Delta Update

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https://thepointsguy.com/news/delta-cape-town-johannesburg-south-africa-airbus-a350/

Delta will add Cape Town service to keep Johannesburg flights going with the Airbus A350

Edward Russell
3h ago
12
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Delta Air Lines has plans for how to continue serving some of its longest-haul routes to places like Johannesburg and Sydney with the Airbus A350 following its decision to retire the Boeing 777.

The Atlanta-based carrier will add A350-900s with the capability of flying all but one of the four ultra long-haul routes previously flown with 777-200LRs, Delta president Glen Hauenstein told staff during a virtual town hall on Wednesday viewed by TPG. Flights to Mumbai (BOM), Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and Sydney (SYD) will continue as they are with the Airbus jets, with modifications planned for its flight to Johannesburg (JNB).

“We’re very confident that there is nothing we were flying back before the crisis that we cannot fly in the future with A350 equipment,” he said.

Get Coronavirus travel updates. Stay on top of industry impacts, flight cancellations, and more.

Hauenstein did not provide a timeline for the restart of any of the ultra long-haul routes that Delta flew with the 777-200LR prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The routes, all of which have been suspended, were:

  • Atlanta – Johannesburg: 8,439 miles
  • Atlanta – Shanghai: 7,659 miles
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney: 7,488 miles
  • New York JFK – Mumbai: 7,799 miles
Delta will continue Johannesburg flights with the A350 by adding a stop in Cape Town (CPT), said Hauenstein. The airline’s South Africa service will follow a new circular routing that goes: Atlanta-Johannesburg-Cape Town-Atlanta. The stop will allow for refueling at sea level before beginning the 8,130-mile trek back to the U.S.

This is something of a win-win for Delta and travelers: the airline can continue serving Johannesburg, a city where it is the only U.S. carrier, and add tourist-popular Cape Town to its map. Passengers flying from Johannesburg would stop in Cape Town on the way back to Atlanta, but Delta would not be able sell tickets solely on the domestic South Africa leg without special accommodation from the government.

Related: Delta Air Lines will retire its Boeing 777s in latest coronavirus fallout

DLSA.jpeg

Delta plans to add service to Cape Town as part of a new circle route with Johannesburg on the A350. (Image by Cirium)


The 777 was something of an oddball in the carrier’s widebody fleet. Delta only had 18 of the type — eight of the -200ER and 10 of the -200LR — with no plans to add more, whereas it has nearly 60 more next-generation Airbus A330 and A350 wide-bodies on order.

The capabilities of the 777-200LR previously allowed Delta to operate the four long-haul routes mentioned above. However, with demand for international travel dampened by the coronavirus crisis and not expected to return until 2023 or 2024, the airline had to make tough decisions with its wide-body fleet. The 777 was, in a sense, the sacrificial cow.

“It was the queen of the fleet,” said Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta, on the 777 during the town hall. The jet was the first new delivery to the carrier after it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2007, he added.

Related: When it’s time to retire that airplane, how do airlines decide what to let go?



Delta began flying the A350 in 2017. It introduced its Delta One business class suite on the plane, which is fitted with 32 suites, 48 Premium Select premium economy seats and 226 economy seats. The airline now operates 13 jets and has orders for another 26, including 14 that it acquired from LATAM Airlines last September.

All future A350 deliveries will come with the capability to operate Delta’s longer routes — abilities lacking on the airline’s first 13 A350s — Hauenstein said Wednesday without elaborating.

The baseline range of the A350-900 is 7,275 miles, according to Delta. However, Airbus offers a higher-weight version with a range of 9,321 miles and the A350-900ULR with a range of 11,163 miles. Singapore Airlines uses the latter variant on its ultra long-haul flights between Singapore (SIN) and Newark (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO).

Related: Delta sending Airbus A350s to Los Angeles, will close Cincinnati pilot base

Delta will not be alone when flights begin to Cape Town. United Airlines launched seasonal servicebetween Newark and the South African city in December, though it has not said whether the flights will return since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Hauenstein also did not say when Cape Town flights will begin and Johannesburg flights resume. South Africa remains largely closed to international arrivals with no timeline yet for when restrictions will lift.

Delta also needs to take delivery of the enhanced A350s from Airbus before the flights can restart.

But when restrictions lift and the planes are available, Hauenstein assured staff that Delta does plan to return to South Africa.

Related: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Featured image by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy.
 

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By the way, the A350, the Cattle class seat are 1/2" narrower. Want that extra 1/2"? You are going to have to buy premium select. And premium select will be a 1/2" narrower too.
 
The Capetown stop will likely add two hours to the total transit time JNB to ATL. For this flyer, another reason to go with Qatar or Emirates.
 
The Capetown stop will likely add two hours to the total transit time JNB to ATL. For this flyer, another reason to go with Qatar or Emirates.

Ahhh yep.
 
By the way, the A350, the Cattle class seat are 1/2" narrower. Want that extra 1/2"? You are going to have to buy premium select. And premium select will be a 1/2" narrower too.

