Delta Air Lines is growing again in Cincinnati, announcing two new routes and an overall increase in capacity at its one-time hub.
Non-stop flights to Austin will begin May 1 while service to Phoenix launches Nov. 4. Delta will use Bombardier CRJ-700 regional jets for the Austin flights and Boeing 737-800s for the Phoenix flights. The Phoenix service will include one daily round-trip flight while the Austin schedule features one round-trip flight every day except Saturday.
With the new service, Delta says it will now be flying to all 20 of the top domestic air travel markets from Cincinnati.
Beyond the two new routes, Delta also will bolster capacity on several of its existing routes from Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) was once a major hub for Delta, but the airline has downsized there during the past decade. Delta has axed dozens of routes and hundreds of flights in Cincinnati during that time, a product of phasing out flying on 50-seat regional jets and updates to its route network following the company’s 2008 merger with Northwest Airlines.
Delta has cut more than 580 daily flights in the past decade at CVG, according to a 2017 analysis by The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Delta had labeled CVG as one of its hub airports until late last year. But, in a presentation to investors in December, Delta downgraded its terminology for Cincinnati to “focus city."
For now, at least, Delta has modestly begun to grow again in Cincinnati. The company says it has now boosted seat capacity there by 12% during the past two years, doing so through a combination of new destinations, more flights and bigger planes.
Delta says its latest expansion also includes more capacity on about 15 routes it already flew from Cincinnati. Some routes will see expanded flight schedules while others get larger aircraft, a move that increases the number of seats Delta can sell.
Among the highlights:
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- Seattle service that had been seasonal will now operate year-round. The airline also will add more flights to its existing schedule between Cincinnati and Baltimore/Washington (BWI).
- On May 1, Delta’s service to Ft. Myers, Fla., will be upgraded from 76-seat regional jets to 110-seat Boeing 717 aircraft.
- In August, service to Tampa will continue to be flown on Boeing 717s instead of the planned seasonal “downgauge” to 76-seat regional jets.
“With these additions, customers in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky will have more choices to go to the top business and leisure destinations that are important to them, and we look forward to continuing this growth,” Eric Phillips, Delta's Cincinnati market chief, said in a statement.
Once the new flights begin, Delta says its Cincinnati schedule will include 82 peak day departures to 36 destinations. That’s down from 89 daily peak departures from Delta’s summer 2017 schedule and from the 106 daily non-stop flights in its schedule from summer 2014, according to the Enquirer.
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