Delta lays out plans to restart more international flights

July 22, 2020 Atlanta - Social distancing signs are  displayed as travelers wait for a train on Concourse A at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
July 22, 2020 Atlanta - Social distancing signs are displayed as travelers wait for a train on Concourse A at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Delta Air Lines plans to resume more international flights this fall and next year in a recovery from steep route cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Atlanta-based Delta said the restart of service comes with “the lifting of travel restrictions, potential vaccine availability and the gradual return of demand.” It added that international travel is still slower to return than domestic flying within the United States.

Delta had halted almost all of its international routes due to COVID-19. But in the past couple of months the airline announced the resumption of some service, including weekly flights from Atlanta to Seoul-Incheon in July and service from Atlanta to Tokyo this month.

Starting Oct. 25, Delta plans to ramp up its flights from Atlanta to Tokyo and Seoul, with four flights a week to Tokyo Haneda and at least five flights a week to Seoul Incheon. That will increase to daily service on each route starting March 28, 2021.

Those flights are among more than 50 overseas flights Delta plans to add to its schedule for next summer from a variety of hubs.

For this fall, Delta is still seeking approval to resume flights from Atlanta to Lagos and Johannesburg. It will continue to operate flights from Atlanta to Paris, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt and Munich.

Starting March 28, 2021, Delta said it will resume flights from Atlanta to Barcelona, Dublin, Rome, Madrid and Stuttgart.

Delta has not announced plans to resume flights from Atlanta to Shanghai, and is instead operating flights to China from other hubs in Detroit and Seattle. The airline is using Seattle as a key trans-Pacific gateway and has opened a new international arrivals facility there. Next summer, Delta said it plans to operate daily flights to Shanghai from Detroit, Seattle and Los Angeles.

The Atlanta-Shanghai route failed to attract enough passengers for years, even before the coronavirus pandemic.

Delta also has a smaller fleet, after retiring dozens of planes including its Boeing 777s. For long-haul international flying, it will depend on Airbus A350s, A330s and Boeing 767s.

The airline warned that its schedule “remains subject to change due to the evolving nature of COVID-19, customer demand, government travel regulations and federal health guidelines.”

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