Delta Air Lines’ cargo arm, Delta Cargo, will prioritize improvements to its service quality and customer service over increasing its cargo capacity, according to a person familiar with the company’s strategy.
This year, Delta Air Lines was awarded the Diamond Award in the Air Cargo Excellence Awards for carriers with throughput under 1 million tonnes and earned the highest overall Customer Service score among carriers. Shawn Cole, vice president of Delta Cargo, attributed the carrier’s high scores to the transparency it provides during shipping and added that Delta Cargo is focused on increasing its digitalization offerings.
Delta has already added significantly to its cargo capacity over the past couple of years via its joint venture partnerships with carriers such as Korean Air Lines and WestJet. Those were entered with the goal of increasing passenger service on trans-Pacific and Canadian cross-border routes, respectively, but as an Air Cargo World “executive to watch” for 2019, Cole said the belly space on those passenger flights has been a boon to Delta’s cargo offerings.
In addition to its own and JV belly space capacity, Delta Cargo works with partners via block space agreements and code-sharing. However, although some of its partners, including Korean Air, operate large widebody freighters, Delta Cargo does not offer any maindeck cargo capacity through its partnerships.
Delta entered its JV partnership in July 2018. Today, Delta announced its acquisition of a minority stake in Korean Air, but a spokesperson for Delta Cargo clarified that the investment will have no impact on Delta’s currrent cargo cooperation with Korean Air.