The world's largest airline with flights to over 368 cities in 66 countries, Delta Airlines has come a long way since its inception in 1924 as a company offering aerial crop dusting. According to the Delta Airlines website, the company now employs more than 70,000 workers and serves more than 170 million passengers annually.
Delta Airlines began in 1924 as Huff Daland Dusters. The company specialized in aerial crop dusting, which was in high demand with the devastation caused by the boll weevil in the early 1900s. The weevil ravaged the cotton crop of the Southern United States, and the Bureau of Entomology set up a laboratory to study possible eradication methods. C.E. Wollman, a young scientist, helped develop a dry powder chemical called lead arsenate. He joined Huff Daland Dusters in 1925, and the operation soon grew to include 25 airplanes--the largest private aircraft fleet in the world at that time.
Because crop dusting could only be performed in summer months, the company decided to expand to include passenger travel from Peru to Ecuador. In 1927, Huff became the first American airline operator south of the equator. In 1928 the company changed hands and changed its name to Delta Airlines.
Though crop dusting continued to be a major part of the business, in 1928, Delta purchased three small monoplanes, which each carried five passengers from Dallas, Texas, to Jackson, Mississippi. Fast-forward 70 years, and Delta Airlines is flying more than 100 million passengers annually in the late 1990s.
Major Hubs and Planes
Delta Airlines has major hubs in four U.S. cities: Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York (JFK Airport) and Salt Lake City. The company headquarters are in Atlanta, Ga. Delta owns planes manufactured by Airbus, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas.
Delta runs 1,369 flights daily to destinations all over the world. Including Delta's partner airlines, daily flights total 7,667, to 567 destinations in 112 countries. Partner airlines include many international airlines such as Aeroflot, AeroMexico, AirEuropa, Air France and Alitalia, among others.
Delta Airlines is committed to giving back to the global community. As such, the firm is heavily involved in several nonprofit ventures, including the Conservation Fund, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.
Delta Airlines employs more than 70,000 people, from baggage handlers to pilots. In addition to free worldwide travel after 30 days of employment, Delta employees enjoy medical, dental and vision coverage, life insurance, a 401k plan, profit sharing, paid vacations and holidays, and a domestic partner program.