(Memphis) Delta isn’t leaving Memphis International altogether, but it is taking away a lot of flights.
For what that means to the city, you might look at Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Ohio was a once thriving Delta hub that’s been shrinking in flights. WKRC reporter Jeff Hirsh in Cincinnati has stayed on top of how much Delta has dumped.
“Over 600 flights to under 200 passenger flights,” Hirsh told us by phone.
It’s a far cry from the time Delta put millions into the Cincinnati Airport.
Business boomed. Ticket prices soared and Delta was at the controls.
Does it sound familiar?
Then came higher fuel costs, passengers choosing cheaper airports, and tough economic times.
Delta started dumping .
“We used to have three terminals at the airport, now we have one. Obviously that’s fewer jobs. That’s fewer jobs passing out the tickets, flying the planes selling the snacks,” says Hirsh.
He says one major company even cited the shrinking airport as one reason it left the city.
Larry Cox with the Memphis Airport Authority says Cincinnati is a different bird.
As a hub, it still has high fares.
He says Memphis is opening the doors for lower fares.
“Southwest and these other carriers we are talking to want to be in Memphis because Delta has gotten smaller. So each airport is different and it’s hard to compare one with the other. We feel we are in a really good situation,” says Cox.
Combined with Memphis’ central location and what Cox says are lower landing fees, he hopes more low-cost carriers move in and make up for Delta’s losses.
The Airport Authority says by November, Southwest Airlines will go from operating five flights to one destination from Memphis, to offering six different flights to five destinations.