In what seems to be a trend with Delta over the last few years, the company has announced that it is ahead of their 2015 pace for remaining cancellation free for as long as possible. Right now, Delta is continuing forward after achieving 100 days without a single cancelled flight, and despite my past gripes with their operations, this is impressive.
To keep this all in context, we need to realize how much of a nightmare it must be to deal with the day to day logistics of running an airline. Flights have to be scheduled, including all of the ground activity supporting every flight. Planes must them fly to the destinations, and then make the next time, fly and continue this trend. Bigger planes tend to make fewer flights, but when you start to talk about these short regional aircraft, it gets impressive. Once tracking a single flight of mine, I saw a minimum of 6 stops prior to ever starting my flight as its last of the day.
When you take into account these many hops for regional jets, add in the craziness that is Atlanta, and the impressiveness of this achievement becomes clear. After all, Atlanta is the single busiest airport in the world. Dealing with such a crowded airport makes any operation difficult as small changes in weather can significantly back up air traffic can cause cascading delays all day. Getting a handle on the logistics of something this scale while difficult, Delta shows it's not impossible to make very efficient.
One thing to also consider is that with fewer cancellations come more on time aircraft most likely. While personally I care deeply about the miles program and where I can get using low cost for the highest gain, most people just want to get someplace on time for a vacation or meeting. If on time performance is better with Delta, many will choose them over a competitor for that reason.
When you factor all of this in, is it any wonder Delta is the single most profitable airline?