Delta Cuts Summer Flights To Azores & Malaga

Filed Under: Delta

We’ve seen US airlines add all kinds of seasonal summer routes to Europe, which has been great for travelers. From Budapest to Prague to Naples to Palermo, we’re seeing US airlines thrive at destinations that they previously couldn’t make work.

What has been so impressive is that airlines have taken risks with these new routes, and in almost all cases the routes seem to return the following summer, suggesting that they were a success.

Sometimes it’s also interesting to see the routes that aren’t working well. In this case, Delta appears to be cutting two transatlantic flights in the summer of 2020, and I find these cuts at least a little surprising.

Delta Cutting New York To Ponta Delgada Flight

Delta’s New York to Ponta Delgada flight won’t be returning in the summer of 2020. The route was initially launched in the summer of 2018, and has been operated using a domestically configured 757-200, with the forward cabin being sold as premium economy.

It’s interesting to see that this short ~2,550 mile flight can’t work (the route is shorter than New York to San Francisco).

The Azores is generally a booming tourist destination among Americans, and has been on all kinds of “new hotspot” lists over the past couple of years.

I guess the yields just weren’t there, though. Azores Airlines is based in the Azores, and they operate flights to several points in North America — they fly year-round to Boston and Toronto, and seasonally to Montreal and Oakland. The airline is known for having incredibly low fares.

You’d think New York would be a good gateway for this flight — while they don’t have a big local population from the Azores, you’d think there would be sufficient tourists to justify the route.

Delta Cutting New York To Malaga Flight

In the summer of 2020 Delta will be cutting their New York to Malaga flight. This flight was also operated by a 757-200, though one with proper flat bed business class seats. Delta has been flying to Malaga since 2014 on and off.

Delta’s 757 business class

Bottom Line

It’s always interesting to see which seasonal transatlantic routes work, and which don’t. Right now Eastern Europe seems to be booming for US airlines. Meanwhile these relatively short 757 routes to Europe don’t seem to be doing the trick for Delta.

Are you surprised to see Delta cut flights from New York to Malaga and Ponta Delgada?

  1. Sorry to hear about this. I remember reading an article about the nonstop Delta flights to PDL in the New York Times. I guess the Azores were not as hot as everyone thought. Great tip on Azores Airlines, though, I see one can get there nonstop from Boston in only 4 1/2 hours!

  2. Delta was flying to Malaga since at least 2008. I definitely took jfk-Malaga in 2008. Maybe they stopped and restarted, but it’s been served for a long time.
    Azores aren’t a surprise. Despite the popularity, the main traffic there is still Vfr traffic from the Boston area. Flights were cheap through jfk. Which means probably unprofitable.

    Nice try, though

  3. When I flew on the Delta JFK-PDL flight in August 2018 I got a “poor man’s business class” seat. The plane was about 1/3 full, and pretty much everyone in comfort plus had their own row. The flight back was somewhat more full. Based on my experiences, I was surprised they did not cut the flight for the summer of 2019. I wonder if a codeshare with Azores Airlines for intra-Azores flights would have helped. It is too bad, the Azores are one of my favorite places to visit.

    TPG is reporting that Delta spokeswoman Olivia Cullis “notes passengers can continue to reach the destinations via Delta’s partners, including Air France and KLM.” Currently, neither Air France or KLM fly to PDL. I do see that Air France is resuming flights to Malaga.

  4. I really don’t see the benefits for Delta or any US Airline operating Flt’s to PDL. You have better options whitin the US for the same or less Flighttime. And most Azorian immigrants are located in Canada, not in the US. But Delta could have hoped that they could fill up an AC due to the fact that PDL is a big American Militair Airforce location.
    The Azores are magnificiant but not good enough for foreigners to start up Non-Stop Lines. It should be good for some to ad it as a Fith Freedom Flight but not a Non Stop.

  5. @ NK3

    Well, do you want to rely on TPG reporting? 😉

    In fairness, she mentions Delta’s partners, but highlights AF and KLM, so maybe other Delta partners can get you there, but AF and KLM insist on a shout-out in any press releases.

