Monday, January 13, 2014

Delta Airline To Fight Atlanta Area Airport From Having Four (Count‘em, Four) Commercial Flights

Delta Has an Atlanta Monopoly – And Acts Like One

Airline Deregulation – Another in a Long List of Deregulation Failures

A small airport outside of Atlanta is considering offering a very limited commercial air service.  Now in the United States, supposedly the home of free enterprise, this should be an inalienable right, right.  But Delta Airline is fighting the move, big time.

Silver Comet Field hopes to handle up to four commercial flights a day at its one-gate terminal, pictured, about 30 miles from downtown Atlanta. Cameron McWhirter/The Wall Street Journal

Delta is saying little publicly about its effort, except for an Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion piece in which a senior executive said that "a second airport can quickly expand, and the impact on Hartsfield-Jackson would be significant."

The executive, Holden Shannon, said the airport has room for more airlines and warned that competition would threaten "Atlanta's economy."

The same executive sent a letter to the chairman of the Paulding County Commission, the airport's owner, alleging that Silver Comet's plans were hatched in secrecy, circumvented an environmental review and have put local taxpayers at risk.

Wow, competition threatens the economy!!  Who knew there were a bunch of Commies running one of America’s largest airlines.  Of course the real reason for the opposition is this.

Atlanta, the nation's 9th-largest metro area, is the only city in the top 10 that lacks a secondary commercial airport. Chicago has two airports in its city limits, and New York and Los Angeles each have five within 40 miles.

Atlanta has only Hartsfield, which handles 1,000 outbound flights daily for Delta. The carrier accounts for about 78% of the airport's passenger traffic.

Several decades ago the airline industry was de-regulated.  This was done, of course, with the promise that passengers and the public would benefit from competition.  Reality is that the airlines have slowly moved toward monopoly status, the most recent and probably not final action (Southwest and that Jet Blue airline merging soon?) being the merger of American and US Airways. Delta has 78% of the traffic at the world's largest airport?  How is that 'free enterprise'?

Americans are in love with de-rgulation.  Banking was largely de-regulated in the last 20 years.  How did that work out?  Oh the system nearly collapsed and would have collapsed without taxpayer intervention.  Electricity has been largely de-regulated.  That resulted in Enron, rolling blackouts in California and a lot of jail time. 

Business says it love free enterprise, but in truth it hates competition.  A competitive market is not a stable equilibrium.  Companies in a highly competitive market will act to change the market into a largely monopolistic one.  The only thing that stops this is government regulation, primarily in the form of anti-trust action.  The failure here of government is one of the rare instances where Democrats and Republicans alike are at blame.  Thanks go equally to Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush here.

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