire its DC-9 fleet over the next 12 to 18 months and half of its Saab fleet over the coming 12 months.

Delta has so far successfully implemented higher fuel surcharges, and Cantarutti said it will be targeting further increases.

On Feb. 3, Delta's President Ed Bastian said the company recouped half of the rise in jet fuel costs over the past two months through higher fares.

Cantarutti said he expects Delta to resume flights from New York's JFK airport to Egypt in May, provided that stability returns in the North African country. Egypt was rocked by social unrest in recent weeks. Delta operates flights to seven destinations in Africa.

Cantarutti said Delta had to suspend flights in Egypt when it became increasingly difficult to run flights because of curfews. Additionally, airlines were restricted to fly during daytime only. Stranded customers had been put on SkyTeam partner airlines, Air France-KLM (AF.FR) to get them out of the region.

-By Kaveri Niththyananthan, Dow Jones Newswires; 4420 7842 9299; 

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