  6. The Azores are great islands to visit however certainly going west of them Azores Airlines appear to have everything stitched up and their A321neos complete with business class are probably far more attractive than Delta’s 757s almost certainly with lower fares.

    Going east they have competition from TAP and TAP make it very easy to get there from anywhere in Europe but their services even in business are sub-par and the Lisbon transfer experience is very poor but Azores Airlines only operate a weekly service to London and one to Frankfurt and other than that eastbound it’s to Portugal too. I don’t think they inter-island services code share with anyone including TAP so Azores Airlines keep that very much to themselves.

    The islands are amazing and well worth a visit, perhaps just not enough people are realising that – then again, when you’re there, you’re quite glad that visitor numbers are low because it helps keep the place special.

  7. @Phil Duncan, I’m completely IN with you! Let me just tell you that I’m a Portuguese native but not born/living in Portugal. Azores is awesome, let just keep it like that! 🙂

  8. @ JDS

    Yeah, I do not rely on TPG reporting, lol.

    Currently the only airlines with service to PDL are Azores Airlines, Norwegian, Ryanair, TAP and TUI, none of which are partners of Delta. Seems like an opportunity for Transavia, or maybe Air Europa?

    @ Nelson
    I thought the American Air Force presence was not at PDL on Sao Miguel, but at Lajes Field on Terceira

  9. The JFK-PDL route was actually increased from 5x weekly last year to daily this year. I am disappointed that it is not back for next summer, since I really want to visit. If only DL could have arranged a codeshare with Azores Airlines. Perhaps Delta has bigger fish to fry than codesharing on a single seasonal flight.

    I wonder where Delta will reassign these ETOPS 757s? Having cut Stockholm last year, their only remaining transatlantic 757 flights out of JFK are Shannon and Iceland. They must value these planes, since they put in a lot of effort to repair the one that had an incident in PDL.

  10. Oops looks like Glasgow and Edinburgh are still scheduled as 757s next year. Only Lisbon will be upgraded.

  11. @NK3, you are right but knowing all the 9 islands I can assure you they are spread over all islands. Obviously theoriticaly they are based at Lajes.

  12. You guys, Azores Airlines is absolutely not an option for anyone not on the east coast. I live in PHX. Flying Azores Airlines would literally require an overnight stay in BOS on the return flight.

  13. Too bad. And yes, it is a bit strange as I read (portuguese news) that Delta flights to PDL were above 80% occupancy. Delta claimed lack of profit (???). I usually take Azores Airlines because it is a better service and much cheaper. Last year I took Delta just to compare and the only two pluses I got were the fact that arrived earlier in US and I didn’t need to transfer to a different airline making it easier for me as I live in Huntsville Alabama. For me it was a perfect arrangement even if the seating was bad.

  14. Delta has been flying to AGP for way longer than the last five years. I took that route around 2008/2009.

  15. Why would someone book Delta Airlines if you can do it with TAP and have a stopover at Lisbon Or Porto? It makes more sense (even if you only consider the price)

  16. Very surprised about PDL flight being cut. I took that route this year and it was clear from talking to people on the island how much tourism was exploding. As the only direct route from NYC, I’m amazed they weren’t able to capture sufficient value there.

  17. I usually travel to PDL with Azores Airlines. In July 2019, I tried Delta. The flight was delayed several times (to and from) for a couple of hours and there were three gate changes at JFK. Planes for both flights appeared to be full. And, during the entire return flight, there was a horrible stench from the lavatory at the rear of the plane that affected, approximately, the last ten rows of seats; many people complained and covered their mouths/noses in an attempt to block out the odor. (*the odor was present upon embarking onto the plane)

    After this experience with Delta”, I vowed to never travel with them again…no matter how inconvenient it is to depart from or arrive to BOS. (*there also have been other, more concerning “issues” when I have previously flown with Delta)

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