In a bid to strengthen its presence in Asia, Atlanta, GA-based Delta Air Lines (DAL - Free Report) has announced plans to introduce new flights to key markets like China and India. The augmentation of Chinese operations comes in the wake of the carrier’s decision to operate non-stop flights (on a daily basis) connecting the Los Angeles International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport from Dec 16 this year (assuming government approvals). The timing of the launch is appropriate as it aims to tap the escalated demand for air travel during the Chinese New Year and the holiday season.
The introduction of the daily non-stop flights to Beijing will mark the fifth Asia-Pacific market served by Delta after Tokyo-Narita, Tokyo-Haneda, Shanghai and Sydney. Los Angeles, the driving force behind approximately 21% of demand in the Asia-U.S. space, is the largest market for serving Asia. Consequently, Los Angeles makes for a natural choice for introducing flights to Beijing. Apart from enhancing connectivity, the customer friendly decision to introduce the new route is testimony to Delta’s efforts to expand its services in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Delta’s efforts to strengthen its Indian presence are on the back of its code share agreement with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Jet Airways. The customer friendly agreement is designed to improve connectivity for passengers traveling from North America and Europe via Amsterdam. Following the agreement, India’s Jet Airways will start operating daily non-stop flights from Amsterdam to each of its hubs in Mumbai and New Delhi from Mar 27, complementing KLM's daily flight connecting Amsterdam and New Delhi. Moreover, India’s premier international carrier will also operate a daily flight from Amsterdam to Toronto. The combined networks of Delta, KLM and Jet Airways will no doubt facilitate travel between the desired destinations and should find favor among customers.
Delta currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Investors interested in the airline space may also consider Hawaiian Holdings (HA - Free Report) , Deutsche Lufthansa Aktiengesellschaft and China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. (CEA - Free Report) . All three stocks sport a Zacks Rank# 1 (Strong Buy).
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