Pinnacle Airlines will pull plug on its Memphis flight crew base
Jan 26, 2013 (Menafn - The Commercial Appeal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Pinnacle Airlines Corp. told 550 pilots and flight attendants Friday it's closing a Memphis flight crew base April 1.
It's a move to clean out the remnants of the regional airline's once-considerable presence in the Bluff City following Thursday's announcement that headquarters is moving to Minneapolis.
Pinnacle also said its Atlanta base, with 200 pilots and 180 flight attendants, will close in early May.
Pinnacle, which peaked about five years ago with 2,000 employees in Greater Memphis, will take an undetermined number of about 500 headquarters employees to Minnesota in May.
The Memphis flight crew base serves 330 pilots and 220 flight attendants, but company officials weren't sure how many actually live in the city.
"Flight crews may or may not live where they are based, and commuting is common in the airline industry as people and aircraft are shifted among bases around the country," spokesman Joe Williams said.
The flight crew members would likely wind up working out of bases such as New York-JFK, Detroit and Minneapolis.
The base closures are part of Pinnacle's plan for coming out of bankruptcy this spring as a slimmed-down, lower-cost airline, wholly owned by Delta Air Lines. Memphis ultimately became expendable because it's being de-emphasized in the Delta network and Delta already had vacant space suitable for headquarters and operations personnel at the Minnesota airport.
While Pinnacle says it has 500 employees at headquarters of less than two years in Downtown Memphis, Minneapolis airport officials have said they expect the move to bring about 200 executives, control center personnel and IT specialists. The company currently has 5,100 employees and 191 aircraft, but is in the midst of an ambitious cost-cutting program.
"As part of the approved plan to emerge from Chapter 11, we announced that the 16 CRJ-900s that we own and are based in Atlanta would be wound down by May 2013. We have factored that, along with a reduction in flights in Memphis, into a review of our crew base locations and decided to close the Atlanta and Memphis flight crew bases," Williams said.
Pinnacle is planning to emerge from bankruptcy with 81 aircraft and with plans to exclusively provide regional flights for Delta under the Delta Connection brand. At its height, Pinnacle operated nearly 300 aircraft and had about 7,700 employees spread around the country.
___ (c)2013 The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.) Visit The Commercial Appeal
(Memphis, Tenn.) at www.commercialappeal.com Distributed by MCT Information
Copyright (C) 2013, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.