Clear Skies for Meridian's Delta Connection

By: Tyler Helms
By: Tyler Helms

With a second quarter loss of nearly $2 billion and a six month loss of $2.3 billion, Delta Airlines is facing a turbulent financial future, a future that could include bankruptcy. Delta says it is doing everything it can to avoid such action.

CEO Gerald Grinstein is calling for an urgent need to transform the company, but will that include a transformation of its subsidiary companies like Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which serves Meridian?

"It is simply too early to say or know how Delta's financial challenges will affect ASA," says Kent Linder with ASA.

An uncertainty that leads one to use logic, and logic says bankruptcy for Delta means problems for ASA, but reality and the numbers say something different. With 800 flights a day and over 100 destinations, ASA remains one of Delta's strongest and most profitable divisions.

"Meridian remains one of ASA's most profitable markets. We may not have as many passengers but we remain consistent in the amount of boardings we have, so we expect Meridian to be safe in light of what may come about," says Tom Williams, CEO of Meridian Regional Airport.

ASA remains so successful, because ever since 9/11, it’s served a niche. With its small planes, all jet service, and remote destinations, ASA has increased business in places where major airlines have had to cut back. The good news for Delta is the business keeps coming.

"For the first six months in 2004 boarding was up over 40 percent at this airport on ASA. So ASA's traffic is up by 41 percent, so they are happy. They have talked to us about adding a possible fourth flight and we have offered them incentives to do that, we are just waiting on them," said Williams.

In fact, Delta and ASA officials say they project a 25 percent growth nation wide in that division. So, while Delta's financial skies are a bit turbulent, ASA seem to be all clear.


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