Delta to terminate Pinnacle’s Delta Connection contract


Delta will tear up its Delta Connection contract with Pinnacle Airlines Inc. on July 31, a move which Memphis, Tenn.-based Pinnacle is planning to fight.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. claims Pinnacle did not meet minimum arrival-time performance requirements for a period since flights began late last year.

The move is a similar to one Delta made with Mesa Air Group in April, when Mesa reported Delta’s plans to terminate its Delta Connection contract flying agreement with Mesa’s Freedom Airlines Inc. due to a problem with the number of flights Freedom completed. In May, Mesa won a preliminary injunction against Delta to enjoin the airline from canceling the contract.

In Pinnacle’s case, the airline said factors affecting on-time performance are beyond its control. Pinnacle Airlines Corp. President and CEO Phil Trenary said its operational schedule is created by Delta and is a key component of on-time performance.

“We are extremely surprised and disappointed that Delta is attempting to take this drastic and improper action,” Trenary said. “From the very beginning of our Delta Connection operations, we expressed our concern that the flight schedules Delta created were unrealistic. 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.”

Trenary also called Delta’s move “wrongful,” and said Pinnacle will “pursue appropriate remedies.”

Delta is the largest airline flying out of Dayton International Airport, with nearly 300,000 passengers last year.