Delta might drop flying in 24 small cities
MINNEAPOLIS — Delta Air Lines Inc. is looking to drop money-losing flights in 24 small cities, putting some of them at risk of losing air service altogether.
Delta says it has been losing $14 million a year on the flights, which are concentrated in the nation's midsection in cities like Thief River Falls, Minn., and Waterloo, Iowa. Some flights are only 12 percent full on average. Many are on Saab turboprop planes, which Delta is retiring.
Federal subsidies help pay for flying in 16 of the cities. Other airlines can bid for those subsidies if Delta pulls out. The airline says it will ask for federal subsidies in the other eight cities. It said it can't afford to keep flying to those cities without a subsidy.
The 24 cities where Delta says it may drop service, by average occupancy from lowest to highest:
City, average flight occupancy, federal subsidy
Thief River Falls, Minn. 12 percent Yes
Greenville, Miss. 28 percent Yes
Devils Lake, N.D. 30 percent Yes
Watertown, S.D. 35 percent Yes
Muscle Shoals, Miss. 36 percent Yes
Fort Dodge, Iowa 39 percent Yes
Hibbing, Minn. 39 percent Yes
Alpena, Mich. 40 percent Yes
Tupelo, Miss. 41 percent Yes
Jamestown, N.D. 42 percent Yes
Mason City, Iowa 46 percent Yes
Pierre, S.D. 47 percent No
Iron Mountain, Mich. 49 percent Yes
Sioux City, Iowa 51 percent No.
International Falls, Minn. 53 percent Yes
Brainerd, Minn. 53 percent No
Hattiesburg, Miss. 54 percent Yes
Escanaba Mich. 55 percent Yes.
Aberdeen, S.D. 56 percent. No
Pellston Mich. 59 percent No
Bemidji, Minn. 59 percent No
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. 60 percent Yes
Waterloo, Iowa. 61 percent No
Butte, Mont. 65 percent No