Delta Air Lines received federal approval to suspend service to 11 small U.S. airports.
Carriers must continue serving domestic destinations in their networks as a condition of accepting billions of dollars in federal airline relief funding from the CARES Act. But the U.S. Department of Transportation has been granting some exemptions as travel demand remains depressed.
The latest proposed exemptions for Delta and other carriers are part of a plan to exempt airlines from flying to 5% of their destinations.
Under the DOT’s proposal, Atlanta-based Delta would be able to suspend service through Sept. 30, 2020, to Aspen, Colo.; Bangor, Maine; Erie, Pa.; Flint, Mich.; Fort Smith, Ark.; Lincoln, Neb.; New Bern, N.C.; Peoria, Ill.; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; and Williston, N.D.
Delta said it’s “an effort to reduce costs and reduce employee exposure while customer traffic is very low,” and noted that all of the airports would continue to be served by at least one other airline.
The airline said it will re-accommodate customers whose flights are affected.
The DOT’s approach was to grant exemptions based on prioritized lists submitted by airlines, while preventing any one point from losing all airline service.
If the DOT had granted all the requests, some airports would have been left without service.
Delta had submitted requests to suspend service to Worcester and a number of other small airports, but was not granted a waiver for Worcester in the proposal.
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