Delta To Boot Compass, GoJet as Regional Affiliates
Delta Air Lines will consolidate the number of airlines that operate Delta Connection flights next year, dropping Compass Airlines and GoJet Airlines as partner carriers.
Endeavor Air, Republic Airlines and SkyWest Airlines will be the sole operators of Delta Connection flights when most of the mainline carrier’s contracts with Compass and GoJet end in the next 11 months. Delta revealed the change to employees in an Aug. 6 internal memo that was viewed by TPG. Aircraft operated by Compass and GoJet will be reallocated to Delta's three remaining partners.
The decision to streamline the number of Delta Connection carriers will allow Delta to reduce “operational complexity and [create] better consistency with the overall product and experience for customers,” the airline said in the memo.
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Delta Connection flights are operated by an affiliate carrier that Delta contracts to operate smaller aircraft to its hubs. The affiliates fly under the "Delta Connection" brand with a comparable look and feel to Delta's mainline flights. The Connection fleet ranges from Bombardier CRJ200s with 50 seats to Embraer 175s with up to 76 seats.
The shift to three Delta Connection operators from five is unlikely to be noticed by passengers. Delta works with its partners to minimize the difference not only between itself and them, but between regional carriers as well.
Compass operated 36 E175s, and GoJet 20 Bombardier CRJ700s and seven Bombardier CRJ900s for Delta at the end of June, according to Delta’s second quarter financial statement. Both carriers are owned by St. Louis-based Trans States Holdings.
Compass and GoJet's contracts covering the 56 CRJ700s and E175s will end by the middle of next year, according to the memo. Delta is in discussions with the latter regarding ending the agreement for the CRJ900s earlier than its current 2022 termination.
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Endeavor will add 20 aircraft as part of the transition, it said on its website Tuesday. The Minneapolis-based carrier will add 13 CRJ700s from GoJet, as well as another seven CRJ900s to its fleet by June 2020.
Endeavor, Republic and SkyWest will each focus on a specific geographic region after the transition, according to the memo. It does not say which region each carrier will focus on.
Endeavor CEO David Garrison said in the statement that the airline anticipates growing at Delta's Detroit (DTW) hub and its Cincinnati (CVG) and Raleigh/Durham (RDU) focus cities.
"Endeavor will continue to be the driving force for Delta Connection’s success east of the Mississippi," he said.
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Separately, SkyWest CEO Chip Childs, in a letter to the St. George, Utah-based airline's employees Tuesday that was also viewed by TPG, said the carrier will become Delta's primary regional partner in Los Angeles (LAX), Salt Lake City (SLC) and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA).
"This transition west is also expected to help with our operating efficiency and reliability," he said.
Delta owns Endeavor and has a 17% stake in Indianapolis-based Republic.
Trans States was not immediately available for comment.