Delta Downsize @ Dfw

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Nov 12, 2002
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By RUSSELL GRANTHAM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 04/08/04

Delta Air Lines is dropping more flights from Dallas-Fort Worth as the ailing carrier juggles the mix of large and small jets at its secondary hubs.

Delta is ending nonstop service between Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago, Detroit and Portland, Ore. The Atlanta airline also will replace mainline jets with smaller regional jets on flights to two Florida destinations.

The changes involve 11 flights — a small fraction of Delta's 260 flights out of Dallas. But it shows Delta is again downsizing some outlying hubs as it concentrates on battling discount carriers in its key markets of Atlanta and the Northeast, to which it is shifting the aircraft.

Last year, Delta cut capacity in Dallas 9 percent by shifting dozens of flights from big jets to regional jets. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Delta likewise trimmed capacity at its Cincinnati and Salt Lake City hubs, where regional jets now account for about two out of three flights.

Delta is adding 29 flights this spring and summer, mostly on mainline jets, at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, home base for discount carrier JetBlue Airways.

"They continue to experiment," Blaylock & Partners analyst Ray Neidl said of Delta's moves, adding he is surprised the airline is ending service from Dallas to major cities like Chicago and Detroit. "You'd think they'd want to keep their connecting [traffic]," he said.

Meanwhile, Dallas-based American Airlines recently has been adding flights from its home hub to fight off expansion by AirTran Airways and other discount carriers.

American quickly added flights after AirTran launched nonstop service from Dallas to Baltimore/Washington, Las Vegas and Orlando in recent months. Orlando-based AirTran is the second-largest carrier in Atlanta and has long had flights to Dallas-Fort Worth from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

American's share of DFW passengers has grown about 3 percentage points since last year to more than 73 percent, while Delta's share has slipped from about 19 percent to 17 percent through February, according to airport statistics.

Delta's schedule reduction in Dallas will take effect in June and July, according to an internal bulletin confirmed by the company.

Spokesman John Kennedy said Delta has not determined what job impact the changes will have in Dallas, where the airline employs about 4,000.

He declined to comment on whether similar tweaking is planned at Cincinnati, Delta's second-largest hub with about 8,000 employees, or its 4,500-employee Salt Lake City hub.

However, the internal memo noted: "Delta's imperative to improve our financial performance means changes and adjustments will continue across the system."
 
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