Delta begins shuttle service tomorrow Only name changes from Pan Am days

August 31, 1991|By Timothy J. Mullaney

The planes will be the same, the fares will be the same, and even the schedule will be the same when Delta Air Lines Inc. takes over the Pan Am shuttle tomorrow, the company said.

The deal under which the shuttle and other Pan Am assets were sold to Atlanta-based Delta changed the face of financially troubled Pan Am, but it won't change the shuttle service much, Delta said.

"Our research indicates that the Pan Am shuttle is a top-notch RTC operation, and we don't plan any significant changes when it becomes the Delta shuttle on Sunday," Ronald W. Allen, Delta's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

The shuttle business between Boston, New York and Washington is a lucrative one, but the airlines that have dominated it have been plagued by problems elsewhere in their businesses.

The Pan Am shuttle, one of the airline's few profitable businesses, has a 55 percent market share, but Pan Am's problems in its international business forced the company to sell the shuttle.

Eastern Airlines, which has ceased operations, sold the other major Northeast shuttle airline to Donald Trump in 1988.

Mr. Trump, in turn, has been hampered by high debt service on the airline and by problems in his real estate development interests. He is considering selling the Trump Shuttle to NWA Corp., parent of Northwest Airlines.

Robert Harper, a Delta spokesman, said that the Delta shuttle will continue to fly every hour on the half hour to New York from National Airport in Washington. But he said that Baltimore-area travelers aren't going to get a Delta shuttle of their own soon.

"We have to digest this," he said.

Mr. Harper said that Washington-New York fares will remain $142 each way.

Along with the shuttle, Delta bought the leases on planes that Pan Am used on the shuttle routes, enabling the new owner to use the same Boeing 727s Pan Am did, Mr. Harper said.

Delta, which also bought Pan Am routes to cities in Europe, India and the Middle East, plans to begin flying those routes Nov. 1. More than 6,000 Pan Am employees will move to Delta.

Mr. Harper said that Pan Am will stay in business, based in Miami and focused on its Latin American service.

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