America West’s decision to close its hub in Columbus, Ohio, has forced it to sever its relationship with code-share partner Chautauqua Airlines. Between early April and mid-June, America West will gradually downsize the hub to a planned four mainline flights per day, a development that freed Chautauqua’s 12 Columbus-based Embraer ERJ-145s to fly as Delta Connection, starting April 1.
Delta said it would add 11 new flights at Port Columbus Airport through an augmented code-share deal with Indianapolis-based Chautauqua. The new arrangement will send Chautauqua jets on daily nonstop routes from Columbus to New York JFK and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Delta will also assume control of America West’s exclusive service to Fort Myers, Fla., and increase service to cities it already serves from Columbus, including three new nonstop flights to Boston and two new nonstop flights to Dallas/Fort Worth. The new flights by Chautauqua will increase Delta’s daily departures from Columbus by 42 percent, to 37 daily departures.
The modified Delta contract will increase to 34 the number of Embraer jets Chautauqua flies in the Delta Connection livery. Now flying eight Embraer jets for Delta in the southeastern U.S., Chautauqua expects delivery of 14 new 37-passenger ERJ-135s and 50-seat ERJ-145s by December. With the addition of the 12 America West Express jets, Chautauqua’s Delta Connection fleet will grow to include 19 ERJ-145s and 15 ERJ-135s by the end of the year.