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Delta Low-Cost To Be Announced Today

Wed Nov 20, 2002 3:55 pm

Delta to discuss low-cost carrier details on Wed.

NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines said it would discuss details on Wednesday of its new low-cost air carrier created to compete with successful discount airlines Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways and AirTran Airways.

Delta said in a statement on Tuesday that its president, Frederick Reid, would broadcast a product announcement over the Internet starting at 10 a.m.

John Selvaggio, a former Delta senior vice president picked in August to lead the low-cost strategy, will also address investors and the media.

Analysts and investors have awaited word on Delta's low-fare "airline within an airline" since its development was revealed this summer.

Delta's business in its biggest markets has been poached by low-cost carriers, and Delta Chief Executive Leo Mullin has said discount airlines are now the biggest competitive force facing the industry's stalwarts.

The Atlanta-based airline, the third largest in the United States, has lost a steady stream of customers to AirTran at its Atlanta hub and to JetBlue , whose business slightly overlaps Delta's.

Highly emulated Southwest is not only the low-cost market leader but the financially strongest airline.

Higher fixed costs at Delta as well as at other major airlines have kept the carriers from being more competitive as air fares stay persistently low.

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