Delta Leaves; Airport Loses $140,000 A Year - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/31/05

Delta Leaves; Airport Loses $140,000 A Year

You now have one less choice when flying out of Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport. January 30th was the last time a Delta flight would leave Lubbock.

On January 31st, the airline eliminated its hub at Dallas-Fort worth International Airport, bringing an end to Lubbock's Delta connection operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA). Airport officials will now try to make up for the thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

"I didn't realize they were leaving until I just walked up here," said frequent traveler, Kay Stair on Monday, January 31st.

Much to his surprise, Delta has pulled the plug on its Lubbock operation, and you can no longer board a Delta flight.

"Since we don't have full size carriers coming out of here then we're going to lose one it doesn't give you an opportunity, if you need it, to go to between different carriers to get to your location," said Stair.

Stair flies at least once a month. His problem is that he now has fewer travel options. The airport's problem is how to come up with the $140,000 a year Delta paid them to rent the now vacant counter space.

"It's not good, nobody likes to lose service, no community likes to lose service," said Lubbock Preston Smith Aviation Director, James Loomis.

Before the airport learned Delta was leaving, they started charging handicapped vehicles for parking and did away with senior citizens' discounts. Those two measures would've raised about $140,000 a year, but now that Delta is leaving they're losing $140,000 a year.

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"Then Delta made the determination to come out, so what we would've gained is kind of a washout now, go figure," said Loomis.

To fill the void, there has been talk of bringing in another airline, but Loomis says that's unlikely based on the industry's current financial troubles.

In Lubbock, American Eagle added two flights and Continental added one.

"I'm either flying Southwest or American and there are times you don't get the flight you'd like," said Stair. And now that Delta's gone, he may have to rely on Continental for that third choice.

Delta's contract at Lubbock Preston Smith doesn't expire until next year, so they'll pay the $140,000 rental fee through 2006. This way, the airport won't experience an immediate loss in revenue.

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