1/2 inch doesn't sound like much, until it isn't there, and you are on an 18+ hour flight.
 
I suppose if Delta is offering a “free” stopover in Cape Town, it might be worth the extra time, but necessarily the extra expense.
The way I read it, it's a gas and go stop similar to SAA's Dakar stop. People will board but no one will deplane. With letdown time, landing, taxi, load passengers and baggage, taxi, takeoff and climb, at least two additional hours of sitting in that 1/2" narrower seat. YMMV but no thank you.
 
Clarify for Me please-does this mean I would fly from atl to capetown to refuel and then on up to jburg? Reason I ask is that seems to benefit hunters that would then fly from Capetown to port Elizabeth or other small East cape airports. Maybe that’s just in my head-
 
Clarify for Me please-does this mean I would fly from atl to capetown to refuel and then on up to jburg? Reason I ask is that seems to benefit hunters that would then fly from Capetown to port Elizabeth or other small East cape airports. Maybe that’s just in my head-

Just the opposite. ATL-JNB-CPT-ATL.
 
https://thepointsguy.com/news/delta-cape-town-johannesburg-south-africa-airbus-a350/

Delta will add Cape Town service to keep Johannesburg flights going with the Airbus A350

Edward Russell
3h ago
12
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Delta Air Lines has plans for how to continue serving some of its longest-haul routes to places like Johannesburg and Sydney with the Airbus A350 following its decision to retire the Boeing 777.

The Atlanta-based carrier will add A350-900s with the capability of flying all but one of the four ultra long-haul routes previously flown with 777-200LRs, Delta president Glen Hauenstein told staff during a virtual town hall on Wednesday viewed by TPG. Flights to Mumbai (BOM), Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and Sydney (SYD) will continue as they are with the Airbus jets, with modifications planned for its flight to Johannesburg (JNB).

“We’re very confident that there is nothing we were flying back before the crisis that we cannot fly in the future with A350 equipment,” he said.

Get Coronavirus travel updates. Stay on top of industry impacts, flight cancellations, and more.

Hauenstein did not provide a timeline for the restart of any of the ultra long-haul routes that Delta flew with the 777-200LR prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The routes, all of which have been suspended, were:

  • Atlanta – Johannesburg: 8,439 miles
  • Atlanta – Shanghai: 7,659 miles
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Sydney: 7,488 miles
  • New York JFK – Mumbai: 7,799 miles
Delta will continue Johannesburg flights with the A350 by adding a stop in Cape Town (CPT), said Hauenstein. The airline’s South Africa service will follow a new circular routing that goes: Atlanta-Johannesburg-Cape Town-Atlanta. The stop will allow for refueling at sea level before beginning the 8,130-mile trek back to the U.S.

This is something of a win-win for Delta and travelers: the airline can continue serving Johannesburg, a city where it is the only U.S. carrier, and add tourist-popular Cape Town to its map. Passengers flying from Johannesburg would stop in Cape Town on the way back to Atlanta, but Delta would not be able sell tickets solely on the domestic South Africa leg without special accommodation from the government.

Related: Delta Air Lines will retire its Boeing 777s in latest coronavirus fallout

DLSA.jpeg

Delta plans to add service to Cape Town as part of a new circle route with Johannesburg on the A350. (Image by Cirium)


The 777 was something of an oddball in the carrier’s widebody fleet. Delta only had 18 of the type — eight of the -200ER and 10 of the -200LR — with no plans to add more, whereas it has nearly 60 more next-generation Airbus A330 and A350 wide-bodies on order.

The capabilities of the 777-200LR previously allowed Delta to operate the four long-haul routes mentioned above. However, with demand for international travel dampened by the coronavirus crisis and not expected to return until 2023 or 2024, the airline had to make tough decisions with its wide-body fleet. The 777 was, in a sense, the sacrificial cow.

“It was the queen of the fleet,” said Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta, on the 777 during the town hall. The jet was the first new delivery to the carrier after it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2007, he added.

Related: When it’s time to retire that airplane, how do airlines decide what to let go?



Delta began flying the A350 in 2017. It introduced its Delta One business class suite on the plane, which is fitted with 32 suites, 48 Premium Select premium economy seats and 226 economy seats. The airline now operates 13 jets and has orders for another 26, including 14 that it acquired from LATAM Airlines last September.

All future A350 deliveries will come with the capability to operate Delta’s longer routes — abilities lacking on the airline’s first 13 A350s — Hauenstein said Wednesday without elaborating.

The baseline range of the A350-900 is 7,275 miles, according to Delta. However, Airbus offers a higher-weight version with a range of 9,321 miles and the A350-900ULR with a range of 11,163 miles. Singapore Airlines uses the latter variant on its ultra long-haul flights between Singapore (SIN) and Newark (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO).

