'Today' Ignores Necessity of Airline Merger
Sometimes the media lose sight of the fact that businesses exist to make money and have to protect the bottom line.
Minneapolis-based Northwest Airlines (NYSE:NWA), is negotiating a merger deal with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), which could be a win-win situation for both companies. But NBCâs âTodayâ didnât look at it from that standpoint. Instead, the February 15 segment focused on how a merger could negatively affect consumers and employees, while ignoring the possibility that the survival of both airlines may hinge on this merger.
âBut airline mergers have traditionally meant job losses, especially in the airlinesâ hub cities, as well as fewer flight options for passengers in smaller cities and higher ticket prices,â NBC correspondent Tom Costello said. âIn
âTodayâ interviewed a traveler in
Both Delta and Northwest filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005. Delta emerged from bankruptcy in April 2007 and Northwest a month later. Higher jet fuel costs and excess capacity have plagued the airlines over the past decade. A merger could help offset some of these concerns.
The segment didnât include a spokesman from either airline, but instead interviewed a Democratic politician who is opposed to the merger.
âCompetition is what is keeping prices reasonable today,â Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) said. âIf you eliminate competition, the fewer airlines you have the fewer choices people have.â
Neither âTodayâ nor the congressman mentioned the impact of one of the airlines going completely out of business if a merger is blocked. Liquidation was narrowly avoided by Northwest after it filed for bankruptcy in 2005 according to USA Todayâs âToday in the Skyâ airline blog.
âTodayâ only included one supporter of the proposed merger who thought it could be a âperfect marriageâ according to Tom Costello. But the NBC correspondent undermined airline travel consultant Terry Tripplerâs remarks with the rest of his report.
In August 2007, NBCâs Costello attacked American Airlines (NYSE:AMR) for its on-time record and held it up to Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) on-time record because the two airlines share hub cities, even though they operate with two completely different business models.