U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines will terminate all services to Taiwan effective May 25, according to media reports from Taiwan.
The carrier, which reported a 37% fall in fourth-quarter net profit last week, currently operates one daily B767 service between Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Narita Airport in Tokyo,
catering mostly to passengers traveling to and from the U.S. via Japan.
Delta said it plans to shift more flights to Tokyo Haneda Airport, but did not explain why that would mean closing the Taiwan route, which it has operated since 2010.
Channel News Asia quoted a report in the U.S.-based Star Tribune as saying in August last year that Delta was ending some of its Narita routes as a result of changes to aviation rules.
The newspaper said the decision signaled a shift in Delta’s Asia model away from mega hubs and toward direct flights. Besides passenger transports this would also affect the U.S. carrier’s Asian cargo business.
The airline was seeking to rework its Asia network map to make it competitive with other large U.S. carriers that were vying for dominance in the region, the Star Tribune said.
Delta has fewer connecting routes to other Asian destinations via Haneda, because it lacks partners with fortress hubs there, the report added.
SkyTeam members shall fill the gap
“Without a significant network restructuring, Delta’s position in the region would be significantly weakened,” Delta senior vice president of Asia Pacific Vinay Dube said.
Delta said customers in Taiwan affected by its latest decision would be transferred to members of the SkyTeam Airline Alliance, which includes China Airlines Ltd and Korean Air Lines Co.
Nol van Fenema