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Regional Elite Airline Services, a Delta Air Lines subsidiary which provides airport services for regional carriers, is shutting down and will eliminate 63 jobs at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport by year's end.
The Minneapolis-based company notified the state Department of Labor that the layoffs will occur over a 14-day period starting Dec. 4. Similarly, the company will lay off 51 workers at the Greater Rochester International Airport over a two-week period beginning Dec. 11.
Regional Elite in early August notified employees that the company would close by the end of this year. Media reports said the company employed more than 4,500 people at 94 airports, and that the shutdown was the result of high overhead costs and loss of contracts to competitors. The workers are not unionized.
In an August message to employees, Don Stephens, a Regional Elite executive, said in such transitions, "it is very common for the new provider to need most, if not all, of the skilled professionals currently working in a station. Our goal is to help preserve as many jobs as possible during this transition, and severance or retention packages, as applicable, will be available for everyone."
But it was not clear what the Buffalo and Rochester workers' job status would be after Regional Elite closes. A Regional Elite official and Delta did not return calls to comment, and Leo Rosales, a state Labor Department spokesman, said he could not provide any additional information.
The workers provide customer service and ground-handling services for Delta at the Buffalo airport, said C. Douglas Hartmayer, a spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which operates the airport. "Those services will continue to be provided," he said.
But Hartmayer said he did not know whether those services would be provided by the workers currently employed by Regional Elite, after the change in providers occurs.
Though Regional Elite is a Delta subsidiary, established in 2009, it still competed against other providers for contracts with the airline.

mglynn@buffnews.com