Related: Delta sending Airbus A350s to Los Angeles, will close Cincinnati pilot base

Delta will not be alone when flights begin to Cape Town. United Airlines launched seasonal servicebetween Newark and the South African city in December, though it has not said whether the flights will return since the COVID-19 crisis began.

Hauenstein also did not say when Cape Town flights will begin and Johannesburg flights resume. South Africa remains largely closed to international arrivals with no timeline yet for when restrictions will lift.

Delta also needs to take delivery of the enhanced A350s from Airbus before the flights can restart.

But when restrictions lift and the planes are available, Hauenstein assured staff that Delta does plan to return to South Africa.

Related: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Featured image by Alberto Riva/The Points Guy.
Better open your wallets a little wider for delta they make it sound like this is something great.Qatar and Emerits all the way.
 
Unless a visit to Cape Town with the wife after the hunt is planned may be looking at other options. That will be a long flight.
I don’t understand why they can’t get the ULR model for this flight. They have all these planes on order already.
 
There's something about the ATL-JNB-CPT-ATL story that doesn't make sense to me. I am not a pilot, but my dad was and I've flown enough international flights to learn a thing or two. Perhaps someone that is a pilot or in the know on these things can chime in.

I believe the CPT leg has more to do with competing with United's Newark to CPT seasonal flight.

I understand Delta's stated reason for going to Cape Town, as it is at sea level and Joberg is 5500 ft. Planes can take off heavier at sea level than at 5500 ft, so more fuel on board for the long flight back to ATL. However, takeoffs are also a function of runway length and temperature. JNB has a 14,495 ft while CPT has 10,502 ft. There is a news report that CPT is adding a 1000 ft to this runway, but not sure when. Some reports say by 2023.

The A350-900 has a runway requirement at max takeoff weight of about 8500 ft. However, there is a rule in the aviation industry that the takeoff length requirement can't be more than 60-70% of the available runway. This is in case a takeoff is aborted, there needs to be enough runway left to hit the brakes and thrust reverse. I am not sure if the 8500 ft take off requirement includes the safety requirement or that has to be added on, thus requiring something like 12,000 ft runways.

Either the plane departing CPT isn't going to be full or there will be a refueling stop somewhere along the way.
 
I believe from the article Delta retires the B777’s the A350 does not have the range to make the return flight back to Atlanta from JNB because of headwinds.

Like when Qantas flew the B747 from DFW, the going flight went to Brisbane and the return was from Sydney. Now with the A380 it’s round trip to Sydney.

I have no idea why Delta wants an all Airbus fleet.
 
There's something about the ATL-JNB-CPT-ATL story that doesn't make sense to me. I am not a pilot, but my dad was and I've flown enough international flights to learn a thing or two. Perhaps someone that is a pilot or in the know on these things can chime in.

I believe the CPT leg has more to do with competing with United's Newark to CPT seasonal flight.

I understand Delta's stated reason for going to Cape Town, as it is at sea level and Joberg is 5500 ft. Planes can take off heavier at sea level than at 5500 ft, so more fuel on board for the long flight back to ATL. However, takeoffs are also a function of runway length and temperature. JNB has a 14,495 ft while CPT has 10,502 ft. There is a news report that CPT is adding a 1000 ft to this runway, but not sure when. Some reports say by 2023.

The A350-900 has a runway requirement at max takeoff weight of about 8500 ft. However, there is a rule in the aviation industry that the takeoff length requirement can't be more than 60-70% of the available runway. This is in case a takeoff is aborted, there needs to be enough runway left to hit the brakes and thrust reverse. I am not sure if the 8500 ft take off requirement includes the safety requirement or that has to be added on, thus requiring something like 12,000 ft runways.

Either the plane departing CPT isn't going to be full or there will be a refueling stop somewhere along the way.


It's not the elevation of the airport, it's the density altitude at time of departure. Airport elevation is 5500 but actual conditions due to temperature and humidity could make that number higher thus effecting takeoff performance. Ever wonder why most of the big guys take off in the evening? All things being equal, cooler temps equal low density altitude/better performance.

Edit: Did a quick calculation of DA at O.R. Tambo at 14:22 local time, 6948 ft.
 
Last edited:
Sometimes it gets so hot at the Phoenix airport, planes can't take off.

Abort.....abort....
It's not the elevation of the airport, it's the density altitude at time of departure. Airport elevation is 5500 but actual conditions due to temperature and humidity could make that number higher thus effecting takeoff performance. Ever wonder why most of the big guys take off in the evening? All things being equal, cooler temps equal low density altitude/better performance.

Edit: Did a quick calculation of DA at O.R. Tambo at 14:22 local time, 6948 ft.
 
I have no idea why Delta wants an all Airbus fleet.

Don't know for sure, but I wonder if the 737 Max debacle won't be responsible for some airlines poking Boeing back in the eye.
 
Spoke with a friend of mine who is a retired triple seven pilot. Asked him about this and he told me it's not so much DA being a lmiting factor but more about what's called accelerated stop distance. a number that is calculated and determined by the aircraft manufacturer.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/25.109
 

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