Comair To Cease Operations

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Regional airline Comair will be closed down in September, its parent company, Delta, said on Friday. Comair operates about 50 regional jets on 290 routes. Ryan Gumm, president of Comair, said in a letter to employees that the company operates "some of the oldest 50-seat aircraft in the Delta Connection fleet, which also have the highest unit cost per flight hour." He said Comair couldn't continue to be sustainable given "the economic limitations of our aging aircraft, cost structure, the long-term outlook for 50-seat aircraft, and our challenging industry and economy." All 1,700 Comair employees will lose their jobs.

Don Bornhorst, Senior Vice President of Delta Connection, said regional flying will remain a "key component" of Delta's network, but added that "customer expectations and the unit costs of regional flying have evolved." Delta said it plans to reduce the number of regional jets in its network while adding more mainline flying. Most of the employees affected by the shutdown live in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. Comair has been flying since 1977, starting out with three Piper Navajos.