You may (or likely may not) remember about 16 months ago we shared the story of how Delta was launching Pittsburgh to Paris flights. At the time we wondered how Delta could possibly make Pittsburgh – Paris work when at the same time Northwest, with its huge hub at Detroit, had canceled its Detroit – Paris flights. The answer? They took a great deal of money from the State of Pennsylvania and a Pittsburgh-area development agency (a “great deal of money” = $5 million). The two groups guaranteed Delta that they would hit certain targets and, due to the economy and the utter ridiculousness of the flight, they will pay the carrier upwards of $5 million.
If you were wondering, Delta has run a 68% load factor, which isn’t terrible, but isn’t great. The issue, really, has been with average fares, which were projected to be $582 each way, but only hit $413. You can do the math on all that, but the short answer is that had the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and State of Pennsylvania listened to us, they wouldn’t be out $5 million.