The people at Aberdeen Regional Airport who worked for Regional Elite now have a new employer — Delta Global Services.
Like Regional Elite, Delta Global Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. But Regional Elite won't be around much longer, so the employees are shifting over to Delta Global Services.
Because Delta Airlines had two handling companies, “it just made more economic sense to have one,” said Kristin Baur, who works in corporate communications for Delta Air Lines.
Regional Elite will wind down its operations by the end of the year. The change to Delta Global Services, or DGS, is being phased in market by market, Baur said. It has already occurred in Aberdeen.
Delta Air Lines and DGS are based in Atlanta. DGS employees are “under the Delta umbrella, but they're not technically Delta employees,” Baur said. Regional Elite Airline Services was headquartered in Minneapolis.
Commercial air service to Aberdeen is still provided by SkyWest Airlines, a Delta Connections partner. The pilots and flight attendants on the jets serving Aberdeen work for SkyWest.
DGS employees at the Aberdeen airport provide baggage service and staff the ticket counter. During wintry weather, they also handle deicing operations.
DGS employees are told not to speak to the media. But Bob King, airport maintenance foreman at Aberdeen Regional Airport, said there's a good reason why passengers are told to arrive an hour before their flight takes off. The people who work the ticket counter also handle baggage, so the ticket counter has to close before and after a flight arrives.
DGS employees don't always live in Aberdeen. During peak seasons, DGS employees from other cities sometimes do temporary tours of duty in cities “where we might need some additional operational support,” Baur said.
During the early part of pheasant hunting season, DGS brought in two employees from Miami to help out for about a month, said Aberdeen transportation manager Mike Wilson.
Wilson estimates that there are about 10 DGS employees at the airport. Some are fulltime and some are parttime, Wilson said.
Baur was asked if salaries were reduced as part of the change from Regional Elite to DGS.
She said she didn't didn't know the specifics but said that salaries paid by DGS are consistent with other ground handling companies.