To begin our look at Delta Air Lines, it is important to understand exactly what Delta does and who Delta is as an organization. Delta Air Lines provides air transportation for passengers and freight throughout the United States and around the world, currently serving 244 domestic cities in 46 states with 7,113 flights each day to over 503 cities in 94 countries. Delta is incorporated, and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
Delta traces its roots back to 1924, when Huff Daland Dusters was founded as the world’s first crop dusting organization. In 1928 the company became Delta Air Service. On June 17, 1929, Delta launched airline service with the first passenger flights over a route stretching from Dallas, TX to Jackson, MS, via Shreveport and Monroe, LA. In 1941, the company moved its headquarters from Monroe to Atlanta, GA.
Delta is a sizable company, employing 47,000 people and generating revenues in excess of $16 billion in 2005. This is due in large part to their global presence, slick marketing, and name recognition. While this seems impressive when stated without considering any other information, when some other facts about Delta are considered, the portrait changes quite a bit. Over the past several years, Delta has come on hard times, as has the entire airline industry worldwide in the wake of 9/11 and the fear of commercial flight that accompanied it. As with other airlines, Delta over the past 5 years or so has had to cut thousands of unprofitable flights from their schedules which have diminished customer satisfaction, laid off thousands of workers and cut costs by the millions upon millions of dollars. Nonetheless, Delta continues to lose hundreds of millions of dollars per year, which is significant even for a multi billion dollar giant international corporation. All of this has led to a plummeting of the value of Delta stock, a revolving door of employees and managers, and an ultimate filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2004. As one can see when looking at all of the facts and figures, Delta is certainly in quite a bad situation, but in all fairness, it is no worse than any other airline, and perhaps better than others.
All of this leads to the question of what the future holds for Delta? Obviously, their work is cut out for them. Their financial house needs to be put back in order beyond cost cutting and laying off employees as well as cutting services which actually hurt in the long run more than help. Rather, intense strategic planning is necessary to bring this giant back from its slumber. Only then will the company be worthy of its reputation and standing once again and add value to the industry, its employees, and customers.