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Richard Piatt reporting There's good, and not-so-good news concerning Delta Airlines' Salt Lake City hub. At the same time, the airline recommitted to its hub here, it also announced major changes, that will affect both employees and travellers.
Delta is talking more flights overall. But sometimes in smaller planes, and with new departure times. And yes, employees will be downsized: Part of what Delta says it's going to take to keep operating in Salt Lake City.
Delta is among the major airlines making major changes to the way it does business. In Salt Lake City, that will soon mean fewer large aircraft taking off to some destinations.
Instead, more, smaller planes will serve regional cities using affiliated Delta Connection and Sky West aircraft. This restructuring of Delta's Utah hub will result in more departures overall---including two direct flights to Detroit starting in January. But the changes are more than customer service---they're critical for Delta's future here.
Paulette Corbin/Delta VP of Western Airports "THIS IS OUR CLEAR MESSAGE THAT WE ARE VERY COMMITTED TO SALT LAKE CITY. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE MAKE THIS A PROFITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE HUB. IT IS NOT TODAY."
Fewer travellers overall--even two years after September 11, 2001--are forcing similar changes in all airlines in market after market. Discount airlines are also cutting into Delta's share of people who are flying.
That's prompting relationships between the majors and among regional carriers like Delta Connection, SkyWest and Comair.
Those changes also mean downsizing. In Utah, 130 Delta employees at the airport will have to make a choice, including go to a new Utah reservation center; relocate, or work for the smaller carriers.
Paulette Corbin/Delta VP of Western Airports "BETWEEN OTHER PROGRAMS INLCUDING SEVERANCE, SKY WEST IS INTERESTED IN OUR PEOPLE. THERE ARE OPTIONS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN STAYING WITH DELTA."
All these changes will take place AFTER the holiday travel season---January 7. Delta is expected to add a non-stop flight to St. Louis in time for Christmas.