I-Team exclusive: Could Comair's demise result in new airline at CVG?

CINCINNATI - Sources tell the I-Team a group of aviation experts in Cincinnati are "conducting a feasibility study to determine opportunities" created by Comair's announcement that it was shutting down operations Sept. 29, 2012.

The study began before Delta released a statement Friday morning by Comair president Ryan Gumm to Comair employees, announcing "the difficult decision to cease Comair's operations." The I-Team first reported earlier this month that the airline may be shutting down.

Comair's first president, Patrick Sowers, also told the I-Team Friday that he knew of an effort to begin another airline at CVG.

"I think there's discussion today of some ex-pilots of Comair possibly even starting another airline out of Cincinnati," said Sowers. "I think we should look at [Comair's shutdown] as an opportunity. While it's very sad and our deepest, heart-felt thoughts go out to the employees and to their families, there will be more opportunity in the coming months from CVG."

Sowers called the end of Comair an "end of an era. It was our hometown airline. It's obviously a sad day for all of us."

But he said Comair itself was created of opportunity when the federal government deregulated the airline industry. Larger airlines deserted small-haul airports like Cincinnati's, where flights had been subsidized.

Comair and it's predecessor airline, Wings Airlines, rushed in to fill the void.

Today changes roil the airline industry, creating more opportunity.

"Adversity provides opportunity. There are a lot of parallels from the time we started Comair," said Sowers. "It's that change, which is inevitable, that really provides the opportunity for the next generation of entrepreneurs to step in and try to build a better mousetrap."

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