News Article - November 16, 2007

  Philadelphia - Delta Airlines Thursday moved its operations here across Philadelphia International Airport, shifting ticket counters, baggage claim areas and gates from Terminal E to Terminal A-East. Delta is trading four gates in the former terminal for three gates in the latter terminal, but will have space inside a security checkpoint for a special membership lounge. "Everything went smoothly," Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott said. "We've moved as a cost-saving measure to even further improve the efficiency of our operations."

   The move capped weeks of tension between the city, Delta and US Airways, which had strongly objected to Delta's move. US Airways had tried for months to block the move, arguing it would cause a drastic shortage of gates at the terminal (Terminal A-East is one of only two that can easily accommodate international flights because of its access to federal immigration facilities). Last week, US Airways went so far as to threaten to cancel its plans for direct flights between Philadelphia and China unless Delta was kept at bay. But in the face of searing public outrage and a request from Mayor-elect Michael Nutter, US Airways executives backed away from the threat.

   "Mayor-elect Nutter has asked us to 'refrain from taking action' until he and his staff have time to study the gate issue, and we will honor that request," US Airways spokeswoman Valerie Wunder said in a statement Thursday. "We have told Mayor-elect Nutter that we won't make any decisions in the short-term about our China application or other potential changes in service until he and his team have an opportunity to evaluate options that would meet the dual goals of expanded domestic gate capacity for new domestic service and dedicated gates to allow US [Airways] to jointly grow [the airport] as an international hub," she said.

Source - The Bulletin