Delta Air Lines Eyes New Washington D.C. to Seattle Flight

Delta Air Lines is aiming to expand its reach in the Pacific Northwest by seeking approval for a new nonstop service between Washington and Seattle.

The proposed route will operate between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

This move comes on the heels of the recently enacted Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Bill, which opens up five new “beyond-perimeter” flight slots at DCA.

Photo Credit: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Seattle as a Critical Delta Hub

The announcement was made by Delta President Glen Hauenstein at a press conference in Seattle celebrating the airline’s inaugural nonstop flight to Taipei (TPE), its first return to this route since 2017.

“Seattle is a critical hub for Delta,” Hauenstein said. “With today’s launch to Taipei, we’re further solidifying Seattle’s position as our leading Pacific gateway.”

“By adding a direct flight to Washington, D.C., we’re offering Seattle customers more choice and competition.”

Previously, the federal perimeter rule at DCA restricted airlines from flying beyond 1,250 miles with few exceptions.

This made Seattle, the largest unserved beyond-perimeter market from DCA, a prime target for expansion.

Close-up of the fuselage of a parked Delta Air Lines aircraft.
Photo Credit: Delta Air Lines

Competition for New Slot Pairs

Delta is well-positioned to compete for one of these new slot pairs, which will be awarded through a formal application process overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

“The well-being of Washington State’s communities is deeply tied to our connection with the other Washington,” said Seattle Port Commissioner Toshiko Grace Hasegawa in a recent blog post.

“We’re excited to collaborate with community leaders to capitalize on this significant opportunity.”

Delta has a long history in Seattle, celebrating its 90th anniversary there in December 2023. The airline’s roots trace back to the 1933 launch of Northwest Airways (later Northwest Airlines).

Seattle Tacoma International Airport nearing pre-pandemic numbers.

Summary: Delta in Seattle

Today, Delta employs 3,000 people in Seattle and operates nearly 170 peak-day departures from SEA. These operate to over 50 global destinations, including Amsterdam (AMS), Tokyo (HND), and Cancun (CUN).

Global Viewpoint recognized Delta as the 2023 Airline of Choice in Seattle, solidifying its position as a leader in the airline industry.

The Port of Seattle also awarded Delta recognition through its Sustainable Century Awards program.

This award recognizes the carrier for having the highest percentage of fuel-efficient aircraft operating at SEA in 2023.

Building on this momentum, Delta will further strengthen its presence at SEA. It will launch of twice-daily service to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) on July 8th. Following that, a daily service to Miami (MIA) will commence on December 21st.


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