DELTA Airlines suspends Dubai-New York Service

Delta Air Lines, Inc., the only US carrier to service the Middle East has announced the continued suspension of its thrice-weekly Dubai-New York JFK service citing the severe economic downturn in global air transport demand.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  October 4, 2001

Delta Air Lines, Inc., the only US carrier to service the Middle East has announced the continued suspension of its thrice-weekly Dubai-New York JFK service citing the severe economic downturn in global air transport demand.

The announcement comes in the wake of a domino effect that has shaken the airline and aviation industry with announcements of massive layoffs, $5 insurance surcharges and most recently the collapse of Swissair.

Delta says the suspension is expected to last until at least March next year but is hopeful that once demand for travel returns to normal levels, it will be able to re-instate the service. "We have made this decision with a heavy heart as we had hoped to continue a long and uninterrupted presence in Dubai," said Paul G. Matsen, Delta's Senior Vice President International and Alliances. "Let me reiterate that we do, however, hope to return to Dubai in the future.

"The recent tragedy in the U.S. has severely affected our business to the point where Delta has been forced to eliminate a number of flights. Delta is not alone in making these decisions, airlines from around the world are having to suspend a number of services in order to reduce costs." In addition, in international markets, Delta is also suspending through to March 15, 2002, flights from John F. Kennedy airport in New York to Tokyo, Munich, Dublin, Shannon, Cairo, Zurich and Brussels, while service to Stockholm will be suspended indefinitely.

Last week, Delta said that due to dramatically lower demand for air travel following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and resulting unprecedented financial losses, the company would reduce staffing by up to 13,000 jobs across all major work groups over the next few months, with a significant number of reductions expected to come through voluntary programmes. The airline said it also planned to reduce capacity by 15% from November 1, 2001 as measured by available seat miles from the level of service provided before September 11, 2001.

Delta is also adjusting its short-term fleet plan in line with its schedule reductions. The current fleet plan provides for accelerated retirement of various aircraft, temporary grounding of aircraft and possible delay of new aircraft deliveries. Current plans call for up to 60 aircraft being grounded at any given time. Delta will continually review that strategy based on demand and operational needs. Delta will continue to have a network sales and reservations presence in the Emirates through Sharaf Travel in Dubai and Sultan Bin Yousuf Travels in Abu Dhabi.

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