Airlines Respond to Soaring Fuel Costs, Japan
Major airlines have moved aggressively to rationalize fleet use in the wake of higher jet fuel prices. With a jump of more than 60% since last summer, Delta, Continental Holdings, and Air Canada have all trimmed growth plans for the remainder of 2011.
Delta has announced a 25% reduction in flights from their Memphis hub with a corresponding 8% drop in passenger capacity there. Delta's overall U.S. domestic capacity will drop from a 2% planned increase to a 3% reduction. Transatlantic service will be cut by 4%, while a planned 13% increase to Asia will be trimmed to 4%. Revenue is expected to drop by some $150 million due to events in Japan.
Continental Holdings has announced flat capacity growth, down from an overall expected year-on-year increase of 3%. Expansion of international capacity at Continental-United will continue at 3%, but will be offset by a 3% reduction in U.S. domestic seat availability.
Air Canada has also come under increasing fuel-related pressures announcing layoffs of 600 staff across its network. Cancelled routes include Ottawa-Washington Dulles, Montreal-Washington Dulles, Calgary-Chicago, and Calgary-San Francisco.