Comair: Concessions Needed to Win Bid for Delta Service Unlikely

Regional airline Comair likely will not win union concessions soon enough to make a winning bid next week for regional jet service from its parent Delta Air Lines Inc., Comair's top executive said on Thursday.

Comair President Don Bornhorst said that without competitive costs, it is unlikely that Comair can retain its 50-and 70-seat flying that is part of the bid or be awarded flying on new aircraft.

The airline, based in nearby Erlanger, Kentucky, is meeting with the flight attendants and mechanics unions this week. Bornhorst said he was most concerned about the pilots union, which has not scheduled talks with the company until next week, after the bidding deadline.

Delta announced Aug. 22 that it had requested bids for some of its regional jet service, much of which is now handled by Comair. Five days later, Comair Flight 5191 crashed in Lexington, Kentucky, killing 49 people, and Delta agreed to extend the Sept. 18 deadline for Comair to Oct. 2.

Comair and Delta are trying to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filed last year.

Bornhorst said the airline is at the point where it will have to reach a deal with the flight attendants or impose contract changes approved through a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The flight attendants have threatened to strike if concessions are imposed.


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