Delta expanding capacity to Salt Lake City this fall

Delta Airlines is expanding service to Salt Lake City, according to the Great Falls International Airport.

Delta uploaded a new schedule over the weekend that transitions their three daily flights to Salt Lake to 76-seat aircraft beginning in October, according to a release from the airport.

One flight on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday will remain a 50-set jet in October, but by November, all the flights will be on a 76-seat aircraft.

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The larger seat schedule is in place through Delta’s current planning window at the end of January, but “the change will most likely remain after that,” according to the airport release.

All of the larger aircraft will have a first-class cabin.

The schedule change gives Delta 36 percent more capacity to Salt Lake in the fourth quarter than they operated in 2019 and the January capacity will increase 111 percent over 2019, according to the airport.

The airline has not announced a timeframe for resuming the Minneapolis flights, “but Delta anticipates those flights will return as capacity limitations from the pilot shortage subsides,” according to the airport.

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“Delta’s SLC expansion is an important step forward for air service in Great Falls. Higher airfares over the past year are primarily a result of capacity reductions during the pandemic and ongoing pilot shortages combined with a return of strong demand for air service,” according to the airport. “Like every commodity, the primary means of lowering cost is an increase in supply and this capacity expansion along with added capacity from both United and Allegiant this fall; will help to moderate prices.”

The change also transitions the last of the 50-seat Canadian Regional Jets out of the market, according to the airport.

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“CRJ’s are less fuel and crew efficient than larger aircraft and these airframes are being retired by airlines at an unprecedented rate. Following this schedule change, nearly all daily flights from Great Falls will be on newer generation 76-seat aircraft, which is positive for the long-term health of our air service,” according to the airport. “The Authority continues to work with existing and potential carriers on efforts to further expand air service capacity in Great Falls including the recently announced Small Community Air Service Development Grant that the Authority was awarded for new service to Dallas.”