By Marnie Hunter, CNN
Delta Air Lines on Thursday announced it will cut about 100 flights a day from its schedule this summer to “minimize disruptions and bounce back faster when challenges occur.”
The airline cited rising demand and the challenges of “rebuilding Delta’s full-scale operation” in its announcement of cuts to its daily departures between July 1 and August 7, which will primarily affect markets in the US and Latin America.
Delta said it would continue to adjust its schedule in the coming weeks.
“More than any time in our history, the various factors currently impacting our operation — weather and air traffic control, vendor staffing, increased Covid case rates contributing to higher-than-planned unscheduled absences in some work groups — are resulting in an operation that isn’t consistently up to the standards Delta has set for the industry in recent years,” said Allison Ausband, chief customer experience officer, in a statement.
Delta isn’t the first airline to trim its summer schedule due to operational issues.
JetBlue announced in April that it would cut 8% to 10% of its summer schedule due to “continued industry challenges.” Alaska Airlines reduced its schedule by about 2% through June to match “pilot capacity.”
Delta also issued a travel waiver on Thursday for the Southeast and Northeast for Memorial Day weekend — effective May 26-28 — citing inclement weather forecasts in those regions. Affected airports are listed in the waiver posted on Delta’s website.
Fare differences will be waived when rebooked travel occurs on or before May 31.
Delta’s announcement comes as 3 million Americans are expected to travel by air over a five-day period around Memorial Day, according to AAA estimates. That figure is up 25% over last year and is approaching the 2019 figure for air travelers over the holiday period.
In total, AAA expects 39.2 million people to travel 50 miles or more from home over the holiday.
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Top image: Delta aircraft are seen on the tarmac of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, in this December 24, 2021 file photo. (Yuki Iwamura/AFP/Getty Images) CNN’s Pete Muntean contributed to this report.