HEBRON, Ky. (AP) -- Delta Air Lines has announced plans to suspend six weekly non-stop flights between Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to Phoenix because of rising fuel costs.
Airline spokeswoman Betsy Talton told The Kentucky Enquirer (http://cin.ci/KTmaKo ) the flights will end Sept. 4.
"With the significant increase in the price of jet fuel and the long stage length of this flight, this hasn't been a successful route in the winter when demand is lower," Talton said.
Airport spokeswoman Molly Flanagan said the seasonal service to Phoenix will help local travelers who plan to attend Reds spring training in Arizona. Flanagan said the airport will continue discussions with Delta and other carriers about restarting service year-round.
"We still believe service to Phoenix is a viable year-round option out of CVG, and we'll continue to discuss this with carriers, including Delta," Flanagan said.
Cincinnati travel agent Vicky Mary said Delta's most recent cut, along with prior cuts of a route to San Diego, poses another challenge to traveling west from the region.
"Phoenix is an iconic route to the west," said Mary, president of Victoria Travel in Hyde Park. "I wasn't so worried about San Diego because Los Angeles is just an hour-and-a-half drive away. But now you take away anything direct to Arizona. This is just overwhelming."
Talton said Delta will resume seasonal daily direct flights on the route from Feb. 13 to April 30. Delta will offer 150 non-stop daily flights from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky this summer, Talton said.
The suspension of the route comes as Delta continues to shrink operations at the airport in Hebron.
Daily peak departures have dropped from as many as 673 in 2005 to fewer than 200. As Delta's presence continues to diminish, airport officials have said they are actively recruiting low-cost carriers. Last week, officials unveiled a newly renovated $36.5 million Concourse A, which is a central part of the airport's recruiting efforts.
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com