In an interesting new airline partnership, Delta Air Lines and airBaltic have applied with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for approval for a codeshare relationship. The filing will have Delta place its code on some of airBaltic’s flights.
Delta and airBaltic apply to codeshare
Delta Air Lines has applied with the US government to place its “DL” code on select airBaltic flights. The full list of flights is as follows:
- Amsterdam (AMS) – Riga (RIX)
- Amsterdam (AMS) – Vilnius (VNO)
- Amsterdam (AMS) – Tallinn (TLL)
- Barcelona (BCN) – Riga (RIX)
- Brussels (BRU) – Riga (RIX)
- Brussels (BRU) – Tallinn (TLL)
- Copenhagen (CPH) – Riga (RIX)
- Copenhagen (CPH) – Tallinn (TLL)
- Dublin (DUB) – Riga (RIX)
- Dusseldorf (DUS) – Riga (RIX)
- Edinburgh (EDI) – Riga (RIX)
- Frankfurt (FRA) – Riga (RIX)
- Madrid (MAD) – Riga (RIX)
- Munich (MUC) – Riga (RIX)
- Munich (MUC) – Tallinn (TLL)
- Munich (MUC) – Vilnius (VNO)
- Milan (MXP) – Riga (RIX)
- Nice (NCE) – Riga (RIX)
- Paris (CDG) – Riga (RIX)
- Paris (CDG) – Vilnius (VNO)
- Paris (CDG) – Tallinn (TLL)
- Prague (PRG) – Riga (RIX)
- Stuttgart (STR) – Riga (RIX)
- Zurich (ZRH) – Riga (RIX)
Delta and airBaltic submitted the application to codeshare last week. airBaltic lists Delta as an interline partner. Interlining is less of a partnership compared to a codeshare.
Delta provided Simple Flying with the following comment:
“Delta Air Lines has signed a codeshare agreement with airBaltic which has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation for approval, as is required for all new airline agreements. When approved, the two airlines will review opportunities for elite reciprocal loyalty benefits for members traveling with either airline.”
The routes for codesharing
The codeshares are also ripe for targeting connecting flights. Amsterdam (AMS) and Paris (CDG) are European hubs for Delta. It is a no-brainer for Delta to turn to codeshares out of those cities. Given the sheer number of flights that Delta operates from both of those airports, Delta can offer a relatively significant number of connections onto airBaltic’s flights.
Most of the cities covering the codeshare have Delta service scheduled through the end of the year. The ones that do not are Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Prague, Riga, Tallinn, and Vilnius.
The common thread with the three non-Baltic cities is that Delta has served them in the past. In fact, Dusseldorf was on Delta’s flight schedules up until the crisis hit. Prague and Copenhagen have seen seasonal summer service in the past.
It is not unbelievable to consider that Delta may come back to those three cities. Come summer 2022, using a Boeing 767 or 757 out of New York-JFK, Delta could fly to all three cities or even service some out of its largest hub in Atlanta.
When Americans think about going on vacation, most do not think about heading to the Baltics. Nevertheless, Delta can still look to get a leg-up on those travelers with a broader partnership with airBaltic.
Why a codeshare would make sense
Delta has, historically, been weak in the Baltic states. Even its closest European partners, Air France and KLM do not fly to the region. To get passengers to that part of Europe, Delta relies on its interlining with airBaltic.
The initial codeshare could also be expanded upon in the future. The first routes will see Delta place its code on airBaltic flights. In the future, the two airlines could expand that codeshare to put airBaltic’s code on Delta’s flights from Europe to the United States, giving airBaltic greater reach to the United States with one-stop itineraries from the Baltic states.
airBaltic is a non-aligned carrier. It is not part of an alliance, and Delta has not been wedded to its SkyTeam membership, despite being a founding partner.
With airBaltic, Delta will be able to shore up its position in the Baltic without needing to fly its own metal to those destinations. Plus, the added connections can help Delta keep some of its planes full when flying to other destinations. Plus, for airBaltic, the additional customers can help the airline better compete in Europe.
Once a codeshare goes into effect, Delta and airBaltic may choose to provide elite reciprocal benefits, which could drive even more lucrative customers over to Delta or airBaltic. As the airline industry comes out of the crisis, partnerships like these will continue to be critical for both airlines.
What do you think about the proposed Delta-airBaltic codeshare? Let us know in the comments!