Delta Connection Marks a Decade

CINCINNATI, July 16, 2003—Delta Connection today is celebrating the decade since Comair, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), introduced Bombardier CRJ regional jets to North America in 1993. The milestone is being celebrated today at Delta’s hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, where Comair operated its inaugural regional jet round-trip flight for Delta Connection on June 1, 1993, to Toronto, Canada.

Delta Connection’s aggressive expansion of regional jet operations opened a new world of travel opportunity for customers and communities across North America. The continuation of that growth and leadership is highlighted today as Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines formally marks the arrival of its 100th Bombardier CRJ regional jet. Comair recently took delivery of its 143rd CRJ, bringing to 243 the number of CRJs operated by the two wholly owned Delta subsidiaries. Delta Connection’s five regional airlines now operate a total of 359 regional jets.

Today’s celebration includes an appearance by Delta’s restored 1940 DC-3, another aviation milestone that will be on display July 18-20 at “Inventing Flight—A Centennial Celebration,” in nearby Dayton, Ohio. Delta is the official airline sponsor for the 18-day centennial celebration in Dayton, hometown of the Wright Brothers.

“The speed, range and flexibility of regional jets allows customers in small- and mid-size markets throughout North America to enjoy direct jet access to Delta’s vast system of domestic and international flights,” said Fred Buttrell, president and chief executive officer, Delta Connection, Inc. “The Delta Connection team will continue to lead the airline industry in regional jet flying, offering customers multiple flight selections, convenient connections and reliable, courteous service. Delta Connection service is integral to the Delta hub system, offering millions of customers one-stop options to the destinations of their choice.”

The mission of regional jets has evolved to provide Delta with an extremely flexible network tool for right-sizing aircraft to market demands, and for maintaining vital jet service to communities and customers in today’s challenging operating environment. Delta Connection’s regional jets account for more than 2,600 flights a day serving 369 markets. Industry-wide, more than 1,100 regional jets are in operation throughout North America, following Delta’s lead. Recent industry estimates show that two-thirds of all airports in the United States support only regional flying, without the market demand to support larger jet service.


“The tremendous success and growth of regional jets contrasts sharply with the initial industry skepticism that greeted Comair when we decided to introduce CRJs in 1993,” said Randy Rademacher, Comair president. “In fact, many industry analysts said it would never work. We believed in the concept of using smaller jets to economically carry customers farther, faster and quieter. We have been successful, and we are working with the Delta Connection team to carry that success into the future.”

Known for its convenience, comfort and speed, the CRJ carries passengers in a two-by-two seating arrangement; every seat is an aisle or window, with no middle seats. The plane can cruise at a speed of 530 mph at altitudes as high as 41,000 feet, and is recognized as the quietest commercial jet aircraft in the world.

Delta Connection carriers include Delta’s wholly owned subsidiaries Atlantic Southeast Airlines and Comair, additional regional carriers Atlantic Coast Airlines, Chautauqua Airlines and SkyWest Airlines, and codeshare partner American Eagle (in California). Delta Connection carriers operate a diverse fleet of more than 350 regional jets throughout North America. For more information, visit