In October, we gave our $.02 on the Delta expansion in Seattle, home base of “partner” Alaska Airlines. Delta had announced new service on a number of routes that Alaska was already serving. In theory, this was to feed Delta’s growing international gateway from Seattle. We opined that it was possible Delta and Alaska were going to start playing hardball. A couple of days later, news broke that Delta pulled the plug on providing ground services at some Alaska remote stations. Things haven’t gotten much better in the meantime.
This past week, Delta announced a further expansion in Seattle, launching flights to Vancouver (5x daily) and seasonal service to Fairbanks, Alaska (you can guess who also flies there). Delta and Alaska are now competing on ten routes out of Seattle.
Last week, Delta unveiled their newest special aircraft, a Boeing 737-900ER named the Spirit of Seattle. This is a big deal, because it is rare for Delta to do any sort of special livery. But it seems that Seattle is special enough.
“For 80 years, our customers, employees and partners in Seattle have embraced Delta, and our growth here would not be possible without them,” said Mike Medeiros, Delta’s vice president – Seattle. “The Spirit of Seattle aircraft will proudly bear its name as it travels around the country as a representation of Delta’s history in Seattle and a sign of our thanks and commitment to our future here.” Delta also points out that they’ve spent $14 million enhancing their passenger facilities in Seattle.
Would Alaska respond? Oh yes…