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Delta Air Lines celebrates 80 years of passenger service

Delta Air Lines celebrates 80 years of passenger service

Delta Air Lines celebrates 80 years of passenger service

Today, Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) celebrates an important milestone: 80 years of passenger service. In an extraordinary growth story that started with a monoplane service carrying five passengers from Dallas, Texas, to Jackson, Mississippi on June 17, 1929, Delta has grown to become the largest airline in the world, operating flights to 382 destinations in 71 countries and serving more than 170 million passengers each year on its modern fleet of over 1,000 aircraft.
Kicking off the celebration on June 10, Delta Air Lines dedicated its newest Boeing 777LR to former president and CEO Dave Garrett, now 86 years old. This plane is already in service today and will be used on the inaugural Los Angeles - Sydney route on July 1. This aircraft dedication follows in a strong Delta tradition of celebrating the strong bond between the company and its employees. In 1982, Delta employees led a voluntary program to raise US$30 million, enabling the purchase of Delta's first Boeing 767, named "The Spirit of Delta." The U.S. economy was at a low point at the time, but the dedication and commitment that Delta employees showed to the company in this remarkable gift lifted the spirits of the entire organization and saw them through the difficult time.
"In its 80 years, Delta Air Lines has seen commercial aviation become the major mode of international transportation and has grown to become the largest airline in the world," comments Richard Anderson, Delta's chief executive officer. "Delta today is built on the strong foundations of all those who have dedicated themselves to the company over its long history and today we continue to strive to make Delta the global airline of choice by offering better service to more people than any other airline."
Delta Air Lines is the world's No. 1 airline. From its hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam and Tokyo-Narita, Delta, its Northwest subsidiary and Delta Connection carriers offer service to 382 destinations in 71 countries and serves more than 170 million passengers each year. Delta's marketing alliances allow customers to earn and redeem either SkyMiles or WorldPerks on more than 16,000 daily flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta's more than 70,000 employees worldwide are reshaping the aviation industry as the only U.S. airline to offer a full global network. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and flight status at delta.com.
The History of Delta Air Lines:
1920's - The birth of Delta:
Delta Air Service, named for the delta region of the Mississippi river in which the company was founded, started business in 1928 when C. E. Woolman, the principal founder of Delta Air Lines, led the movement to buy Monroe, Louisiana-based Huff Daland Dusters, the first commercial agricultural flying company in history. Delta's first passenger flight was from Dallas, Texas to Jackson, Mississippi, on a Travel Air S-6000-B five-passenger monoplane with a wood paneled cabin, woven wicker seats, handholds instead of seat belts and windows that could open.
1930's and 1940's - Atlanta:
In 1930, Delta began service to Atlanta, Georgia, and in 1941 Delta permanently relocated its headquarters from Monroe to Atlanta, where it remains today. The company officially adopted the name Delta Air Lines, Inc. in 1945.
1950's - Pioneer of the hub and start of the jet age:
Delta pioneered the use of the hub and spoke system in 1955, in which scheduled airplanes bring passengers to a hub airport where travelers connected to other Delta flights. Atlanta was Delta's hub then, just as it is now. In 1959, Delta became a pioneer of the jet age by becoming the first airline to launch service on the Douglas DC-8 jet. The red, white and blue triangle "widget," resembling the swept-wing appearance of a jet, was adopted as the official Delta logo during this period as well.
1960's - Speed picks up:
In 1961, Delta went coast-to-coast with the first non-stop flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles, and service connecting California to the Caribbean. In 1962, a Delta DC-8 became the first commercial plane to fly between Los Angeles and Atlanta in less than 3 hours (02:57:11)-a record that still stands.
1970's - 50 years of service:
In the 1970's Delta realized an all-jet passenger fleet and merged with Northeast Airlines, making Delta a major carrier in New York and Boston. In 1978, Delta achieved transatlantic service with its Atlanta to London route. The decade was rounded off in style with the celebration of the company's 50th anniversary of passenger service in 1979.
1980's - The Spirit of Delta enters Asia:
The 1980's brought financial turbulence to the airline, with its second loss-making year in history. However, a remarkable initiative by the company's employees in 1982 raised US$30 million via payroll deductions and enabled Delta to purchase the first Boeing 767, named "The Spirit of Delta" to commemorate the strong dedication of the company's employees.
In 1981, Delta launched its Frequent Flyer Program (changed to SkyMiles in 1995), and in 1984, the airline started service to Hawaii. In 1987 Western Airlines merged with Delta, and the airline became the fourth largest U.S. carrier and fifth largest carrier in the world. The airline's first transpacific service began with a route from Atlanta to Portland, Oregon, to Tokyo. The following year, Delta opened operations in Asia.
1990's - Delta goes global:
In the 1990's, Delta went truly global with the largest acquisition of flights in airline history - the purchase of all Pan Am transatlantic routes and the Pan Am Shuttle in 1991. Delta, Northwest Airlines and TWA also combined reservation systems to form WORLDSPAN Travel Information Services in 1990.
In 1995, Delta was named the official airline of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta and unveiled the "Centennial Spirit," a new MD-11 jet painted in an Olympic design and used to transport the Olympic Flame from Athens, Greece, to Los Angeles, for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. 1996 also marks the launch of Delta's internet booking service via Delta's Web site, SkyLinks.
In 1997, Delta became the first airline to board over 100 million passengers in a year. New aircraft livery was introduced and Delta purchased the Boeing 777. In 1998, the airline integrated first and business classes on international flights, introducing a single section of luxury seats known as BusinessElite?, and Air Transport World magazine named Delta its global Airline of the Year for 1998.
2000's - SkyTeam alliance, restructuring and birth of the world's largest airline:
2000 marked the establishment of the SkyTeam alliance, a global partnership between Delta, AeroMexico, Air France and Korean Air. Delta also grew its presence by acquiring Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) and Comair and by placing the industry's largest order of regional jets (500). A new aircraft livery and contemporary "widget" logo were also launched, and delta.com was unveiled in 2000.
In 2001, the airline carried the Olympic Flame from Athens, Greece, to Atlanta for the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay to Salt Lake City Utah, where Delta sponsored the 2002 Olympic Winter Games at its Salt Lake City hub. Technology advances that year also brought convenience to customers through check-in kiosks, expanded gate information systems and virtual check-in on delta.com.
In 2004, the company celebrated 75 years of passenger service and returned to its traditional "widget" logo. On September 14, 2005, as a result of various challenges facing the airline industry, Delta filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Jumping quickly to its feet, the airline achieved service to more destinations than any other global airline with 124 new nonstop routes and 41 destinations in 2006.


Updated : 2021-05-12 06:42 GMT+08:00