- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Delta Air Lines will begin flying to Washington Dulles International Airport from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the bankrupt carrier said yesterday.

The airline doesn’t fly to Dulles from JFK now, but it plans to add three daily round-trip flights in July. Delta is adding 46 flights a day from JFK Airport to 17 cities as it boosts service for the summer travel season.

“Delta is in the midst of a vigorous plan … to return to profitability by 2007,” said James Whitehurst, chief operating officer at Delta.

Delta, based in Atlanta, also plans to bolster current service in September from JFK Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Flights to BWI, Dulles and Reagan airports will be on 37-seat turboprops operated by Delta partner Freedom Airlines, owned by Mesa Air.

Delta has just 13 departures a day from Dulles. Adding flights there now is an effort to connect passengers to international and domestic flights out of Washington, Mr. Whitehurst said, not an effort to fill the gap left behind by the disappearance of Independence Air, which stopped flying in January.

“We don’t expect to be a major player there,” Mr. Whitehurst said. “For us it’s mainly to connect customers in D.C. onto our massive international complex.”

Delta was the fourth-leading airline at Dulles in January behind United Airlines, JetBlue Airways and American Airlines.

Delta has a stronger presence at Reagan airport. Delta and its shuttle service had 32 flights a day at Reagan in January, making it the second-leading airline there behind US Airways.

Delta filed for bankruptcy in September and continues to seek concessions from labor groups.

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