Investing in Delta Air Lines: A must-know company overview


Nov. 11 2014, Updated 3:04 p.m. ET

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines (DAL), headquartered in Atlanta, is one of the leading legacy mainline airlines in the U.S. The company provides scheduled air transportation for passengers and cargo. It operates a fleet of 1,275 aircraft, comprising 743 mainline carriers and 532 regional carriers. The airline’s diversified network coverage—with hubs located in major airports of Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York, LaGuardia, Paris, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Tokyo—enable the company to serve 165 million customers each year to 322 destinations (97 international and 225 domestic) in 59 countries across the globe. Delta offers more than 4,900 daily flights.


Market share: Low-cost carriers are gaining ground

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Delta Air Lines, with a market share by passenger miles of 16.3%, is among the top six U.S. airlines, accounting for about 70% of the domestic market. Apart from legacy mainline carriers like Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Airlines (UAL), American Airlines, and U.S. Airways, low-cost carriers like Southwest Airlines (LUV) and Jet Blue (JBLU) also have a significant share in the market. These low-cost carriers have the highest ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) scores of 78 and 79, respectively, mainly due to low fares and lower additional fees. Delta has the highest ACSI score of 71 among the legacy carriers and is recognized as the “most admired airline” by Business Travel News and “airline of the year” by Air Transports World.

Many major airline companies, including Delta Air Lines (DAL), United Continental Holdings (UAL), Southwest Airlines (LUV), and Jet Blue (JBLU), are part of the Dow Jones Transportation Average Index Fund (IYT), which tracks the performance of the transportation sector of the U.S. market, including airlines, railroad companies, trucking, freight, and industrial companies.


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