Delta Airlines to Shut Down Regional Carrier Comair

Delta Airlines to Shut Down Regional Carrier Comair
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Delta Airlines has announced the end to its regional carrier Comair. The 35-year-old carrier will cease operation on September 29, 2012 as Delta transitions more of its flights to larger jets.

In the last seven years, Comair has dramatically cut its fleet, number of daily flights and workforce. Before entering bankruptcy protection in September 2005, Comair had more than 7,000 employees and 1,160 flights. Today, Comair is down to only 290 daily flights and just 1,700 employees.

According to a Delta official, the smaller regional planes cost more to fly with today's higher fuel and maintenance costs. Consumers have also been consistently requesting roomier, more comfortable planes.

In 2008 Delta had about 500 regional jets in its fleet, including the 50-seat jets used by Comair. Within the next two years it plans to reduce that number to 125. Most of those flights will be operated on new 76-seat jets as well as the 117-seat Boeing 717s that Delta is leasing from Southwest Airlines.

Remaining Comair employees have been given 60-day termination notices. A small group of employees will remain after the September 29 shutdown to handle details of the closure.

Delta says that it had considered selling Comair, but wasn't successful in finding any prospective buyers.