Delta – Breaking Away from the Pack – 2013 Flight Plan & Internal Memo

by Adam

Delta Chief Executive, Richard Anderson, addressed the more than 80,000 worldwide employees with a year-end message outlining Delta’s 2012 achievements and their plans to “break away from the pack” in 2013. The Dallas Morning News republished the memo in its entirety as well as the “2013 Flight Plan”. There are no gigantic shockers but some of the “Keep Climbing” highlights include:

  • Win in NYC and deliver the new JFK T4 terminal on budget in May
  • Build our brand and presence in West Coast gateways in conjunction with Alaska Airlines and other partners.
  • Develop industry-leading international partnerships.
  • Grow corporate agency share premium by 7%
  • Improve SkyTeam connectivity for the benefit of our customers
  • Successfully restructure domestic fleet and route system by reducing the 50-seat RJ footprint and up gauging with mainline fleet growth.
  • Achieve top-tier system performance with goals of 99.3% for completion factor, 85.1% for on-time arrivals and 5.00 for system baggage handling.
  • Improve international completion factor to 99.5%
  • Achieve industry-standard taxi times
  • Successfully launch international Wi-FI product and complete 33% of fleet by year-end

Unfortunately, there’s no information regarding a potential revenue-based transition for the SkyMiles program or any announcement of plans to fix the broken online award calendar (one can dream)…

Internal Memorandum
Date: December 31, 2012
To: Delta Colleagues Worldwide
From: Richard Anderson

In 2012, we made great progress on our journey together – building the leading global airline that customers want to fly, where employees want to work, and where shareholders want to invest. By working hard together, we accomplished the vast majority of our Flight Plan goals. Thank you for your many contributions to Delta.

“We enter 2013 as a stronger airline, ready to continue improving our performance and executing on our key strategic initiatives,” Anderson said. “With many of our competitors still focused on significant integration or restructuring efforts, 2013 is the year for Delta to advance its position around the world.”

Together We Enjoyed a Successful 2012

We have many measures to show our success in 2012, including customer satisfaction, third-party recognition, employee satisfaction scores and superior operational reliability scores.

We took home 33 awards this year, including the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award and PC World magazine’s Top Tech-Friendly U.S. Airline. For the second consecutive year, Delta was rated top airline from Business Travel News, sweeping all 10 categories, and Travel Weekly rated Delta the Best Domestic Airline.

Our improved performance also has been validated by key national media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Our employee survey scores from 2012 reflect a high level of employee satisfaction, a testament to our progress in making Delta a good place to work. We continue to invest in Delta people through highly competitive pay and benefits, career development opportunities and helping our colleagues in need. We paid more than $264 million in profit sharing in February, provided pay increases in July, and during the course of the year employees received $91 million in Shared Rewards. With your help, we awarded more than 300 Delta scholarships and distributed more than $1.2 million in grants through the Delta Care Fund.

These investments will continue. On January 1, another round of pay increases will go into effect for eligible frontline and merit employees, and on Valentine’s Day 2013, we expect a solid profit sharing payout that will exceed the 2012 payout.

In 2012, we kept safety – the core of who we are and what we do – as our first priority as we ran the best operation in the airline’s history. Your hard work resulted in a 78 percent improvement in completed flights, a 5 point improvement in on-time arrivals and a 27 percent improvement in baggage handling. Our team’s dedication to running a safe and reliable operation also meant more opportunities to exceed customer expectations, which resulted in a 37 percent reduction in customer complaints.

We made strong progress toward our $3 billion investment in products and services for our customers.

Once we complete our flat-bed modifications and in-flight entertainment improvements to our international fleets in 2013, we will offer an onboard product that rivals or surpasses other global carriers. When you add Delta’s gracious service to this superior product offering, we will win in markets around the world.

The customer experience on the ground is equally important, and we made excellent progress implementing new and improved technology for our customers. We are updating Sky Clubs and making massive airport renovations; we are all looking forward to May 2013 when we open the expanded and enhanced JFK T4 terminal. This terminal will be the key to our work during the past year to Win in New York and complements the successful development of our domestic hub at LaGuardia.

We continue strengthening international partnerships and developing new partnerships that help us offer a global network that meets the needs of our customers. Through these partnerships, including our joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia, investments in GOL, Aeromexico and Virgin Atlantic, and strategic relationships with Alaska Airlines, Virgin Australia and partners in China, we continue to strategically strengthen our network while diligently managing capacity and preparing for future growth opportunities in emerging regions of the world.

When we consistently offer customers a friendly, reliable, convenient travel experience, the financial returns naturally follow. For the past 20 consecutive months, we generated a revenue premium to the industry, meaning customers were willing to pay more for our products and services compared to our competitors. We have also grown our corporate accounts, convincing large companies to switch their business to Delta. These accomplishments will bring us a $1.6 billion profit for 2012. This revenue success gives us the resources to invest in you and our product.

Breaking Away From the Pack in 2013

This year, we must continue our focus on courteous and helpful customer service while improving our top-tier operations. Improvements in international completion factor, D0 and reduced taxi times will be key efforts for Delta in 2013.

As we work to earn and maintain customer loyalty, we must stay focused on improved customer satisfaction scores and providing industry-leading service recovery when things do not go as planned. We must always have our customers’ backs. That means we must do right by our customers every day.

There are many new tools at our fingertips to improve the customer experience. Our investments in, kiosks and mobile applications will continue. We have new mainline aircraft joining the fleet beginning in September 2013, which will allow us to retire 50-seat regional jets and upgauge our network. And our Airport and Reservations teams have new technology to more effectively serve customers. Let’s take full advantage of these opportunities to anticipate our customers’ needs and exceed their expectations.

We will be disciplined with our spending, while working to increase revenues and control our highest expense – fuel. The Trainer refinery, run by Jeff Warmann and a great team of oil industry professionals at our subsidiary Monroe Energy, is expected to produce at least $300 million of value in 2013.

At the foundation of our culture is a commitment to listen and respond to one another through open, respectful communication and a commitment to working and winning together. You see evidence of this in the work of the Project IGNITE team. In 2013, we also will broadly share a refreshed version of Rules of the Road that reinforces not only what we must do to be successful, but also the values and behaviors that guide our day-today actions. Values are the core of Delta: honesty, respect, professionalism and hard work.

Let’s take care of our customers and each other so Delta thrives in 2013.

Attached is the the 2013 Flight Plan. Please review this plan and identify how you can help us reach our goals.

We are all critical to Delta’s success. And though success in our business does not come easy, our future is bright thanks to you.

Thanks for all you do to make Delta a better airline and thanks for the privilege of serving you and Delta.


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Jim A January 6, 2013 - 9:30 am

Re: “There’s no information regarding a potential revenue-based transition for the SkyMiles program or any announcement of plans to fix the broken online award calendar (one can dream)”

I think it’s a bit telling, that the Delta “Flight Plan” (which is their 2013 Business Plan) does not mention Sky Miles even once. Wow. Anyone else think that’s a glaring omission? Not even a single word about their most loyal customer base?

Michael January 6, 2013 - 9:40 am

Great read. Do you think this is the first sign of an industry-wide recovery for US based airlines?


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