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Comair president resigns

Decision follows Christmas woes

CINCINNATI -- The president of Delta subsidiary Comair Inc. resigned yesterday, just weeks after the failure of an overloaded computer system stranded hundreds of customers on Christmas.

An internal Delta Air Lines memo said Randy Rademacher had stepped down to pursue unspecified opportunities. Asked whether Rademacher was pressured to leave, Comair spokesman Nick Miller said: ''It was his personal decision. We don't want to speculate on his reasons."

A telephone message seeking comment from Rademacher was not immediately returned.

Rademacher was immediately replaced by Fred Buttrell, who has been serving as head of Delta's Delta Connection group, which works with the airline's regional carriers.

Comair, which is based at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport, is owned by Delta.

At least one analyst blamed Rademacher's departure on the Christmas fiasco, which resulted in the cancellation of approximately 1,100 flights. The company blamed numerous passenger scheduling changes because of an ice storm for overloading the computer system.

''It's pretty obvious what happened over the holiday was very serious," said Doug Abbey, a partner of The Velocity Group, an aviation consulting firm in Washington. ''That's what this is all about."

Comair, which operates in 119 cities, carries about 30,000 passengers daily in the United States, mostly east of the Mississippi River, and to Canada and the Bahamas.

Its Christmas meltdown came during the same weekend that financially plagued US Airways Group experienced similar service disruptions because of labor issues and bad weather.

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