RALPH REDMOND: Delta Was Great? Why Sue It?
The Pilot's headline read: "Airport Aims Suit at Delta." Why? Apparently over a $700,000 invoice it received from Delta Airlines.
What justification does the Airport Authority (AA) give for this lawsuit? The AA's suit details Delta's scheduling errors, cancellations, flight delays, baggage that was consistently lost, and difficulty making reservations through Delta's phone and Web site connections.
The AA's complaint is nothing more than a laundry list of airline customer complaints for as far back as I can remember. Where has the AA been hiding? Have they been on the "yellow brick road" too long?
But wait. I seem to recall the Airport Authority, The Pilot, The Chamber, The Convention & Visitors' Bureau, and Partners for Progress and others in high places all praising, promoting, and encouraging us to utilize our local airport and Delta Air Lines. I believe these promotions continued for about two years. The above organizations are either comprised of slow learners or they don't give a hoot about the audience they were attempting to capture! Were any of them up to the task? How could they have been?
Then I learned that the contract between AA and Delta stipulated the AA would reimburse Delta if the airline lost money while providing service to Southern Pines. If they would guarantee me against losses, I could put together a group.
To make matters worse, the AA and others listed above appear to have been co-conspirators in misrepresenting Delta's service to the public. Why wasn't the public given the truth? Whom did these entities truly represent? Surely not the citizens of Moore County or our visitors!
Why did the above-mentioned agencies/organizations feel the necessity to misrepresent Delta's service, convenience, reliability, etc? The entire group may be culpable for what I perceive as a fraud having been perpetrated on the public and the visitors they were trying to entice into traveling via Delta out of Southern Pines.
The Airport Authority got caught up in its own devious misbehavior. Why didn't we know that Delta had a no-loss clause? Did the Moore County Board of Commissioners know?
When this article appeared, I called Cary McSwain, county manager, and notified him that the AA had initiated a lawsuit against Delta. I asked if he or the commissioners had been so advised. He was not aware of the lawsuit. I also asked if he or the commissioners were aware of the guarantee Delta had with the AA against any losses. He would have to check. If the commissioners were not aware of this, they should remove each and every member of the AA post-haste. The AA is "self-sustaining," but their fall-back, I believe, is the county and -- yes -- the taxpayers!
I'd like to see these groups quit "toasting" one another on their mutual brilliance and start leveling with the public. On behalf of all passengers having flown Delta, in and out of Moore County, someone should file a class action suit against the AA and all others who felt the urge for being deceptive and the need for wildly exaggerating Delta's service. The AA has already admitted its negligence and guilt to the press in supporting a supplier who was not performing.
Pay the damn bill and admit to your incompetence.
Ralph Redmond lives in Pinehurst. You can contact him at email@example.com.
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