Silver Linings of Delta’s Hub Departure

(Memphis) Believe it or not, city officials say there is a silver-lining when it comes to Delta taking off and leaving Memphis as a hub.

City officials say the loss of more than 200 jobs is horrible, but some good can come out of the shake-up.

Delta is cutting its flights by a third, dropping down to just 64 flights a day, but this could open up room for more competing airlines to come in and bring the price of tickets down.

Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau President Kevin Kane says right now airlines are looking at Memphis like never before.

“Frontier tried to come here a few years ago, and at that time it was Northwest not Delta, and they put the squeeze on them because they had such a dominance here, and made it basically impossible,” said Kane.

The city is working directly with Southwest to speed up their expansion into Memphis International.

Southwest is planning to bring nine flights to Memphis in November.

“I think you can see them probably expedite their plans to do more in Memphis sooner rather than later after they come here in November,” said Kane.

He also says other airlines like Frontier and JetBlue could now compete in Memphis since Delta won’t have such a strong hold, which could be attractive to them.

Kane says using St. Louis as a model in how to move forward could be a good thing.

He says they lost a hub and it increased competition from other airlines.

City Councilman Jim Strickland says competition is the key to saving you money.

“The more competition there is the lower the price will go. Other cities have successfully done it where more carriers will come in and compete with each other and they have to lower the price,” said Strickland.

Kane says it’s easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom because of the loss of jobs and traffic at Memphis International, but he says it’s important to remember the number of people who come in and out of Memphis isn’t changing; they may just have to connect in other cities more.

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