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Delta unveils service to Taiwan for the 1st time in 7 years


Seven years later, Delta Air Lines is officially returning to Taiwan.

The Atlanta-based carrier announced on Thursday that it would once again fly to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) beginning on June 6, 2024.

This time, however, Delta will operate its Taiwan flights nonstop from the U.S., with daily year-round service from the airline’s Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) hub.

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Delta’s new Seattle-to-Taipei flight will be operated by the Airbus A330-900neo, which features 29 Delta One Suites, 28 Premium Select recliners, 56 Comfort+ economy seats and 168 standard economy seats.


Delta hasn’t served Taiwan since May 2017, Cirium schedules show, when the airline used to fly there from its Pacific gateway hub at Tokyo’s Narita Airport (NRT). Customers could fly Delta to Tokyo and then connect onwards on Delta planes to Taipei.

Delta inherited the Narita hub (and Taipei service) from Northwest during the merger, and it had high hopes for what it would do to its Pacific network. Before the merger, Delta lacked a significant presence in Asia, but adding significant service to Narita in 2008 helped the airline boost service from the U.S. to Tokyo and beyond.

From Narita, Delta served 19 cities in October 2008 (the month when the merger closed), Cirium schedules show. This included transpacific routes to cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle and service to regional destinations like Busan and Singapore.

More: Sayonara, Narita: The rise and fall of Delta’s Tokyo hub

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Taipei was a destination that Northwest and then Delta served from Narita, but it ended in May 2017 as Delta shuttered its hub in Narita.

In the years since the Northwest merger, Narita became less important of a gateway airport for travelers headed to Tokyo and beyond. Transpacific slots for service to the far more convenient Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) became available, and U.S. airlines, Delta included, rushed to fill them with service from across the U.S.

As Haneda got bigger and more important, Delta and its rivals pulled back from Narita, so much so that Delta abandoned the airport entirely in March 2020 (and it hasn’t gone back since).

Instead of returning, the airline has instead turned Seoul into its primary transpacific gateway city. That’s because the airline’s Pacific joint venture partner Korean Air operates a hub there, and the airline is seeing lots of strength in the market.


“We’re very excited about the success of our Incheon hub with Korean, and that has really even exceeded our expectations. We think it’s the best place to connect to get to Southeast Asia from any one of our hubs or as a double connect,” said Delta president Glen Hauenstein on the company’s third-quarter earnings call.

As for Taiwan, Delta seems to think it’ll be able to fill its wide-body jets without the need for a connection in Seoul.

Once the new service launches, the airline will go head-to-head against EVA Air, one of the Taiwanese mega-carriers that operates daily service on the 6,074-mile route from Seattle to Taipei.

New luxury carrier Starlux also plans to launch service between the two cities next year.

“This route not only opens new doors to Taipei’s captivating skyline, vibrant night markets, and rich cultural heritage, but it also marks a significant stride in enhancing Seattle’s global connectivity. This strategic addition to Delta’s Trans-Pacific portfolio is poised to make a profound impact on the Seattle market, fostering increased business and leisure travel opportunities for our discerning customers,” said Joan Wang, Delta’s managing director of global sales for the Seattle market, in a statement.

Delta’s new Taipei flight schedule

Seattle to Taipei: Departs 11:15 a.m., arrives 3:15 p.m. (next day)

Taipei to Seattle: Departs 5:25 p.m., arrives 2:05 p.m. (same day)

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