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2000s - Delta launches SkyTeam, acquires Northwest


Launched SkyTeam, a global alliance, partnering Delta with AeroMexico, Air France and Korean Air. Places the industry's largest order of regional jets (500). Introduces new aircraft livery and a contemporary "widget" logo. Launches Web site, replacing “SkyLinks.” Carries 120 million passengers.


U.S. airspace closed for two days after terrorist attacks on Sept. 11th. Delta posts first financial loss in six years. Delta carries Olympic Flame from Athens, Greece, to Atlanta for 2002 Olympic Torch Relay to Salt Lake City, Utah.


Delta sponsors the 2002 Olympic Winter Games at its Salt Lake City hub. Technology advances bring convenience to customers through kiosks at check-in, expanded gate information systems and virtual check-in on Delta, Air France, Alitalia and CSA Czech Airlines granted antitrust immunity for trans-Atlantic scheduling and pricing.


Delta launches Song®, a unique low-cost subsidiary airline. Delta leads the industry with a new model for passenger check-in: lobby redesign, expanded kiosk use, the introduction of Delta Direct phone banks, lobby assist agents, and new signs and processes to improve traffic flow. Delta implements the largest domestic codeshare alliance with Continental and Northwest. Delta is the first U.S. airline to offer prerecorded audio flight information at the gate.


Gerald Grinstein becomes Delta's seventh CEO. Delta celebrates 75 years of passenger service; returns to traditional "widget" logo. Delta continues work toward financial viability. Customer service and ramp operations efficiency enhanced with a new automated load instruction system for baggage, cargo and mail; expansion of touch-screen computers with real-time flight and gate information on baggage transfer tugs; and staggered zone system for aircraft boarding. Northwest and Continental join Delta as full members of SkyTeam alliance.


"Operation Clockwork" is the largest single-day schedule redesign in aviation history. Changes at Atlanta and Dallas/Ft. Worth restructure more than 51 percent of Delta’s network for better on-time departures, reduced airport congestion and free up aircraft for Delta's expanding route system. On Sept. 14, Delta files for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In late November, Delta starts one of the largest one-month expansions in its history with service on seven new Latin American and Caribbean routes.


Service to more destinations than any global airline with 124 new nonstop routes and 41 destinations. Delta is National Safety Council's 2006 Occupational Industry Leader—the first airline recognized. J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Survey ranks Delta second of the network carriers in overall customer service. Business Traveler readers name Delta "Best Frequent Flyer Program," "Best Airline Web Site" and "Best Airport Lounge." Song operates its last flight on April 30. Delta announces plan to transform New York-JFK into a major international hub. The “Spirit of Delta”—a Boeing 767 given to the company by employees in 1982—is retired from scheduled service and transformed into a museum exhibit at Delta’s headquarters. Delta launches first service to southern Africa with flights between Atlanta and Johannesburg via Dakar, Senegal.


Richard H. Anderson becomes Delta's eighth CEO. Delta defeats hostile takeover attempt by US Airways and completes restructuring plan one year ahead of schedule, emerging from bankruptcy on April 30 and relisting on the New York Stock Exchange on May 3. Adopts a new three-dimensional red widget logo and aircraft paint scheme. Led all network carriers in on-time performance for the year. First U.S. airline to offer customers the opportunity to help offset carbon emissions associated with air travel. J.D. Power ranks Delta second in customer service among network carriers for the second consecutive year. Announces trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France. Completion of Open Skies agreement between U.S. and European Union allows Delta to fly to London-Heathrow; service initiated from Atlanta and New York-JFK to Heathrow.


Delta acquires Northwest Airlines, creating a global airline with major operations in every region of the world. Delta grants approximately 15 percent of new company’s stock to employees. Becomes first U.S. airline to announce onboard Wi-Fi for domestic mainline fleet. Delta expands codeshare and marketing agreement with Alaska Airlines to increase customer connections across the West Coast.


Delta celebrates 80 years of passenger service. Announces expanded trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM. Becomes the only U.S. airline to serve six continents with introduction of nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia. Completes integration of Northwest WorldPerks frequent flyer program into SkyMiles, creating the world’s largest loyalty program with more than 74 million members. Rebrands more than 240 domestic airports with Delta logos, replacing Northwest.


Delta announces largest product upgrade in a decade with plans to invest more than $2 billion through 2013 to improve the customer experience, including installing new full-flat beds and personal, in-seat video on all widebody aircraft; adding more First Class cabins to Delta Connection regional jets; renovating and adding new Delta Sky Clubs; and adding more First Class seats on domestic mainline flights. Completes integration of Northwest Airlines' Airport and Reservations systems into Delta's technology platform with no interruption to service. Receives approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation to begin international flights at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. Announces plans for a $1.2 billion renovation and expansion of facilities at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Launches the industry's first social media "ticket window," allowing customers to purchase tickets directly from Facebook and other social media sites. Alitalia joins the Delta-Air France-KLM trans-Atlantic joint venture. Celebrates 10th anniversary of SkyTeam.