Delta aims to beef up SLC routes
Delta Air Lines is taking another step to improve its offerings at Salt Lake City's airport.
In June, the carrier will start flying three new routes and add flights on two others, Delta spokesman Anthony Black said Thursday.
Delta will launch a nonstop daily route from its Salt Lake City hub to Chicago's Midway Airport, putting it in face-to-face competition with low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines. Flights begin June 9.
On the same day, Delta will begin a once-a-day route to Lincoln, Neb.; and add flights to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.
A fifth flight to Dallas-Fort Worth and a fourth to O'Hare will step up Delta's competition with rivals American Airlines and United Airlines, which operate hubs at those airports.
Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com, said Delta's route between Salt Lake City and Midway will test Southwest, which uses the airport as a hub.
"And it wouldn't surprise me that they are trying to step up the competition on [the Dallas-Fort Worth and O'Hare routes]. Not only that, but it gives you connectivity into Atlanta and Orlando [Fla.]," Seaney said.
Delta is also starting a seasonal route to Cranbrook, British Columbia, beginning June 20. It will operate the route only on Saturdays.
"These new routes are specifically targeting demand as we see it in select marketplaces," Black said.
Delta has been beefing up its schedule at Salt Lake City International after a year of downsizing. In February, the Atlanta-based carrier said it would launch routes to five new cities from its hub at the airport, beginning June 4, a day after it begins its new service to Tokyo.
Also, Delta announced it would resume routes to three destinations that had been canceled. And it said it would expand service to nine more locations.
Two weeks ago, Delta said it would take over much of SkyWest Airline's ground and baggage handling operations at the airport, starting May 15.
Delta said the change will cut costs and improve the efficiency of its local operations, which should improve the hub's chances of getting more flights and destinations.