Delta Air Lines has applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation to expand its service between the United States and Brazil, in order to...

Delta Air Lines has applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to expand its service between the United States and Brazil, in order to allow increased flights between its Detroit hub and Sao Paulo.

The airline has received DOT approval to begin twice-weekly service between Detroit and Sao Paulo on October 21. If its new application is approved, Delta Air Lines would operate its Detroit-Sao Paulo service five days a week.

According to Delta, Detroit-Sao Paulo is an important business route for the industrial Midwest. Business customers require regular and frequent service, and Delta’s proposed five flights each week approach the daily service Delta would like to eventually provide. The three additional frequencies Delta has requested will significantly enhance the consumer benefits and competitiveness of the Detroit gateway, the airline claims.

Delta’s Detroit-Sao Paulo service will create a new gateway to Brazil in the Midwest region and will continue Detroit’s expansion as an international hub. In recent months, Delta has added service from Detroit to Seoul Incheon Airport and Hong Kong and expanded service to Shanghai. In January 2011, Delta will begin nonstop service from Detroit to Haneda Airport in Tokyo.

“This new service will enable us to connect Sao Paulo, South America’s largest business market, and Delta’s major international hub in Detroit five days each week,” says Andrea Fischer Newman, Delta’s senior vice president – government affairs. “Our expanded service will further strengthen business and trade opportunities and boost economic activity in both Detroit and Sao Paulo, while increasing competition by providing more options for U.S. travelers in the Midwest.”

Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-300ER N190DN takes off from London Heathrow Airport. The aircraft is wearing a short-lived Delta color scheme that has now been replaced on most of the carrier's aircraft

Delta will operate its Detroit-Sao Paulo flights with 216-seat Boeing 767-300ERs fitted with 35 BusinessElite seats and 181 seats in Economy Class.

Its proposed Detroit-Sao Paulo winter schedule (including the three additional flights for which it is seeking government approval) would see flight DL205 leaving Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) at 7:25 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and land at Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) at 9 a.m. the next day. In the other direction, flight DL204 would depart GRU at 12:12 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and reach DTW at 8:35 a.m. the same day.

In its application, Delta actually requested permission for three additional flight authorities between the U.S. and Brazil, specifically for service between Atlanta and Rio de Janeiro. If approved, Delta would shift three of its existing Rio de Janeiro authorities from Atlanta to Detroit for the expanded Sao Paulo service.

Delta’s current service between Atlanta and Rio de Janeiro would be unaffected. The shift in flights from Atlanta to Detroit is necessary because the route authorities that Delta is using to operate its Atlanta-Rio de Janeiro service can be used between any cities in the U.S. and Brazil, while the new authorities cannot be used for service to Sao Paulo until that airport completes infrastructure improvements.

Delta currently serves 147 destinations from its Detroit hub, including 20 international destinations. At Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Delta Air Lines uses a state-of-the-art, 120-gate terminal designed specifically for international connections.