Oct. 25--Delta Air Lines plans to cut its Memphis flight schedule again and 312 jobs to curb what it calls unprofitable flying in and out of the western Tennessee city.
The Atlanta-based carrier said 126 airport customer service and cargo employees will be affected, as well as 186 flight attendants.
Last month, Delta began dismantling its Memphis operations as a hub, resulting in the elimination of about three dozen flights and about 230 jobs. The latest downsizing is on top of those cuts.
"Unfortunately, Delta continues to see extremely poor revenue performance in the current schedule and in future bookings," Bill Lentsch, senior vice president of airport customer service, and Tony Charaf, senior VP and chief cargo officer, said in a joint memo to employees. "Although we must discontinue this unprofitable flying, the winter schedule will still preserve nearly all the top destinations for Memphis customers."
On Tuesday, Delta reported a nearly $1.4 billion quarterly profit marked by increased passenger traffic and strong holiday bookings. Delta also reported the first profit from the oil refinery it acquired last year.
Memphis is the smallest of Delta's eight domestic hubs. The airline said it is cutting peak weekday daily flights in and out of that city to around 40 from the current 64, effective Dec. 3. Spokesman Morgan Durrant said affected workers were informed Tuesday to give them time to consider employment options.
"We don't have any plans to make any other adjustments elsewhere," spokesman Durrant told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday.
Scott Brockman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority told the Memphis Flyer newsweekly that while the further cuts were disappointing but not unexpected, the flight reduction creates an opportunity for low-cost carriers to fill the void. He said Southwest Airlines will soon begin serving Memphis, and Frontier Airlines will start in March. Southwest is the second-largest carrier serving Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after Delta.
Durrant said eligible workers will be able to seek other positions within Delta, accept an early retirement package or accept a voluntary furlough, which will make them eligible for unemployment benefits.
Copyright 2013 - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Delta, which stopped classifying Memphis as a passenger hub Sept. 3, blamed the latest cuts on weak demand.