HEBRON, Ky. - Delta Air Lines is ceasing service to three cities from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Non-stop flights to Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids, Mich. and Richmond, Va. will end next week.
Delta first announced in March it would eliminate service to those destinations but did not say it would eliminate those flights altogether.
CVG officials said the cuts, which go into effect Oct. 1, are due to "insufficient pilot hours" for schedules that utilize 50-seat regional jets; those planes are being shed by Delta -- and others -- in favor of larger gauge aircraft.
Nationwide, Delta is expected to operate 5,700 fewer flights in October year-over-year using such 50-seaters.
"Local demand in these markets did not justify keeping the flights when forced to reduce flights on the system," CVG spokeswoman Melissa Wideman said. Delta was averaging 28 passengers a day to Richmond, 20 passengers a day to Pittsburgh and 15 a day to Grand Rapids.
"Other Delta hubs (are) impacted by reductions in 50-seat flight operations," she added. "Delta has begun using larger gauge aircraft in many CVG markets. On average, Delta has seven more seats per departure during the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to 2014. This is a result of using larger regional jets in markets such as Nashville, Chicago, Kansas City, Newark, Hartford and St. Louis."
Still, the cuts are just the latest made by Delta this year. In February, for example, it was announced it would end direct service to New Orleans, San Diego and Jacksonville, Florida. Non-stop flights to Madison, Wisconsin, were also cut. Delta still maintains CVG is a key hub.
"We do believe that several markets in the 300 to 400 mile distance are appropriate for other carriers, and (we) are working with those carriers on those opportunities," Wideman said.