Home Airlines Delta Is Already Scaling Back Transatlantic Plans For Winter Season

Delta Is Already Scaling Back Transatlantic Plans For Winter Season

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Update 29 September 2020: Delta has pushed through yet more cancellations and frequency reductions.

It was less than four weeks ago that Delta first unveiled its transatlantic plans for the upcoming winter season (and for summer 2020) and, at the time, I pointed out that the proposed plans looked ambitious in the light of what was going on around us. Delta has now posted a long list of updates to its worldwide schedules for winter 2020/21 and it looks like the airline has come to the same conclusion that I did as it cuts routes and frequencies proposed just 4 weeks ago.

Delta’s Transatlantic Schedule Changes – Winter 2020/21

Services From Atlanta


Delta was proposing to operate two weekly flights between Atlanta and Munich during the upcoming winter season but the latest schedule update shows that these services have now been removed from the airline’s systems. The route is now not scheduled to return before summer 2021.

Services From Boston


Four weeks ago Delta outlined plans to offer 5 weekly flights between Boston and London but the latest schedule update shows just 4 weekly flights in winter 2020/21.


The Boston – Paris route was scheduled to offer 4 flights per week during the upcoming winter season but it has now been removed from the winter schedule completely and is now not expected to resume until summer 2021.

Services From New York (JFK)

Four weeks ago, all of the following destinations were scheduled to receive 5 weekly flights from New York JFK:

  • Barcelona
  • Brussels
  • Dublin
  • Frankfurt
  • Madrid
  • Rome
  • Zurich

The latest schedule changes see the frequency to Barcelona dropping to 4x/week the route to Barcelona cancelled, the frequency on the route to Madrid dropped to just 2x/week, and the frequencies on all the other routes being pared back to just 3x/week. That may not seem like a big change at first glance, but when you consider that the loss of 2 weekly flights from a route that was originally scheduled to offer 5 weekly flights represents a 40% drop in service, it looks considerably more serious.

The Outlier

One of Delta’s transatlantic routes is bucking the trend and, surprisingly, is being brought back when just four weeks ago it wasn’t scheduled to restart before next summer. While numerous routes are seeing services cut, the route between Minneapolis/St Paul and Amsterdam is coming back and it’s coming back strong – Delta plans to offer 4 weekly flights between these two cities during winter 2020/21/

Quick Thoughts

There really isn’t all that much to add here as the number speak for themselves. With the number of Covid-19 cases rising rapidly in Europe, the plans that Delta announced at the very end of August always looked unlikely to come to full fruition and that’s what we’re seeing now.

Countries like France, Italy, Spain, and the UK have been reintroducing restrictions on people and businesses in the past few weeks and other European countries are almost certain to follow soon. We’re not seeing conditions that are conducive to increased travel across the Atlantic and Delta has quickly worked out that it would be at risk of flying empty aircraft back and forth across the pond if it didn’t rethink its strategy…so that’s what it has done.

Bottom Line

Delta is already rolling back some of its plans to offer increased services across the Atlantic in the coming winter season. Based on how things are looking in Europe, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more cuts being made in the coming weeks.

[HT: Routes Online]

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  1. Not surprised. Airlines were projecting Covid as though it was a weather event. Wrong. This winter will not see a boost in travel, but a reversal. Please consider just two days ago that Lufthansa stated only a 20-30 percent of normal capacity this fall-winter season is forecast!
    Consider alone the ski season in Europe. Austria will open ski resorts, but no Apres Ski, limited numbers on the pistes. It just isn’t going to happen. Never mind the growing European restrictions just this week. Never mind that businesses are not allowing their people to fly. The big fall and winter season with the huge industry conventions, exhibitions, car shows, hundreds of these in Europe alone usually took place, but not 2020-2021 season. Huge hit to air travel. Who in their right mind would get on a flight to Europe – if they are even allowed (not American passport holders) only to quarantine or have to wear a mask, with venues closed, etc.

    Airlines have made optimistic assumptions which reality has rendered them wrong.


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