Delta to Cancel Flights to Three Florida Cities

Non-stop flights between Blue Grass Airport and three Florida cities will be discontinued Oct. 1, apparently because there have not been enough passengers on those planes.

"We did receive notice today that Delta Air Lines will discontinue non-stop service to Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and they're pulling down one of the non-stop Orlando flights," Mike Gobb, Blue Grass Airport's executive director, said yesterday. The flights to the three cities had just started in June.

The new Tampa and Orlando flights have not been performing well, he said. Only three people boarded a 50-passenger Delta plane headed for Fort Lauderdale yesterday, he added.

"When we get new flights, we have to make sure that we support those with use," Gobb said.

He said that filling planes headed for Florida in July and August is difficult and that the airport is working with Delta to offer the flights seasonally.

"Right now the airlines are in a very challenging time," he said.

Benet Wilson, a spokeswoman for Delta Air Lines in Atlanta, contacted earlier yesterday, would say only that "we have not made any announcements on any service changes in Lexington," and told a reporter to call her back on Thursday.

"We were using those flights for some of the cruises because they were (at) good times," said Sharon Betts, co-owner of Avant Travel. "We were excited about the non-stop service. It's a disappointment that we're losing that service."

Amy Caudill, assistant manager of marketing and community relations at Blue Grass Airport, said that the morning Delta flight from Lexington to Orlando is successful and will continue.

Fuel and operation costs have been problems for all airlines, she said.

"Many of them are having to make difficult decisions," she said. "Unfortunately these new flights are not receiving the community support to retain them."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press