Air Transport World

Ransome prospers with Delta connection.

Philadelphia--In 1982, J. Dawson Ransome was dissatisfied with Ransome Airlines' lack of growth during the preceding three years under its pioneering marketing franchise, the Allegheny Commuter. Today, Ransome, the person, couldn't be happier; similarly, Ransome, the Delta Connection airline, couldn't be healthier. Company executives attribute the current prosperity to the carrier's venturesome withdrawal from the Allegheny Commuter network and its bold foray into the unprotected world of post-deregulation airline competition. (ATW, 5/82).

Leaving the nest

After 12 years of operating nearly competition-free and almost anonymously under USAir's benevolent wing, Ransome didn't tackle the change without plenty of advance thinking. "The time had come, and the opportunity would never be better," Dawson Ransome said, reflecting on the upheaval of the years between the onset of deregulation in 1978 and the 1981 strike of the Professional Air Traffic Controller Organization.

New markets were opening up, markets Ransome couldn't enter without USAir's permission. Understandably, all the Allegheny Commuter franchise holders pressed USAir for permission to move into some of these markets, creating the airline equivalent of sibling rivalry. Meanwhile, PATCO's action led FAA to impose slot restrictions that practically precluded new carriers from entering major hubs.

In mid-1982, Ransome found a more liberal benefactor in the corporate persona of Delta Air Lines, which provided contract services covering ground handling and reservations. At first, the mutual-admiration basis of this new relationship lacked the formality and restrictive nature of its predecessor. …

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