Fewer Delta flights to and from Ithaca, but only temporarily

The regional carrier that provides Delta Air Lines flights in and out of the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport has eliminated two flights from its daily schedule to catch up on aircraft maintenance. Airport officials say the change is temporary.

Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. 14850 file photo.

Airport director Mike Hall says Skywest Airlines, which operates Delta Connection regional flights for Ithaca and other airports in the northeast, “has experienced dispatch reliability issues, related to deferred maintenance.”

“To catch up, they are keeping more aircraft overnight at their Detroit maintenance base.” As a result, the late-night flight from Detroit to Ithaca, and the early-morning flight from Ithaca to Detroit, have been removed from the schedule. Hall says the change is likely to last through “the fourth quarter of 2017, with resumption of full service expected early in the new year.”

Travelers with reservations on affected flights should hear from the airline soon, if they haven’t already, with rebooking options. Delta contracts with regional carriers like Skywest to get passengers from smaller airports to its hubs for connections to “mainline” flights. The “Delta Connection” brand name represents several regional airlines.

Airport officials say Skywest’s decision to keep planes at maintenance facilities overnight to allow them to catch up on overdue maintenance is affecting more airports than just Ithaca. “We regret the inconvenience this causes our loyal Delta travelers,” Hall says.

The news comes in the wake of United’s regional carrier replacing the airport’s last remaining turboprop service with regional jets for its flights between Ithaca and Newark.

The Delta service change will begin in October, Hall says, with the last flight in and first flight out each day dropped from the schedule. “The aircraft making up that service will remain overnight in DTW for maintenance, rather than spending the night on the ramp in Ithaca.”

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