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Delta cuts summer schedule in effort to avoid disruptions as demand surges

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Delta airlines airplanes are seen parked at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. 

Camilo Freedman | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines is cutting about 100 flights a day from July 1 through Aug. 7, becoming the newest carrier to cut back capability in hopes of avoiding flight disruptions for hundreds of travelers.

The summer flight reductions represent about 2% of Delta’s scheduled departures. Other carriers including JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines have also trimmed schedules to present their operations more wiggle room to handle challenges like bad weather and staffing shortages.

“Greater than any time in our history, the assorted aspects currently impacting our operation – weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased COVID case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some work groups – are leading to an operation that won’t consistently as much as the standards Delta has set for the industry lately,” Delta’s chief customer experience officer, Allison Ausband, wrote in a note on the airline’s website Thursday.

Delta also asked pilots to choose up open shifts during a busy Memorial Day weekend, when it expects to fly 2.5 million people, up 25% from last yr.

Fewer seats mean more pricing power for airlines as travelers return to the skies after greater than two years of the Covid pandemic.

Southwest Airlines, for instance, on Thursday said it expects its second-quarter capability to be 7% lower compared with 2019 levels, with operating revenue up as much as 15% compared with three years ago.

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