(WMC-TV) – For the first time, a major player in the Memphis business community is sounding off about the Delta business strategy at Memphis International Airport.
A morning newspaper article was a wake-up call for Memphis City Councilman Lee Harris.
"When I read that article all I could think was, 'It's already a serious matter, now it's just gone to another level,'" said Harris.
International Paper is sounding off about Delta Airlines' reduction in flights and ticket prices.
In a statement to Action News Five, International Paper spokesperson Thomas Ryan said, "High priced airfare and limited routes both domestically and internationally impact our bottom line. It is a factor for our business. We have hundreds of our Memphis based employees flying out of MEM monthly."
"We're always trying to keep up our efforts to recruit businesses and so you take two steps forward and one step back and so it's kind of frustrating," said Councilman Harris.
International Paper told the Commercial Appeal the travel troubles run them out of Memphis.
"And so while they may not leave you know there is a serious consequence when these airfares are hitting their bottom line and inhibit their ability to grow right here in town," said Harris.
City leaders fear the high cost of travel may make Memphis-based companies think twice about expanding.
"You wouldn't expect that these prices would have to go up so dramatically but that seems to be Delta's strategy in Memphis and we've got to make them do something to see the light," explained Harris.
And there is another drawback.
"It's gonna hurt our chances of drawing new businesses to town," he said.
Harris is on board with the idea that bringing another airline to Memphis is the only way to make Delta more competitive in this market.