Delta's announcement could force Memphis International to "re-in - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Delta's announcement could force Memphis International to "re-invent" itself

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Delta Airline's announcement to reduce its daily flights out of Memphis International starting in September was a disappointment but not a complete shock to the Mid South.

"They currently have about 94 flights and will take that down to 64 flights.  They're having problems with profitability in Memphis," president of the airport authority Larry Cox said.

A statement from Delta, says high fuel costs and low demand for flights caused the airline carrier to make the decision on reducing flights from Memphis. 

It's a trend Larry Cox, President of the Memphis Shelby County  Airport Authority says is common for mid-sized cities.

"It's been over the last 3-4 years, a lot of the airlines have gone through this recession, gone bankrupt, consolidation and now the airlines are trying to retreat back to their fortress hubs," Cox said.

So, airports in markets like Memphis are losing hubs and  being forced to "re-invent" themselves, trying to recruit low-cost carriers.

Southwest will expand in the Memphis market in November and with Delta's smaller "presence" in the Bluff City, Cox says courting other carriers could get a lot easier. 

"We've got plenty of space, we've got plenty of room on the air field, we've got low costs, a great airport, so we look forward to those opportunities," Cox said.

He says when airlines like Southwest make a commitment to Memphis,  Memphians need to commit to the airline.

"We want everybody to remember, they need to buy some tickets on Southwest.  This is their first entry into the market, so we need to support them," Cox said.

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