Delta suspends all service at T.F. Green Airport

DELTA AIR LINES INC. announced Friday that it is suspending service at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick at least until Sept. 30. PBN FILE PHOTO / MIKE SKORSKI
DELTA AIR LINES INC. announced Friday that it is suspending service at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick at least until Sept. 30. PBN FILE PHOTO / MIKE SKORSKI

PROVIDENCE Delta Air Lines Inc. has suspended flights in and out of T.F. Green Airport and nine other smaller airports nationwide, at least until October, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the air transportation industry.

Delta said it would consolidate operations from May 13 through September.

“These changes will allow more of our front-line employees to minimize their COVID-19 exposure risk while ensuring convenient access to Delta’s network for those who must travel,” the airline said in a statement. “Delta will continue providing essential service to impacted communities via neighboring airports.”

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in New Hampshire was among the airports where flights would be suspended. In the case of both Green and Manchester-Boston, the airline noted that the nearest  airport served by Delta is now Logan International Airport in Boston.

- Advertisement -

According to Green Airport data, Delta was the fourth busiest air carrier at the Warwick airport in January, accounting for 23,702 total passengers that month. Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and JetBlue Airways carried more passengers in that time period.

But activity has been cut drastically since the coronavirus crisis. The R.I. Airport Corp., which operates Green, said the daily passenger count has failed to hit 200 people in early May, compared with 5,500 travelers streaming through the state’s largest airport each day in April 2019.

In addition, R.I. Airport Corp. CEO and President Iftikhar Ahmad told PBN recently that he’s concerned that the guidelines for the $58 billion federal airline bailout will make it more difficult for Green to recover.

The bailout package requires recipients to maintain a minimum level of service nationwide – for now, at least through Sept. 30, although additional funding could come with an extension of the minimum-service rule.

Guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Transportation allow airlines to consolidate flights within certain geographic areas, including a Greater Boston designation that lumps in Green with Boston’s Logan International Airport.

While none of the airlines operating out of Green have permanently cut service yet, JetBlue, United Airlines Inc. and Frontier Airlines have suspended some flights in addition to Delta’s suspension.

The guidelines offer no incentive for them to resume full-service operations when the economy reopens. Ahmad co-signed a letter with Gov. Gina M. Raimondo and members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation in April asking the U.S. DOT to amend its minimum-service rule.

He said prolonged service cuts would be devastating.

Delta said it has already announced an 85% reduction in its schedule for the second quarter of this year, which includes reductions of 80% in U.S. domestic capacity and 90% internationally.

Delta said it is “looking at other opportunities to take similar measures in additional markets.”

Late last month, Delta said, it filed a request with the U.S. DOT to consolidate operations in another nine cities served by multiple airports. That request is still under review.

No posts to display