Comair to Get Bigger Planes; Offer First-Class

CINCINNATI (AP) - Comair, which emerged from bankruptcy three weeks ago with parent Delta Air Lines Inc., said Thursday that it will get 14 new 76-seat aircraft that will replace 50-seaters and also offer first-class cabins for the first time in the regional carrier's 30-year history.

"This is very big news for us. We're very excited to have this growth opportunity," Comair president Don Bornhorst said in an interview. "We've gone through the heavy lifting that is restructuring. It kind of confirms in our mind that we have turned the page in a very difficult chapter in our history."

The planes are Comair's first new order in three years and first major development since coming out of bankruptcy April 30 following nearly two years of cutbacks that included $33 million in employee concessions. Comair employees were learning of the new planes Thursday afternoon at nearby Erlanger, Ky., the company's headquarters.

Comair's fleet will get 14 Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft starting in August. The 76-seat planes will include 12 first-class seats; Delta and Comair officials still are deciding where the planes will fly but said they will likely be routes heavily used by business travelers in Cincinnati and the Northeast.