Based on 1999’s data, Delta is the largest U.S. airline in terms of aircraft departures and passengers flown, and the third largest as measured by operating revenues and revenue passenger miles flown. As of August 1st, 1999, Delta’s officers mentioned to this reporter that “our company is the leading U.S. airline across the Atlantic and the world’s most flown airline, with over 105 million passengers flying on Delta in 1999, Delta Express, the Delta Shuttle, Delta Connection, carriers and Delta’s Worldwide Partners operate 521 flights each day to 353 cities in 56 countries throughout USA, Canada, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean from 12 US gateway cities”.
In addition to scheduled passenger services, the airline provides air freight, mail and related aviation services (including maintenance and management services to other companies in the commercial field). It was with this profile that I toured Atlanta’s Headquarters of Delta Air Lines, which traces its roots to 1924 at Monroe – Louisiana when Huff Daland Dusters founded it as the world’s first aerial crop dusting organization. In 1928 the company became Delta Air Service and on June 17th, 1929 a Travel Air Model S-6000-B departed from Dallas-Texas, for Jackson-Mississippi with five passengers. In 1941, the company moved its headquarters from Monroe to its current main facilities located at Atlanta-Georgia.
DELTA’S OVERVIEW: TODAY & BEYOND
For the calendar year 1999, Delta’s operating revenues were U$S 14.4 Billion, up three percent compared to the 1998. With over 74.000 employees, it operates 582 jet aircraft (Boeing 727-200, 737-300, 737-800, 757-200, 767-200, 767-300/ER, 777-200, L-1011-1/250/500, MD-11, MD-80/90), and currently holds orders and options for over 275 additional aircraft (Boeing 737-600/700/800, 757-200, 767-300/300 ER, 767-400, 777-200) for delivery through the next twenty years.
Mr. Leo Mullin, President and CEO of Delta Air Lines, tells us: “Our fleet rejuvenation program will create the quietest and most fuel efficient aircraft possible, with initiatives already under way such as the replacement of 100 older, less efficient Boeing 727s with 737-800 aircraft”.
Also he said to us “A Boeing 737-800 at take-off, two miles from the runway, registers under 70 decibels, which is less noisy than street-corner traffic. And US Environmental Protection Agency data indicate that today, aircraft contribute only about 2 percent of all carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions into the atmosphere and still smaller portion of the hydrocarbon emissions”.
The three major hubs operated by Delta in US are Atlanta, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City, with others gateway/ hub operations at Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles to the Pacific, in addition to New York’s J.F.Kennedy Airport to distributed traffic within Europe and beyond.
“For the second time, Delta was named Best Cargo Airline to North America by Air Cargo News (April 98), determined by airline customers, the awards are considered the most prestigious in the industry” commented Tracy O’Donnal, from Delta’s Corporate Communication for Latin America. In January 1999 “our company was awarded the Diamond Award in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Aviation Maintenance Technician (ATM) safety Award Program for exceeding the FAA’s requirements for employer participation in the training program”.
Also our colleague, the Air Transport World magazine named Delta Air Lines as “1998 Airline of the Year” in January 1999, and Aviation Week & Space Technology named Delta the “1999 Best Managed Major Airline and the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Business Innovation Award ’99 for its Technical operations Division”.
Delta’s Latin America entity achieved strong revenue improvement over fiscal year 1998, when it initiated service to Latin America destinations (San Salvador, San Jose, Panama, Caracas, Lima, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro), expanding its presence to Mexico by adding frecuencies to key business markets (Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara).