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More Delta CVG Cuts ... 17%

JECKEL

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Delta cuts more CVG flights

By James Pilcher • jpilcher@enquirer.com • July 2, 2009

HEBRON - Delta Air Lines this fall will cut another 17 percent of its flights at its Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport hub in an effort to adjust to the worsening economy, higher fuel costs, and the lingering impact from the global H1N1 flu pandemic.
In addition, the local airport is losing at least five direct destinations - including Dayton, Birmingham, Ala.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Houston, and Amsterdam (although that international flight was always scheduled as a summertime flight). That's on top of the previously announced cancellation of international flights to Frankfurt, Germany and London.
"We cannot continue to operate at the same level as prior years when both demand and revenues do not support the routes," Delta's chief executive officer Richard Anderson wrote in a letter Thursday to Ellen Van Der Horst, president of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. That letter was in response to another message sent by more than 80 local businesses asking for the reinstatement of the previously announced international cuts.
It's the second major reduction in flights this year, and overall, departure numbers are down by more than half in the last three years from CVG - once the second-largest hub in Delta's system. Since then, Delta went through bankruptcy reorganization and merged with Northwest Airlines, putting Cincinnati in competition with hubs in Detroit, Minneapolis and Memphis. Delta officials said that it was too early to do a direct comparison to other hubs, but that all its hubs are seeing service cuts, and no hub is getting flights at CVG's expense.
"This will be with us for some time, since any recovery in aviation will definitely lag any recovery in the economy, as jobs are replaced," said Cincinnati airport executive director John Mok. "When the economy fails, aviation falls off the cliff and is one of the last things to recover. But we can only do so much - it's not like we can park runways in the desert like airlines can park airplanes. We have fixed assets that we have to keep open and operate in a safe, efficient manner."
The new schedule will go into effect Sept. 1. There was no immediate word on how the new reductions would impact jobs here, although Delta executives have previously warned that more job cuts could be looming.
Delta currently employs 2,500 locally, while its Erlanger-based regional subsidiary Comair employs 3,300 at CVG and 5,600 system wide.
"We're still working through what we know about the schedule and the associated staffing impact," Comair spokeswoman Christine Wever said. "We hope to be able to share more details with employees early next week."
Comair has seen most of its flying shifted out of CVG and into New York's JFK International Airport in the past two months, and the new schedule does not change that. In September, about 63 percent of Comair's flying will be in the Northeast and 20 percent in Cincinnati, as compared with current levels of 65 percent and 23 percent, respectively.
"Of course, there is long term concern for the viability of the hub," Mok said. "Just look at what happened in Pittsburgh where US Air pulled down flights until there weren't any left and you can ask yourself the question when that might happen here at CVG. But Delta continues to express commitment to the hub and to the Cincinnati community. We fully recognize that the industry is in a tailspin and we still haven't seen bottom yet."
Indeed, Delta executives stressed that the hub here will stay open in an effort to calm local fears that the dwindling service levels are a sign that the local operation could be in jeopardy.
"Delta remains committed to Cincinnati and is continuing to take the necessary steps to ensure our operation is profitable and appropriately sized to withstand every economic cycle," Anderson wrote.
The cuts are part of a 6-8 percent reduction in overall flying for the Atlanta-based carrier, which includes previously announced cuts in international flying.
There will now be about 215 daily departures on Delta mainline or regional carriers, down from the current level of 259. In addition, there will be 73 direct cities served, down from 78, although the schedule is not final and more cities may be lost, officials said Cincinnati chamber vice president for economic development Doug Moormann said that as recently as May, Delta president Steve Gorman told a joint meeting of the Cincinnati chamber and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce that the airline remained committed to the hub.
"We are always concerned about that hub because it is so important to existing businesses and our ability to attract new businesses, and this announced service reduction does cause more concern," Moormann said. "But at the same time, Steve Gorman stood in front of us and said it was their continued intention to have hub service at CVG without qualification and in no uncertain terms. So our choice is to accept that business plan going forward and take advantage of the services we still have."
There is a silver lining for the local airport - local travelers appear to be using CVG more and more as a result of the fare cuts of February. In May, the number of travelers beginning their trip at CVG was up 53.7 percent as compared to January. And local passengers now account for nearly 43 percent of the total, as opposed to just 34 percent in January.
Overall, airlines are cutting prices to historic lows: USA Today reported this week that summertime fares are down by as much as 63 percent as compared with last summer, and that 115 out of 136 routes were lower year over year.
Local officials also said the fact that Delta cut the flights between Cincinnati and Dayton and did not add flights between Dayton and other hubs was good news, since local travelers wouldn't be lured by better connectivity elsewhere.
"Actually, that flight was probably made superfluous when Delta cut the fares and people didn't have to drive up there to connect back through CVG," Mok said.
Dayton airport spokeswoman Linda Hughes said that passenger traffic is down 10.8 percent overall year to date, but said that decline was probably caused by overall economic conditions and not by any fare reductions in Cincinnati drawing back fliers here
The news comes a day after a federal appeals court ruled that Delta could not immediately cancel its contract with regional partner Mesa and that company's subsidiary Freedom Airlines.
Comair replaced Freedom in the northeast earlier this year after Delta said Freedom was not performing well enough; Freedom is taking over some flying here at CVG in the meantime.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Mesa's previously obtained temporary injunction against Delta's cancellation, sending the case to trial. The case is being widely watched within the Delta regional system due to its potential impact on which carriers would fly out of which airports - and which airlines could pick up the business if the contract is indeed canceled.
The "ruling is only a preliminary step in this process and we look forward to the opportunity to fully make our case in district court,'' Delta spokesman Anthony Black said. "We believe that Delta is entitled to terminate its contract with Freedom Airlines for performance and we will continue to assert this belief on behalf of our customers. Delta customers rely on Delta Connection carriers for outstanding service and we will continue to insist on a high level of performance from our partners."
 

