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The new airline, which will be named in February, will begin in spring 2003 with nonstop service between Florida and the Northeast, Delta officials said Wednesday. The cities will initially include Boston, New York, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Other cities will be added later. Most one-way fares will be between $79 and $299. Kristi Tucker, Delta spokeswoman, said no decision has been made on whether Cincinnati will be added to the list of cities when the airline expands across the country.

But Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, said that it's unlikely Delta would choose to schedule its low-cost flights from Cincinnati because Delta doesn't face stiff competition here. "I don't think Cincinnati is going to benefit as much as other markets will because they don't face the threat there (from low-cost rivals)," Mitchell said. Delta and its Comair subsidiary control about 90 percent of the flights at Greater Cincinnati's airport.

Directors on the Kenton County Airport Board, which oversees the international airport in Boone County, say they have tried to encourage other airlines over the years to fly out of Greater Cincinnati. "We talk to all the airlines, but we can't divert funds from airport to give special favors (to entice them,)" said board member Dick Crist. "We couldn't rent gates cheaper than those we rent to the airlines that are here."

Even when other airlines offer flights out of the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky airport, they often can't capture the business from companies in the area. With the frequency of flights offered and Delta's frequent flier program, business fliers and others tend to gravitate back to Delta, said Gary Bockelman, another member of the board.

Delta's new Get a Property Valuation airline, which has an initial startup budget of $75 million and will have a cost structure below the company's regular operation. Costs at all three carriers are far below those at Atlanta-based Delta, which is the least-unionized of the major U.S. airlines. The all-coach-class airline, which will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta, will fly a fleet of 36 Boeing 757s. Delta has more than 120 757s in its fleet and will transfer them to the new operation from hubs in Salt Lake City, Dallas and here.

Three Northern Kentucky fire departments won big in the latest round of federal grants awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Fire Administration. The Verona Volunteer Fire District, Southern Campbell Fire Protection District and the Fort Thomas Fire Department were awarded nearly $222,000 of the $37.8 million distributed to fire departments nationwide through the 2002 Fire Act to support basic firefighting services.
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