Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Memo Hints At End For Comair Airline

A company that was born and grew up in northern Kentucky and became a big name in the sky faces an uncertain future tonight. An internal memo leads employees at Comair to fear the carrier may cease operations very soon.

Local 12 News Reporter Joe Webb has been looking into those reports. There have been some major changes in the economy and major competition in the regional airline niche that Comair helped create 25 to 30 years ago. The airline has shrunk considerably, and now, workers fear it may close in the next few months.

For 35 years, Comair has been a hometown, homegrown air carrier. For travelers, it's been air service to dozens of destinations. For hundreds of others, it's been a lot more. "Employment, a 30 year career. You know, that type of thing."

This afternoon, flight attendants from Local 513 held their regular union meeting at an Erlanger hotel. Many were curious about their future with Comair. Internal memos shared by employees paint an uncertain future.

Last Friday, President Ryan Gumm told workers a "final decision" on Comair's future would come from Delta by the end of the month. This followed a memo in June cutting crews for August. shows few changes in Comair flights, but pilots and flight attendants privately expect few, if any, by mid-fall.

It's a far cry from the airline's heyday in the '90's when it was a high flier. The headquarters built then now sits empty. They've moved back into their original airport space. Flight attendants were hoping for some answers this afternoon. Comair Flight Attendant Jeanine Martin says, "Be honest with you, I don't know what I'll find out. I hope it's good news that what we would stay in business. But, I don't have my hopes up."

Comair Flight Attendant Tamara Gabbard says, "I've been a flight attendant for almost 12 years. This has kinda been my home town. I'm just concerned what I'm going to do and what's going to happen."

We haven't had a chance to follow up with the flight attendants to see if they got any information. So far, 618 captains and first officers are scheduled to fly in August and so are 414 flight attendants, 299 based here in Cincinnati.

No one from Comair would comment on camera today. They referred us to Delta spokespeople in Atlanta. we did receive a statement from Delta today. It says, "In view of significant changes in the economic and competitive conditions in the regional airline industry in recent years, Delta continues to explore strategic alternatives for Comair, as previously announ ced. Until a final decision has been made, we cannot comment further."

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