Delta Air Lines announced last week that it “can no longer afford” to continue service at 24 small airports. The carrier says it is losing a total of $14 million a year on flights from small airport such as Thief River Falls, a city of 8,600 in northwest Minnesota that operates with only 12% full. The underperforming routes identified by Delta include those where it receives almost $200 million in federal subsidies to maintain air service under the Essential Air Service program. The subsidies are scheduled to expire in 2013 and unless they are revived and increased by Congress, Delta

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