DANVILLE, VA. -- Financially troubled CCAIR Inc., the only airline serving Danville, wants to stop serving the city because company officials say they are losing money from their three daily flights here.

"We will protest it to make sure that we continue to have good airline service in Danville," said C.P. Rea, manager of Danville Regional Airport.

CCAIR, the Charlotte, N.C., commuter service known to passengers as USAir Express, has filed notice with the U.S. Department of Transportation that it intends to end service at Danville on March 15. The airline flies from Danville to Charlotte.

Rea said the community has until Jan. 3 to file a response.

Federal officials will review the notice and the protest and decide whether to keep CCAIR in Danville or to look for a new carrier.

CCAIR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, reporting $29.4 million in assets and $22.4 million in debts.

Also, USAir tried to sever its relations with the carrier in mid-October. USAir claimed the commuter airline had a completion rate as low as about 88 percent in September. CCAIR's agreement with USAir called for a flight completion rate of 96 percent each month.

Gary Garofalo, a Washington lawyer who represents the airline in regulatory matters, said the lack of profit was the reason for the carrier's attempt to pull out of Danville.

"It doesn't mean that the service will be automatically terminated on the 90th day," Garofalo said, "but it is an indication that CCAIR is losing significant monies over that route, despite the fact that it is subsidized."

Danville's airport is considered an essential air service location, which means the Transportation Department is to ensure that it is served by a commercial carrier.

The department can require CCAIR to remain in Danville until another company agrees to come in.