Delta Fills Air France Void

Delta Air Lines  (NYSE:DAL) has jumped at the chance to fill the spot left behind when its SkyTeam Alliance partner Air France ended its nonstop flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Paris on March 24. Delta picked up the route on March 25.

Air France started service from Seattle nearly five years ago, but it has faced challenges from rising fuel prices and shrinking customer demand. Air France also had to contend with higher costs due to its high-quality, European-style cabin service, which the company’s Web site says includes such amenities as feather pillows, virgin wool blankets, champagne, and chef-prepared meals.

Air France maintained high passenger loads, but simply couldn’t compete with Delta’s economies of scale. Air France’s earnings declined by 31 percent in the third quarter and the company projects a loss for 2012.

Sea-Tac is a U.S. West Coast hub for foreign flights, with routes to Osaka and Tokyo in Japan and Beijing in China. The airline also flies from Sea-Tac to Amsterdam where Air France/KLM has a hub, and will begin a flight to Air France’s Paris hub, Charles de Gaulle Airport, next spring.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gina Smith at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com