Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today said Delta Air Lines' string of broken promises is continuing with yet another announcement by the airlines to cut more flights at Memphis International Airport (MEM), taking effect in September. Delta plans to reduce its daily departures at MEM from 94 to 60. Last year, Delta announced it would no longer continue summer service of the Memphis to Amsterdam flight.
"I am extremely disappointed and disheartened by Delta's decision to cut more flights," said Congressman Cohen. "In 2008, Delta CEO Richard Anderson said in a Congressional hearing that the Delta/Northwest merger would not impact flights in and out of Memphis and even hinted at the addition of a possible Paris flight. He said that the merger was about addition, not subtraction. Now we are no longer a hub, have zero regular international flights, and have only 60 domestic flights on Delta. This decision by Delta puts the flying public at a disadvantage. I am also concerned for the employees who will lose their jobs and the concessioners who will suffer from decreased sales and possible closure."
In 2012, Congressman Cohen reached out to Delta Air Lines and requested a meeting with them to discuss their decision to eliminate the Amsterdam flight. Congressman Cohen also reached out to U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss the growing evidence that Delta is violating the promises made to the Department when seeking antitrust immunity for their merger.
As a member of both the Antitrust Task Force of the House Judiciary Committee and the Aviation Subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Congressman Cohen has exercised oversight over the 2008 merger of Delta and Northwest. When Congressman Cohen spoke with representatives from Northwest and Delta, they assured him that Memphis would lose neither jobs nor flights as a result of the merger, two promises that have been broken.
In June 2012, Congressman Cohen spoke to Attorney General Holder during a House Judiciary Committee about possible anti-competitive practices by Delta Air Lines in Memphis. The Congressman encouraged the Attorney General to examine Delta's inflated ticket prices in Memphis and possible monopolistic practices. The Congressman has also reached out to Southwest Airlines and JetBlue to encourage them to expand operations in Memphis which will increase competition and lower prices.