Delta is the first airline, but not the last, to trim capacity for the second year running
By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com
Delta Air Lines said it plans to cut overall flight capacity by 6% to 8% next year due to "the global economic recession and weaker demand for air travel." As result, passengers can expect flights to be crowded and fare deals to be scarce.
Delta, an Atlanta-based carrier that merged with Northwest Airlines in October, said it will eliminate its least fuel-efficient flights in order to meet that goal. Delta intends to trim domestic capacity by 8% to 10% while only paring international seats by 3% to 5%.
"I think the action taken by Delta is a clarion call for the others to reduce their capacity," said Harlan Platt, a finance professor and airline expert at Northeastern University College of Business Administration.
Airlines are also cutting jobs. Delta, which employs about 75,000 workers, previously announced it would eliminate 4,000 jobs through voluntary severance packages. American Airlines announced in July that it was cutting 7,000 jobs, or 8% of its total staff, through the end of 2008.
See: Delta to cut more flights in 2009