Delta Air Lines is to restructure its network by leaving five international markets, diminishing its Dallas-Fort Worth hub further, building up the importance of Cincinnati, and transferring more routes to regional airlines.

The realignment is part of a continuing effort to maximise the profitable elements of Delta's network and discon-tinue services that are not making money. Indirectly it is considered part of the airline's 'Leadership 7.5' cost-cutting programme. 'We won't operate routes that are not making money,' says Delta. 'We can't justify continued losses and 7.5 as well.'

By December, Delta will withdraw from five international routes - Hong Kong, Taipei, Bangkok, Hamburg and Lisbon. Poor performance in these markets was the cause, though a government affairs official for the airline says in Thailand a long standing aeropolitical rift with the US has significantly limited capacity and produced consistently low load factors.

Domestically, the rise of Cincinatti as Delta's second largest hub after Atlanta is coming at the expense of DFW. An 8 per cent increase in capacity at Cincinnati is planned, and the DFW complex will be refocused to connect west coast traffic flows to the US southeast.

Delta's pilots have reacted angrily to the carrier's decision to switch some of its short haul flying at Atlanta to a Delta Connection Carrier, mirroring previous moves at DFW. Service to Ashville, North Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Columbus, Georgia; and Panama City, Florida go to Atlantic Southeast Airlines, which has begun flying BAe146 jets.

Source: Airline Business