I believe we can now officially declare Delta’s schedule planning announcements to be clear shots at US Airways and not merely coincidence.
On the heels of Delta’s New York/JFK – Phoenix and Salt Lake City – Charlotte announcements which I documented here, we get today’s announcement of new Salt Lake City – Pittsburgh flights. Yup, that’s the same Pittsburgh that US Airways considers a hublet these days.
The airline says it will begin one daily flight on a CRJ-900 regional jet on March 1. That’s right – almost 1,700 miles of good regional jet fun.
As I mentioned before, this appears to be just pure spite for US Airways. Bob Cortelyou, the head of Network Planning for Delta, was quoted in the release as saying “Delta continues to compete on every coast . . . .” This isn’t aimed at the local market – this is supposed to steal traffic between Pittsburgh and the West Coast from US Airways. It is also irresponsible asset utilization at its finest and yet another reason why US Airways could do a better job managing this airline.
And on that front, US Airways put a release out today saying that they hope to begin due diligence soon. I’m not sure why they put the release out. Maybe Delta is dragging its feet in the hopes that US Airways will just forget about it or something, and US Airways wants to point this out for all to see so that they can get things moving again.
One thing I do find very interesting is an article in USA Today which claims that US Airways will not fight for control of Delta if Delta management doesn’t want them to do so. Doug Parker made this statement at a meeting with USA Today reporters and editors yesterday. This seems very strange to me, because Delta management has been clear that they aren’t interested for months now. I’m not sure what would make Doug think that they’re going to change their minds, but maybe he knows more than we do.