North Carolina Airport Officials Fear Loss of Flights in Wake of Delta Bankruptcy

Oct. 11--TRIAD -- Piedmont Triad International Airport officials continue to await word on how many flights they may lose as their top carrier works through its bankruptcy.

Airport Executive Director Ted Johnson said he hopes Delta Airlines won't cut any flights as it confronts its financial difficulties. But Johnson said he's realistic enough to know that PTIA probably won't come through Delta's restructuring unscathed.

"We expect they will cut some," Johnson said Monday. "But we don't have anything official yet. I think they are still wrestling with it."

Delta is the top carrier in and out of PTIA with 31 daily flights, or one-third of the 92 total flights departing the airport each day. Between them, Delta and US Airways carry about two-thirds of PTIA passengers. Johnson said PTIA officials held a productive meeting Thursday with Delta executives at the airline's corporate headquarters in Atlanta.

Traditionally, airlines such as Delta boost service in and out of PTIA each spring and fall for the High Point International Home Furnishings Market.

Johnson said that he believes airlines serving PTIA will provide ample flights and large enough jets to meet the needs of the furniture market later this month.

"I think we will cover the market with the number of seats we need," he said.

Market organizers aren't expecting any problems with airline service, said Judy Mendenhall, president of the International Home Furnishings Market Authority.

The market authority will provide free shuttle service for marketgoers coming in and out of PTIA, Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

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