CX880

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Does this mean this reduction will have to come out of other DCI carriers in CVG??
 

JECKEL

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My guess is they will all come from Comair. The other DCI carriers, I believe, are at the contractual minimum.

Rumor is 300 furloughs for Comair in September on top of the 300 already on furlough.
 

BrickTop

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Again, I just need to jack someone in the mouth and smash their face in with a mining wrench. All these *************************morons in MGMNT know to do is cut. Look at the G0Damn terminals. They are stacked with travelers and people stuck from over booked flights. Horse******************** to the claims that travel is down.......
 

Brasilia Flyer

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Again, I just need to jack someone in the mouth and smash their face in with a mining wrench. All these *************************morons in MGMNT know to do is cut. Look at the G0Damn terminals. They are stacked with travelers and people stuck from over booked flights. Horse******************** to the claims that travel is down.......

I'm sure it is a pleasure for everyone you fly with to have a conversation with you. . .
 

pdub20s

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My guess is they will all come from Comair. The other DCI carriers, I believe, are at the contractual minimum.

Rumor is 300 furloughs for Comair in September on top of the 300 already on furlough.

Cedar Rapids and dayton are F8 routes.. My guess is that F8, once again will be moved to another base....before the year is out
 

CRJ puppy

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My guess is they will all come from Comair. The other DCI carriers, I believe, are at the contractual minimum.

Rumor is 300 furloughs for Comair in September on top of the 300 already on furlough.


Comair really isn't operating any of those flights mentioned in the press release so it is doubtful that they would all be from Comair. Comair does so little flying out of Cincy it's doubtful this will have a significant impact to then. Most flying out of cvg now is with the 700/900 to the northeast.
 

wmuflyguy

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Nevermind.....
 
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JECKEL

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Comair really isn't operating any of those flights mentioned in the press release so it is doubtful that they would all be from Comair. Comair does so little flying out of Cincy it's doubtful this will have a significant impact to then. Most flying out of cvg now is with the 700/900 to the northeast.

Comair currently has 160 CRJ 50 crews operating out of CVG (give or take 10-15). And roughly the same number of CRJ 70/90 crews operating out of CVG.

You must understand the redheaded stepchild bashing technique that Comair endures.

Comair may not operate those specific flights today, but they do operate to other cities. F8 and the other carriers will be taken off the cancelled routes and put on Comair's active routes and Comair will take the reduction for everyone.

So as I see it, Comair will take the largest hit in the reduction and that follows with the word going round of 300 furloughs in September.
 

WMUSIGPI

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Delta will cut wherever it can cut the most airplanes for the least cost. That's already been shown by what's happened at Comair, Freedom, ASA, and Mesaba. Delta is in full cut mode. Doesn't matter if it's a Saab or 747 if they can feasibly park it they will.
 

$$$4nothin

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I understand being pissed off, but as soon as the merger happened a lot of people said that CVG and MEM couldn't both stay open. It is happening. All the BS that mother D said in press statements was BS as we all knew. On a somewhat of a brighter note. For any of you guys that live on the north side of CVG and are going to be forced to commute I have never had more than 21 people on the first flight of the morning from CMH-JFK. As well we usually never have weight issues with a jump seater back from JFK-CMH.
 

Browntothebone

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When Comair furloughs this fall, do grads from DCA have the option of "flowing" back to The Academy?
 

laserman2431

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When Comair furloughs this fall, do grads from DCA have the option of "flowing" back to The Academy?
Brown on the bone. They will have the option of flowing into your mouth. A$$carpe too.
 

79%N1

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When Comair furloughs this fall, do grads from DCA have the option of "flowing" back to The Academy?


HAHAHA! Stop it man! You are soooo clever, you just crack me up!!! What wit.............What flair! You are toooo much.
 

BrickTop

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I'm sure it is a pleasure for everyone you fly with to have a conversation with you. . .

You would enjoy knowing my mood is at its best when I am at work. My carrier is very stable and futures here are prospective. What flips my ********************ing switch is the way the rest of my fellow pilots are being treated by their employers. The capacity cuts takes no concern for employees but simply the ********************ing balance sheets. Air travel demand is here. To hell with the test tube jack apples who make the argument to reduce capacity on a weak argument of a recession.
 
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