Delta Air Lines has notified Pinnacle Airlines that it intends to dissolve their Delta Connection contract, effective July 31. Delta cited Memphis-based Pinnacle’s failure to meet contractually guaranteed on-time performance rates for its decision. A federal judge recently blocked Delta’s attempts to end its contract with Mesa Air Group’s Freedom Airlines subsidiary for the same stated reason. If that attempt proved successful, it would have removed 34 Embraer regional jets from the Delta Connection system.
Pinnacle began flying for Delta under a new capacity purchase agreement last December and, according to Pinnacle CEO Phil Trenary, Delta failed to collaborate with Pinnacle on a mutually acceptable schedule as required under their contract. “From the very beginning of our Delta Connection operations, we expressed our concern that the flight schedules Delta created were unrealistic,” said Trenary. “Our position was affirmed when recent schedule changes by Delta allowed immediate improvement in our on-time performance, well above the agreed minimum standard and above most other Delta Connection carriers.”
Flying for Delta from its Atlanta hub, Pinnacle so far has placed into service nine of the 16 Bombardier CRJ900s specified under the agreement.
“We believe that the attempt by Delta to terminate this contract is wrongful, and we intend to pursue appropriate remedies,” added Trenary. “At this time, it remains business as usual for our passengers and our people.”