Comair and ASA aren't really as profitable as some would think. They are profitable simply because they fly a lot of routes where there is little to know low-fare competition plus DL
subsidizes a good chunk of ASA's and Comair's costs.
strategy has its up and downs. The upside is that it has allowed DL
to maintain a presence on many routes that would have otherwise been abandoned. Without RJ
's, there's a good chance the DFW
hub would be completely gone. The RJ
's have also allowed DL
to add service to a lot of new markets...in the next two months DL
will start service to SGF, HVN, CMI, EUG
The downside is that RJ
's have a very high CASM and do not compete well with LCC's. DL
has lost a lot of marketshare trying to compete with against LCC's with RJ
's have also driven away many of DL
's previously loyal customers...lack of F class upgrades and generally poor service has been a major problem. Plus, the reduced feed by RJ
's can hurt the remaining mainline flights making it harder to fill DL
's large domestic widebody fleet.
goes BK (and even if they don't), there's a good chance DL
will eventually sell either ASA or Comair to raise cash. Also, if DL
goes BK, look for DL
to abandon the ACA
contract as fast as possible. Right now, Comair and ASA are limited to 57 CRJ700's by the DL
pilots mainline contract. However, in BK I would expect DL
to push to get more CRJ700's for ASA/Comair and possibly attempt to get a 90 seater for ASA/Comair. Of course, DALPA would (and rightfully so in my opinion) fight against this.