Delta says it will close its regional carrier Comair at the end of September as it switches more of its flying to bigger jets.
Delta Air Lines Inc., which is based in Atlanta, has about 350 regional jets and plans to reduce that to 125 within two years.
Operating regional carriers has become more expensive while customers have been demanding roomier planes.
The past few years have been a tough time for the airline industry especially regional carriers like Comair. Comair flight attendant Lynn Dzaid say Friday's announcement comes as little surprise. "Its a sad day for everyone. We did have some expectation that an announcement would be made by the end of the month. Its still very hard to have it confirmed."
The announcement is also hard on one of Comair's founders and its first president Patrick Sowers. He says "Its our hometown airline. Obviously everyone's disappointed. It's a sad day there's a lot of lives that are affected by this.'
Lynn Dzaid, pronounced Judd, just celebrated 22 years with comair, but even with experience she says its not certain that she and her co-workers will be hired by other carriers. "There's no automatic to it. We have asked for some preferential hiring. We're not sure whose accepting new employees at this point."
Adam Caswell with the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says help is standing by for those workers. 'Whether its job fairs, reverse interviews to be able to help these...these affected employees...through training, through interview practice through interview building. That's what our first and major interest is taking care of these people."
Dzaid says the industry is no longer the same. "Its just the beginning of a lot of changes....and there's so many factors, there's not one thing that caused this, there's no one thing that could have stopped it."
Comair represents only about 1 percent of Delta's flying, so the closure won't result in significant changes to Delta's network.
Comair, which is based in Cincinnati, was founded in 1977.
It started operating as Delta Connection in 1984. According to its website, the regional airline has 1,700 employees.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman released the following statement:
"Today's announcement is sad news for Cincinnati, as 300 southwest Ohio families will be looking for new opportunities as ComAir ceases operations. I've pressed Delta to ensure that they do everything they can to provide opportunities for the workers impacted within their regional air partners. Delta has also committed to us that there are no plans to change Delta's flights in and out of CVG, which is important for Cincinnati's business community as they look for opportunities to grow and build their businesses across the nation and the world."
Delta says the move won't result in a reduction of flights planned at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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