If you own an airline, how many ways can you both save and make money. Delta was the first to buy an oil refinery to try to save money on jet fuel. That facility should be up and running by the end of the month and it will be very interesting to see how this experiment goes. If this does work, and works well, will all the majors jump on board? Fascinating to consider.
I have also blogged about another big cost to airlines, aircraft maintenance. The above link (click photo to watch) is to a Frontline piece about MRO’s or “maintenance, repair and overhaul” providers throughout the world. Delta does a ton of their own work and even sells their service to others.
But how does one cut costs, keep control, and even make money? How about a joint venture with the Skyteam partner in Mexico. Considering the age of Delta’s fleet of ships, maintenance costs will continue to increase as the older the aircraft, the higher the cost to keep it air worthy. As much as we dislike many of the choices Delta is making from a frequent flyer’s perspective, as a company responsible to shareholders, many choices could have substantial impacts on the bottom line (as long as we don’t all change airlines if some of the rumors come to pass). It will also be interesting to see if any of the high paid work done in ATL gets moved to the new facility when it comes online.
But what about the Delta regional feeders and their parent companies I talked about HERE? I reached out to all four but have as of today not received any word back from their PR people. I have spoken to an airline insider who has told me Delta, in general, does a very good job on maintenance, but could not comment specifically on the regionals.
Bottom line; do I have concerns when I get on a Delta jet? No. Even the “New” 717, the youngest of which was mfg. in April 2006, I look forward to. For now Delta is doing a good job of balancing the costs to run and maintain the older fleet. I do, however, look forward to the news one day that Delta has placed an order for 100 new Dreamliners! – René
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