Delta Cutting Capacity With Smaller Aircraft

I was just reading that Delta is downsizing the aircraft it flies between New York and Washington, and I’ve noticed that it’s doing something similar between Bradley and its Atlanta hub.

“By March, the Delta Shuttle’s 15 daily round-trip flights between New York’s LaGuardia and Washington’s Reagan National airport will be on 76-seat Embraer jets instead of 148-seat MD-88 jets used now,” reports Dan Reed in USA Today.

What I see, clicking through Delta’s schedule, is that it will replace the last remaining 757s it flies between Bradley and Atlanta.

Delta flies to Atlanta between five and seven times daily. Lately, two of those flights have been on 757s and the rest on MD-80s with the very occasional 737. By January, they will all be MD-88s — again with the very occasional 737.

The 757s carry 186 passengers. The MD-80s and Md-90s carry between 138 and 150. Most of Delta’s newer 737s carry 180, though some hold only 124.

This move may reflect some changes in the economics and dynamics of commercial air flight. For the past few years, airlines have been worried about fuel costs and congestion, which caused them to reverse a trend toward more flights on smaller aircraft.

But fuel prices are down and airlines have cut back schedules hard. Smaller aircraft, if not more flights, may start to make sense again.

It was not so long ago that Delta flew 767s out of Bradley, but there is no longer any airline flying wide-body passenger aircraft from Connecticut. Sigh.


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