Delta backs off one Paris experiment, bags RDU

paris_pictures_doorway.jpg.We were puzzled when Delta made the announcement back in November, saying it would fly nonstop to Paris from (drum roll) both Pittsburgh and Raleigh/Durham. It perplexed us in that none of the three end points was a Delta stronghold, even though the Paris end, at Charles de Gaulle, had plenty of SkyTeam feed from alliance pal Air France. But we figured they knew what they were doing and anyway these US cities really were hungry for overseas service. Pittsburgh in particular had not had a transatlantic link since British Airways and then US Airways pulled out in 2004, and RDU had only one, a daily nonstop on American to Heathrow. And we figured that RDU, based in the sunny South and certainly home to a stronger economy, could perhaps support a flight. Nope.

The airport (RDU) said the other day that the Paris/RDU service was off until sometime in 2010, if ever, although the airport authority’s Teresa Damiano said that it wasn’t because of any demand issues but


because of the current economic climate. We’d note a very big difference: RDU offered a minimal cash incentive and even though it was also forgiving some landing fees, Pittsburgh offered a bigger lure, about three times as much marketing money and an undertaking that the business community would subsidize losses of up to $9 million if the route were still losing money in the second year

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