Delta to Vacate Cincy Concourse, Lay Off Ground Workers

Mar. 17 -- Delta Air Lines said Tuesday, March 16, it will vacate one of its concourses at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport to consolidate its hub operation in one remaining concourse, putting the jobs of 840 local ground workers at risk.

Delta plans to empty out Concourse A at the Cincinnati airport May 1 to house all of its operations in Concourse B in Terminal 3.

Delta's mainline employees will then take over all ground operations, meaning that 840 ground workers in the airline's Regional Elite Airline Systems subsidiary there are at risk. As many as 100 of those could be hired back for full- or part-time jobs, Delta spokeswoman Kristin Baur said.

The airline expects to maintain its current schedule of 160 to 170 flights per day from the Cincinnati airport through the summer season, with no decision yet made about this fall, Baur said.

The changes are part of Delta's ongoing efforts to "return the CVG hub (Cincinnati) to profitability," Gil West, a Delta senior vice president, wrote in a memo to Delta employees Tuesday, March 16.

Delta does not expect the changes to have any effect on its operations at Dayton International Airport, Baur said.

Dayton competes with the Cincinnati airport for passengers. Any significant loss of nonstop service from Cincinnati could boost Dayton's competitive prospects.

The number of seats on incoming flights to Dayton will be 3 percent greater starting in June 2010 from a year earlier, and lasting through the summer, said Iftikhar Ahmad, Dayton's aviation director.

The number of incoming seats this June will be 281,494, up from 272,392 a year ago.

That is because Dayton has added United Airlines service to Denver, competing with Frontier Airlines; American Eagle service to Chicago O'Hare International Airport, competing with United, and more flights to Minneapolis and Detroit.

Delta closed its Concourse C, where its Comair subsidiary once operated at the Cincinnati airport, in January 2009.

Cutbacks of flight service at Cincinnati have cost the airport more than two-thirds of its flights and more than half of its passengers over the past five years.

Delta does not expect the changes to have any effect on its operations at Dayton International Airport.