Delta's downgrade at the Memphis International Airport is official.
The airline pulled the plug on 29 flights today due to high fuel costs and lack of ticket sales sold in Memphis.
The maximum number of flights you will see out of Memphis is 64 and one woman says "That's nothing!"
Laurie Rowell has three sisters who each live in different states. They admit it's going to be harder to visit Rowell now but are more worried about others, ""I think it's cutting out too many jobs. More people are going to be out of work. People have lost enough jobs already. Can't afford to lose anymore."
"Well I usually fly Delta, so that kind of puts a damper on things. Especially when you're traveling business," says Susan Clark.
Clark says she loves her skymiles but may stop flying Delta completely because of this; especially if Southwest comes in and does what she needs.
The reduction means a decreased role for Memphis International, which has struggled for years to maintain its flight numbers.
Some prominent Memphians said Delta's strategy will cost the Bluff City dearly.
The late Janis Joplin once sang about the anguish of a love affair gone bad belting out, "Take another little piece of my heart." Like her stray man, this city's relationship with Delta Air Lines has been just as much of a one-way street.
Delta just keeps on sucking the life out of Memphis International Airport.
"Delta said there were only 12 overlapping flights between Delta and Northwest and accordingly they would not hurt Memphis at all," said U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Distict 9). "We would keep our hub."
More than five years ago the merger of Northwest Airlines with Delta was greeted with euphoria in Memphis. It promised a new age in which our city's place in the global airline industry was going to be all but assured in years to come.
"What we in Memphis International Airport envision for the next five years is non-stop service to Paris and services across the Pacific to Japan," former Memphis Airport Authority Board Chairman Arnold Perl said in 2008.
Like the fictional "Wizard of Oz", Delta CEO Richard Anderson appeared to allay any fears with what sounded to all like a blanket promise of security, and it was, for Delta Air Lines.
"The hub is staying," Anderson aid in 2008. "The hub is an important part of the combined network of the two airlines after the merger."
"Delta used the merger with Northwest and the purchase of Pinnacle Airlines to further itself but reduce itself here in Memphis," said Memphis Councilman Harold Collins.
Delta's slow and painful decomposition of the once proud Memphis International Airport reached new depths of irritation with the announcement the airport's dominant carrier plans to chop 29 flights from its schedule here starting Tuesday.
Among the canceled routes will be non-stop flights to Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale and 10 other cities. An airport that boasted a roster of 300 flights a day 14 years ago, now will operate with a combined total of only 100 a day - 64 of them belonging to Delta.
Local reactions to Delta's latest snub to the Bluff City have ranged from bitter to hopeless resignation.
"It's going to be hurtful to us for conventions and attracting businesses," Congressman Cohen said. "It's hurtful for the business at the airport. A lot of people have lost their jobs who worked there. There's a lot of retail establishments and food establishments that have closed."
"Delta should really be ashamed," said Memphis Councilman Myron Lowrey. "They've lied to our city. They said some time ago we would not be cut. And they've cut us once, cut us twice and this third cut is simply inexcusable."
Besides the loss of jobs, Delta's decision could have further financial implications for a shrinking airport that's considering tearing down former busy facilities that now sit idle.
"They're talking about destroying part of the A and C concourses," Congressman Cohen said. "Why not just close them off? why do we have to spend money to demolish? I don't know."
"All we can do is to look for another carrier to come into this city, one or two carriers could help us out," Councilman Lowrey said. "That's all we can do."
Delta Air Lines will eliminate its Memphis hub. Here are the terminated routes and the continued destinations, including number of flights.
What's going away?
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