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Delta finally cuts its Memphis hub loose, slashing both flights and jobs

Jun 05, 2013 1:43 am

Skift Take

You can’t fault Delta for giving up on Memphis, since the city so long ago gave up on itself. It has an enviable position along the Mississippi that it could be using to turn itself into a regional powerhouse, but it lacks the ambition to make it happen.

— Jason Clampet

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Kelly Yamanouchi  / Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT

Parts of the Memphis International Airport remain nearly empty at late morning on a weekday, May 10, 2013. Delta Air Lines has drastically cut back its flight schedule in Memphis to downscale the hub. Kelly Yamanouchi / Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT

Delta Air Lines Inc. said it will cut 230 jobs and reduce daily flights at Memphis, Tennessee, after changes in operations failed to make the hub profitable.

The extensive use of inefficient 50-seat jets in Memphis and high jet-fuel prices that make them expensive to operate were blamed for the decision to scale back operations, two Delta executives told employees today in a memo that was made available by the Atlanta-based airline.

Delta has been retiring older 50-seat aircraft in favor of larger planes that are more fuel-efficient, have more room and offer dual-class cabins. Service at Memphis, which was one of eight U.S. hub airports, will fall to 60 flights a day. Peak daily departures are now 93 a day, according to Delta’s website.

Job reductions will take effect Sept. 3 and will involve Memphis airport customer-service and cargo employees, the airline said. Workers can seek transfers or accept retirement or severance packages, Delta said.

Editors: John Lear, Cecile Daurat. To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at maryc.s@bloomberg.net. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net. 

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