Delta to stop using one of its three N. Kentucky concourses

Delta Air Lines and its affiliates will be operating out of two instead of three concourses at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport by the end of January.

Delta and its affiliates now use Concourses A, B and C. The airport has a total of five concourses. Delta is moving out of Concourse C, which currently is used primarily by Delta affiliate Comair.

The change stems from high fuel prices, according to Delta and the airport.

"A lot of flights have been cut ... because of the fuel (price) problem," airport spokesman Ted Bushelman said, adding that Comair has not been using all of the gates at Concourse C in recent months.

On peak days in November 2007, there were about 400 daily departures by Delta and its affiliates from the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. The number of departures will be about 300 on peak days in November 2008, Elliott said.

Delta announced systemwide cuts of 5 percent in domestic passenger capacity in December 2007, 5 percent in March 2008 and 3 percent in June 2008.

The airline has begun working with the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport to add at least 11 new passenger loading bridges and other improvements on Concourses A and B that ultimately will eliminate ground-level boarding of Delta Connection flights and passenger busing. The improvements will be made over two or three years.

"The purpose of this is to provide a consistent passenger experience," Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott said. Improvements also would give customers better access to Delta Crown Room Clubs, kiosks and help-line phone banks, she said.

Meanwhile, Delta's lease for Concourse C extends to 2025.

"We don't intend to break the lease," Elliott said.

"If some airline comes in and needs a lot of gates, we've got them," Bushelman said.

Exactly how such a deal would be worked out apparently hasn't been determined.

"We haven't sat down and strategized this yet," Bushelman said. "This has come up quick."

The airport and Delta said the move from three concourses to two would not result in job losses among their employees. Comair employees currently handling flights at Concourse C will move to Concourses A and B to handle departures. Any Comair staffing adjustments due to the consolidation will be handled through attrition or the company's voluntary programs, according to Delta.