MIAMI — Delta Air Lines is now more than a year into its Seattle experiment, so Airways decided to take a look at some of the data coming out of Seattle through the early part of this year. Delta has positioned Seattle as its West Coast Asian gateway and accordingly, it has added service to several Asian destinations from Seattle. However, in order to support that Asian growth, Delta has also added service to several US destinations in order to provide feed for long haul departures and connectivity for long haul arrivals from and to Seattle.
The carrier will continue to add service in Seattle throughout the remainder of 2014, however, it is not too early to begin evaluating its performance in early 2014 in Seattle. Fare data for the first half of 2014 will not be available for some time, however load factor data is available as recently as May 2014. With that in mind, we tabulated Delta’s inbound and outbound load factor for every domestic destination from Seattle (using DOT data) for May 2014, which are presented in the table and chart below.
|Destination||Outbound Load Factor||Inbound Load Factor|
|New York JFK||84.9%||87.4%|
|Minneapolis St. Paul||90.2%||94.3%|
|Salt Lake City||77.1%||90.7%|
Load factors for Delta in Seattle were mixed. Flights to other Delta hubs (excepting Los Angeles) and Anchorage performed extremely well in terms of loads, as one would expect during the beginning of the peak travel season. The seasonal services to Fairbanks and Juneau performed poorly, though the number of flights in May wasn’t huge. Services to non-Delta hubs continued to perform poorly in terms of load factors, likely due to the spool-up process.
Given that fares to Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles aren’t exceedingly high, the poor loads imply that on a stand-alone basis, these routes are not fantastic performers. That being said, without a picture of what international loads and fares look like, it is still too early to conclude anything too firmly. However, the load factor data does indicate that Delta’s early returns in Seattle are mixed.