ATLANTA, Nov. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Delta Air Lines today unveiled a Boeing 757 as the "Spirit of Freedom" in honor of the men and women – including more than 10,000 Delta employees – who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Hundreds of employees along with elected officials and representatives from military organizations and Atlanta-based charities gathered at Delta's Technical Operations Center to commemorate the christening of the "Spirit of Freedom," which now bears a commemorative logo.
"At Delta, we have an obligation to support our employee servicemen and servicewomen, our veterans and the millions of others on active duty who fly with us each year," said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. "In honor of their brave acts of service, selflessness and sacrifice, we are proud to dedicate this aircraft as the 'Spirit of Freedom.'"
The Delta Honor Guard, an employee-led initiative, opened the program. These employee volunteers administer honor guards at more than a dozen U.S. airports for fallen heroes returning home.
In July, Delta accepted the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees. The airline joins one of only 15 employers across the country and is the first airline in a decade to receive the award.
Delta's commitment to military service members extends year-round and across the travel experience. These efforts include:
- Operation of more than 2,000 military charter flights in 2012;
- Employee volunteer-staffed military lounges in Atlanta and Memphis and at USO lounges across the U.S.;
- Coordination of care packages for those serving abroad and the donation of millions of miles to military-support organizations like the Fisher House Foundation and USO;
- Recognition of servicemen and servicewomen in uniform by providing First Class and BusinessElite® upgrades when seats are available, priority boarding and complimentary Delta Sky Club access nationwide; and
- A pledge to hire more veterans by 2020 as part of its participation in the 100,000 Jobs Mission.
Delta will continue to honor veterans with a gate celebration at Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport (DCA) Nov. 12-13, 2012.
Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. During the past year, Delta was named domestic "Airline of the Year" by the readers of Travel Weekly magazine, was named the "Top Tech-Friendly U.S. Airline" by PCWorld magazine for its innovation in technology, won the Business Travel News Annual Airline Survey and was the recipient of 12 Executive Travel Magazine Leading Edge Awards for U.S. airlines. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 313 destinations in 58 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. A founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance, Delta participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 13,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. The airline's service includes the SkyMiles frequent flier program, a world-class airline loyalty program; the award-winning BusinessElite service; and more than 50 Delta Sky Clubs in airports worldwide. Delta is investing more than $3 billion through 2013 in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and review flight status at delta.com.
SOURCE Delta Air Lines