Delta Airlines has announced plans to pull out of the Dubuque Regional Airport at the end of August. Airport manager Robert Grierson says Delta became Dubuque’s second hub just one year ago. The airport’s primary carrier is American Eagle, which offers flights to O’Hare in Chicago. "Having a second hub gives our customers another option," Grierson said.
"It also leads to competition between the carriers to help keep our airfares very competitive for the region." Earlier this year, Delta announced plans to reduce capacity by 10% compared to 2008. Grierson says the airline expanded into Dubuque just as the economy started slowing down.
He says the airline has also struggled with rising fuel prices and a decline in corporate travel budgets. "Then, you toss in the merger between Northwest and Delta…between those three things, that was it," Grierson said. Over the past year, Delta has served roughly 14,000 passengers in and out of Dubuque.
Grierson says there’s still plenty of demand for additional service in Dubuque, but it’ll be difficult to attract another carrier anytime soon. "This is a very difficult time for every airline. Whether you’re American, Delta or United – they’re all in the same situation," Grierson said. "We can continue talking with air carriers, but I don’t think anybody would be interested in doing any kind of expansion in the Midwest at this time."