Delta Air Lines is selling its two Twin Cities-based regional carriers, Masaba and Compass airlines for $82.5 million.
Atlanta-based Delta said the move is part of a plan to to streamline regional operations and save money.
Mesaba Airlines' new owner will be Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines, which also serves as a regional carrier for Delta. Compass Airlines is being acquired by Trans States Holdings. Mesaba and Compass will continue to fly for Delta.
Airline industry consultant John Pincavage expects the deal won't make much difference to travelers.
"I don't think many people are going to even notice anything has changed," he said. They're not going to take them off their frequent flier program. Planes will still be painted in the Delta colors."
Pincavage said the deal has a lot of benefits for Delta.
"You pick up $80 some million for getting rid of them, and you get rid of a lot of obligations and potential costs and so on down the road, and you still get to keep the traffic," he said.
Pincavage said it can be cheaper for Delta to deal with Mesaba and Compass as independent companies rather than as subsidiaries.
Mesaba and Compass will keep their headquarters in the Twin Cities and retain their top executives.
In 2009, the two airlines carried about 5 million passengers to or from the Twin Cities airport.