Delta/Northwest merger could cost Memphis hub status - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Delta/Northwest merger could cost Memphis hub status

If Delta buys Northwest Airlines, people are worried the Memphis International Airport will lose it's hub status.
"The reason we have as many flights and as many nonstop destinations is the power of the hub," airport authority president Larry Cox said.

The airport would lose direct international flights and the link to economic development.

 That would hurt business owners. Especially business owners like Phillip McLeod of Poodles by McLeod.

"It's gonna hurt Memphis bad," McLeod said.

He said he might have to find another business if Delta takes over.

"There are only two airlines in this area that will transport puppies and Northwest is our biggest flier," McLeod said.

He is worried about Delta's hub in Atlanta.

"We may have to quit shipping them.  We have shipped them through Atlanta and they've gotten lost, misplaced, mishandled," McLeod said.

Merger rumors have been swirling since Northwest went bankrupt.

Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority President Larry Cox said it could effect costs.

"When there's less supply of airline seats then that gives the airlines greater ability to raise prices," Cox said.

Cox said when this has happened in other cities, they may have lost their hub, but more low fare carriers moved in lowering the cost to fly and increasing the number of flights in their cities.

"Memphis is a strong market and they make money here.  So, what they could do is reduce the size of the hub or become a focus city, but they're not going to just abandon Memphis," Cox said.

For now it is all talk, and Northwest has made no definite plans.

Click here to e-mail Kontji Anthony.

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