DL to start ORD-LHR


Corn Field
Dec 5, 2003
As of northern autumn 2014, DL will fly ORD-LHR on a 767 as part of the DL-Virgin Atlantic joint venture


VS' flight ends the previous day.

DL will also operate ORD-CDG for the DL-AF JV during the winter as they are doing currently.

How long has it been since DL or NW had two int'l departures on any day from ORD?

DL also operates EWR-AMS and EWR-CDG for the DL-AF/KL JV

In other midwest news, DL is also adding CLE-IND and CLE-RDU with one flight/day
robbedagain said:
just part of delta quest to conquer the world
Haters gonna hate...
I find this move surprising even with the JBV. DL doesn't have a large presence at ORD and never really has, unlike BOS, MIA, PDX, SFO, etc where they operate long haul flights. I assume this flight will operate from T5 as I doubt their gates in T2 can accommodate a 763.

yoyodyne   not a dl hater  my dad is retired dl sta mgr    dl has a sizeable presence at ord  given they have the ny shuttle btwn the 2 cities
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737823 said:
I find this move surprising even with the JBV. DL doesn't have a large presence at ORD and never really has, unlike BOS, MIA, PDX, SFO, etc where they operate long haul flights. I assume this flight will operate from T5 as I doubt their gates in T2 can accommodate a 763.

None of DL, AF/KL, or VS have a large presence at ORD compared to AA and UA and their partners but ORD is a major global business city that DL sees value in serving to the greatest degree possible.

As with the ORD-CDG route as well as DL's operation of EWR-AMS and EWR-CDG, the 767-300ER's size makes it possible to serve markets that otherwise might not be served at all. Further, since DL has a lot of summer seasonal service to Europe, this route allows DL to flatten out the seasonality of its network along with the employment levels and aircraft that are involved. It would also appear that VS doesn't use the slot during the winter or if they do it would have been to a leisure destination in the Caribbean.

Also, keep in mind that the AF/KL and VS JVs with DL are separate so the European partners can gain no benefit between themselves but DL is the link between each that can improve the performance of each JV by leveraging the strength of each partnership and DL's size in ORD, even though it is surpassed by AA and UA.

Finally, keep in mind that DL has used the 767 successfully in EWR to have a DL presence similar to what will be done here... the only difference is that AMS and CDG are both under the DL/AF-KL JV.

alot of people forget that DL occupied most if not all of concourse L at ORD at one time and also ground handled a number of foreign airlines during airport construction.

DL isn't going to try to match AA or UA at ORD but they will grow into key markets where their network supports it. I also believe you will see DL add a few other key routes from ORD to other business markets. Given that large RJs are such a high percentage of AA and UA's schedules at ORD, the hurdle for profitability is a whole lot lower than in markets where there is a high percentage of large mainline aircraft.
Does DL have a crew base at ORD? If not, safe to assume they'll stage the crews something like DTW-CDG-ORD-CDG-DTW?

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I am quite certain that DTW pilots fly the CVG-CDG flight now so your assumption is probably correct.
IS CVG not a pilot base?

In 2011 when I flew the DL 764 BOS-LHR it was JFK pilots but PM-DL F/As. At the time PM-DL did the CDG and LHR flights, PM-NW exclusively did the two AMS flights. Its all integrated now of course, but I wonder where the pilots are based.

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Meto or Kev might wish to comment but I believe CVG is now only a pilot base for one of the narrowbodies - I think the M88.

I also believe the only 764 (which is not common with any other fleet type) pilot bases are ATL and JFK.

relatively small pilot bases are expensive to operate given reserves so it is more economical to do W patterns like you noted. DTW doesn't have that much 767 int'l activity so the more it serves as a regional pilot base, the better it works.

It also argues that a common fleet for the city could help put a pilot base there but there are very different demand patterns between AMS, CDG< and LHR.
what crew and aircraft does dl use from pit to cdg   if they still do that run?  I remember they started shortly after us pulled the plug on the pit fra and pit cdg run
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DL from both PIT and PHL have summer seasonal 757 to CDG.

I don't know about the crew but the PIT 757 rotates thru JFK as an extra flight on certain days. DL also adds a flight on its own metal from BOS-CDG during the summer; this year it looks like it will be a 763.

Crew bids aren't available yet for this summer although someone might know what bases have flown these routes in the past.
This makes about as much sense as MIA-LHR and BOS-LHR, and apparently, it's for the same reason. From what I'm hearing, VS is apparently doing more of the heavy lifting in the JV, and DL has to meet their side of the bargain. VS has nothing small enough to serve the market during the winter, so DL gets to step in:

LHR  ATL  DL  25726 
LHR  BOS  DL  7230  
LHR  BOS  VS  11297  
LHR  DTW  DL  18414  
LHR  EWR  VS  21150  
LHR  IAD  VS  11300  
LHR  JFK  DL  20310  
LHR  JFK  VS  56070  
LHR  LAX  VS  27000  
LHR  MIA  VS  15132  
LHR  MSP  DL  7230  
LHR  ORD  VS  9668  
LHR  SEA  DL  6540  
LHR  SFO  VS  17460 
LHR  YVR  VS  5440  
      VS  174517  67%
      DL  85450  33%
When you look at the comparison to ORD-CDG, that's a defensible market, since it's a Skyteam hub, and there will be some connections at either end.

ORD-LHR? DL becomes the fourth carrier in the market, while the other three (two of them immunized) will have hubs at one end or the other and a significant alliance presence.

They'll get some spill traffic from the Skyteam loyalists who are begrudgingly flying on AA, BA, or UA today, and they might capture some of the traffic which was flowing over JFK. VS does have some morning flights to MAN & EDI, but that's about the extent of the connection opportunities unless you want to wait for one of their evening flights to places that DL already serves nonstop from JFK or the west coast.
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It isn't exactly an industry secret that VS has larger gauge aircraft and a much larger LHR network; that is why DL bought 49% of them.

nor is it a secret that they are losing a lot of money and needed some industry expert. You haven't forgotten that VS' leader and DL's partner is a former AA exec - in London. Suppose he might know a thing or two about what DL and VS needs to do?

You also realize that DL is still flying BOS-LHR on its own metal while AA is not?

As has been mentioned, ORD is a major business market that VS has not served. DL has 767s that are small enough to serve the market.

The ORD-LHR market is at least twice as large as ORD-CDG. DL and VS believe they need to have a presence in the market.

While you would like to draw a big circle around LHR and call it "all mine" there is ample evidence, including in the JFK-LHR market that DL has done a pretty good job of pushing into what was once exclusively AA/BA territory.

With 210 seats to fill, DL isn't expecting to be signing up every contract inside the loop.

They do expect to be able to do what VS hasn't been able to do which is to provide year around service in a key market and to use DL's stronger position in Chicago to help build the DL-VS JV.