Why Is Delta Afraid?

Indeed.  Or, it’s just an abuse of market power?

Paulding County, GA, has an airport, Silver Comet Field, and Paulding wants to have a small air line operate all of four or five flights per day out of it.  Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is 40 miles away, has five runways, 203 gates, and a 46 million passenger-per-year throughput.  Delta Airlines, which uses Hartsfield for its hub, is feeling so threatened by this dinky little airport that it’s doing everything it can to stifle Paulding’s “competition.”

Holden Shannon, a “senior executive” for Delta put an op-ed into the Atlanta Journal-Constitution worrying, with no irony, that

a second airport can quickly expand, and the impact on Hartsfield-Jackson would be significant.

This, though, is sort of the nature of free competition.  Is this what Delta fears?

Shannon also said competition from Paulding would “threaten Atlanta’s economy.”  But the only form the competition would take would be from price competition, making consumers better off.  Is Delta really so fragile that one more, dinky, entrant into the market will push it over the edge?  Is Delta that badly run?  Is that what Delta fears?

He also complained to the Paulding County Commission Chairman, bellyaching that Silver Comet Field’s plans supposedly were hatched in secrecy.  But he chose not to explain why a business is obligated to form its plans in full view of its competitors.

Shannon isn’t the only Delta executive with his knickers bunched, either.  Richard Anderson, Delta’s CEO, told the AJC that the planned commercial operation would be “an economic and community failure.”  Never mind that that’s not Anderson’s call—that’s for the market and the community to decide.  Is this what Delta fears—that the market will decide in favor of competition?


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