Delta Air Lines officials say the company’s pending merger with Northwest Airlines will not affect the company’s commitment to maintaining a hub at the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
Gov. Steve Beshear met with Delta President and Chief Financial Officer Ed Bastian shortly after the merger announcement and said Bastian emphasized that the hub remains an important part of Delta’s plans for the future.
“Most importantly,” said Gov. Beshear, “they assured me there would be no reduction in front line employees.”
The governor also was told by Bastian that Delta foresees no significant reduction of service at the Northern Kentucky airport. In addition, Comair, Delta’s regional carrier based at the airport, will remain an important part of the new Delta business strategy, either as the wholly owned subsidiary as it is today, or as a contracted regional carrier operated by another company.
“Obviously, when you are dealing with a volatile industry such as the airline industry, which is greatly impacted by fuel costs and economic conditions generally, you have to be cautious in your optimism,” said Beshear. “But I feel good about the commitments that Delta is making to the commonwealth of Kentucky and to the airport in Northern Kentucky.”
Delta and Comair’s annual operational economic impact on the commonwealth is projected to be nearly $1 billion. The company’s annual state and local tax benefit to Kentucky is approximately $116 million. Delta employs approximately 1,200 workers at the hub, while Comair has a workforce of about 5,000. Currently, Delta serves 117 domestic destinations and seven international destinations from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky facility.