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Citing a Pilot Staffing Shortage, Delta Cuts Even More Flights at Former Hub


Delta Air Lines is continuing to shrink its operations in Memphis as it establishes a tighter grip on capacity management.

Delta Air Lines has announced plans to cut even more services at Memphis International Airport (MEM) according to a statement from the airport. The Atlanta-based carrier will discontinue nonstop service from MEM to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) on December 31, 2014. Additionally, Delta will terminate nonstop service between MEM and Indianapolis International Airport (IND), as well as nonstop service between MEM and Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) in early 2015.

Delta also plans to reduce the current daily service it operates from MEM to Orlando International Airport (MCO) to a Saturday-only service. Services from MEM to Cancun, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City will be offered on a seasonal basis.

These cuts come less than a month after Delta announced plans to drop nonstop services from MEM to Pittsburgh, Dallas/Fort Worth, Washington Reagan National and New Orleans. According to the Memphis Daily News, once all the service reductions are in place, Delta will operate a mere 25 daily flights out of Memphis to 10 destinations, down from a peak of 200 daily departures.

MEM became a Delta hub as a result of its merger with Northwest Airlines in 2008, and the airport remained a hub until 2013. Its geographic location — less than 400 miles from Delta’s major hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) — may have played a part in its demise.

According to the statement from MEM, Delta blames a pilot staffing shortage for the latest series of cuts. In an interview with Flightglobal, Delta CEO Richard Anderson says the company plans to retire more than 200 of its 50-seat regional jets in 2015 and replace them with more cost-efficient aircraft.

[Photo: Memphis International Airport Facebook]

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