[AP & The Washington Post] A thriving airport can sustain or throttle a city. Which is why many Memphis business leaders got nervous when, in March 2011, Delta Air Lines announced that it would cut 25 percent of its service in and out of Memphis International Airport.

Business leaders got nervous when Delta Air Lines announced it would cut 25% of services in and out of Memphis International Airport.

Business leaders got nervous when Delta Air Lines announced it would cut 25% of services in and out of Memphis International Airport

The airport had once served as a major hub for Northwest Airlines. But a few years after Delta had bought Northwest, the Memphis hub was pared back as a cost-saving measure. Tom Jones, a columnist for Memphis magazine, has been chronicling the damage to the city ever since. It now costs Memphis residents $750 to fly to Cincinnati and $900 to Austin. Businesses and law firms are relocating out of the city because they can’t afford the flights. The annual Folk Alliance music festival is shifting to Kansas City in 2014 to avoid airport hassles.

“It’s ironic that in a city where FedEx invented the modern-day model for global commerce, our citizens are being priced out of the world economy,” Jones said Tuesday.

Jones was speaking at a New America Foundation panel discussion titled “Is It Time to Re-Regulate America’s Broken Airline System?” The event was based off a recent article in Washington Monthly by Philip Longman and Lina Khan arguing that more and more cities such as Memphis are finding themselves isolated as airlines consolidate and cut less-profitable routes. Cities like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Memphis, St. Louis and Minneapolis “are increasingly cut off from each other and from the global economy.” And it’s not obvious what can be done about it.

One major question, said Josh Marks of the American Aviation Institute, is whether …..

Read the fascinating  article in full at ‘The Washington Post’…..


Posted by Brad Plumer
24th April  2012 – The Washington Post


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