Thursday, February 08, 2001

Comair to use Delta concourse for some flights




By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Comair on Wednesday announced it would start using Delta Air Lines' concourse A at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport for some of its flights, yet another sign of the regional airline's booming growth.

        The Hebron-based company will use three gates starting April 1 during the two busiest times of the day — the 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. periods, during which the airline operates 102 flights.

        Of those, 12 will load and unload at concourse A, previously used for Delta's mainline jets exclusively.

        “This would allow us to increase convenience and service options for our customers right away while we continue to expand our facilities at concourse C,” said Comair president Randy Rademacher.

        Comair, the nation's second-largest regional carrier, operates 323 daily departures from Cincinnati. The Delta subsidiary flew 4.7 million passengers through the first seven months of 2000, a 15 percent increase from the 4.1 million who flew Comair for the same period in 1999, and a 35 percent jump from the 1998 period.

        In 1994, the company opened concourse C, a separate facility reachable only by shuttle bus from the main Delta terminal, and added 50 percent in seating capacity in 1999.

        Airline and airport officials are planning another 35,000-square-foot expansion of the $50 million, 170,000-square foot facility. Both Comair spokesman Nick Miller and airport spokesman Ted Bushelman said planning is in the preliminary stages, and no dates have been set for construction to start.

        Mr. Miller said the gates at concourse A will be adjusted to allow for as little exposure to the elements as possible — with a covered walkway starting within 12 feet of the aircraft. The design will mimic the design of jetways already being used for the company's Canadair Regional Jets at other airports such as Charlottesville, Va.

        In addition, lifts will be installed to allow physically disabled passengers access to the tarmac.

        Mr. Miller would not disclose how much the adjustments to the current Delta gates and jetways would cost.

        Airport spokesman Ted Bushelman said that even though only 12 flights will be diverted to the main building, the switch is welcome operationally.

        “It will really help spread out those passengers a little,” Mr. Bushelman said.

       



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