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Delta Invades United Hub with Newark-Paris Service

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Delta (DAL - Get Report) apparently isn't content to stay on its side of the Hudson.

Delta on Saturday will begin Newark-Paris Charles DeGaulle Airport service, with a 6:50 p.m. departure aboard a Boeing 767-300ER. The first Paris/Newark flight will depart at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

In general, airlines avoid one another's hubs, although Newark is a special case because it is not only a hub for United (UAL - Get Report) but also a leading international gateway airport, where the rules of airline combat may be loosened because such airports tend to have large numbers of passengers who originate and end travel, as opposed to passengers who are simply connecting.

With the Paris flight, Delta will offer 28 daily departures from Newark, including an international flight to Amsterdam and 11 daily flights to Atlanta, as well as flights to four other domestic hubs. United has about 400 daily Newark departures including two daily Paris flights.

The flight "continues our commitment to becoming the leading carrier in New York," said Delta spokeswoman Lindsay McDuff. "From Paris, Newark is the third-largest U.S. market behind JFK and LAX, and Newark customers can connect in Paris to (hundreds) of Skyteam flights."

Delta's partners in the Skyteam alliance include AirFrance and KLM: the three airlines operate a trans-Atlantic joint venture, enabling them to share revenue on one another's flights.

United spokesman Charles Hobart said Friday: "United has twice-daily service from Newark to Paris and a strong base of local and connecting traffic at our hub. We are well-positioned to continue being the leader in this market."

The level of skirmishing between Delta and United in New York escalated last week when Delta celebrated the opening of its new JFK terminal. Delta offers the most departures at both JFK and LaGuardia.

United got a jump on Delta's Thursday event with a Wednesday celebration of the 25th anniversary of its move to Terminal C at Newark, which enabled it to build trans-Atlantic service. And last Friday, United taunted Delta, saying that it is the only carrier to offer flat-bed seats and on-demand entertainment in premium cabins on every long-haul international flight from the New York area. Delta's Paris-Newark flight will offer flat-bed seats.

AirFrance previously flew Newark-Paris, but dropped the route in March 2012. "By combining our strengths, we can offer more convenient connections to hundreds of worldwide destinations," Patrick Roux, senior vice president, Air France-KLM, Americas, said Friday, in a prepared statement. "The Newark-Paris route will provide further access to Europe, Africa, India and the Middle East via the industry's most integrated joint venture."
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