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Fri, May 25, 2007

Delta Sends New Planes To Comair

Shows Support Of Struggling Regional Operation

In a show of support for its beleagured regional subsidiary, Delta Air Lines announced Friday it will give Comair 14 new Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft, to replace an equal number of aging 50-seat CRJ-100s. The new jets will be the first in the Comair fleet to sport a first-class cabin.

"We have positioned ourselves to win this flying through the hard work we completed in bankruptcy, and the investment in our fleet is a powerful affirmation of the partnership we have with Delta Air Lines," Comair President Don Bornhorst said. "Our team will make the most of this opportunity by remaining steadfast in our focus on operational performance and customer service."

The first of the new, 76-seat jets could be up and running by September 1. The move is part of Delta's recently-announced marketing campaign aimed at (no laughing, please -- Ed.) "making flying regional jets fun again," and also includes new seat cushions, improved onboard snack and beverage service, and an increase in the number of RJ-sized covered jetways at Delta's Atlanta hub -- all in an effort to better align the regional jet travel "experience" with that of Delta's mainline services.

Perhaps more important in the scheme of things, the decision to award new aircraft to the Erlanger, KY-based Comair is also a strong sign of support for Comair... an operation many believed Delta would chose to divorce itself from upon exiting bankruptcy.

Delta COO Jim Whitehurst stressed Comair's importance to Delta's operations Friday.

"Comair is a strategic part of the Delta Connection network, and we are proud to be part of Comair’s next chapter as a premier regional airline," Whitehurst, said. "In fact, Comair was the first carrier to fly regional jets for Delta Connection nearly 15 years ago. We continue to rely on them to provide our customers excellent service."

Delta will sell back the 14 CRJ-100s to Bombardier.

FMI: www.comair.com, www.delta.com

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