How Delta rolls

In an article to be published in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal Constitution, two reporters look at a threat Delta Airlines has made to move traffic out of its giant Atlanta hub.

The newspaper says Delta threatened to move flights — and jobs — out of Atlanta in a dispute with the agency that manages the airport there. Delta is trying to replace a 30-year master lease that expires next year.

Most of the “experts” surveyed said it’s a bluff. But who wants to call the airline on a bluff? Not officials in Minnesota, who have been looking at a reworked agreement between Delta, which has taken over Northwest Airlines, and the Metropolitan Airports Commission. MAC meets Monday to consider the deal to rework payment of bonds to Northwest.

Last week, legislators at the Capitol were briefed on the deal, in which Delta agrees to keep 10,000 jobs in Minnesota through the middle of the next decade.

Many legislators don’t like the agreement, but there’s not much to be done about it. Earlier this month, threatened with being held to a timetable to repay the bonds if it closed Northwest’s headquarters in the state, Delta CEO Richard Anderson made a threat that wasn’t very veiled. According to a Star Tribune report:

“We could easily pay back the $245 million note to the bondholders and not make any firm [legal] commitments” in Minnesota, Delta CEO Richard Anderson said in a Thursday message to employees. But he added that “we’re committed to Minnesota, we’re committed to the Minneapolis hub,” so Anderson said he wants the MAC agreement to be approved at the Jan. 26 commission meeting.

It will be.

  • Eric P

    The whole Delta/Northwest deal, in my opinion, was ill-conceived. They merged because they lacked foresight in regards to many issues that are associated with running a successful business.

    Anderson and Steenland both ran their companies into the ground, and now the combined airline, now the largest in the U.S., is trying to throw their weight around as if they call the shots. Delta isn’t committed to any airport but Atlanta and their original hubs. Minneapolis-St. Paul is, for all intents and purposes, going to be wiped off the international map thanks to this deal.

    They’ve already stated they plan on routing all their Asia routes through Detroit, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City. Minneapolis will end up being a regional hub for domestic flights…just watch. All that money the MAC spent on new runways and airport improvements will be flushed down the toilet thanks to Delta.