I hate to get into politics, but there is an aviation-linked story that is just too amazing to skip: the Delta NRA spat. You see, Delta Airlines posted last week that it would no longer honor NRA discounts. Gary Leff reported that Delta was starting to “walk back” it’s anti-NRA stance.
Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor made a threat:
Did Delta’s NRA Stance hurt them?
I’m not one for making such an argument, but the media is certainly making a quick connection of the Delta NRA argument. On 1 March, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal was prepared to sign a tax bill that lacked relief for a jet fuel tax for Delta Airlines. It’s important to note that Delta Airlines is headquartered in Georgia, and is a kind of a big employer.
Could the NRA break Delta’s Atlanta Fortress Hub?
For the uninitiated, a Fortress hub exists when an airline controls the majority of the market. I used to think that there was no greater example than Delta and Atlanta, though for some reason, American Airlines seems to win the news, with its hub in Charlotte. But American is not the story here. Rather, Delta is. Delta has its Headquarters and largest hub in Atlanta. It further has hubs in Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York’s LaGuardia and JFK, Salt Lake City, LAX, and the often talked about Seattle-Tacoma. If I were to brew that down, I’d say Delta’s biggest impacts would be Atlanta, Detroit, and Minneapolis. Atlanta Airport, Delta’s primary hub–and where its headquarters is located–is largely viewed as the world’s busiest airport.
While I would admit that this is pure speculation, I would ask: Could Georgia’s political decisions over the Delta NRA argument cause the carrier to change their overall strategies?
Lets consider some of the recent issues that Delta has faced:
- Delta experienced cancellations in Atlanta in December due to a power outage.
- Delta had a similar Power Outage Issue in August, 2016.
- Atlanta also experienced a variety of ice storms over the past few years.
I’m not going to assert that the Delta NRA spat will cause the company to move its Headquarters or shift focus from its Atlanta hub. But, I’d argue this current situation could be a reason for Delta to open the aperture so to speak, and look at what other options they have. There are many cities and states that would love to get Delta’s headquarters. Just look at how Amazon’s second headquarters is getting so much press.
I’ll finish with this:
Is this current issue the thing that breaks the Delta Atlanta Fortress Hub?