Update: After KLTV 7 News published this story Wednesday morning, Northwest Airlines released a statement to us. The complete text is below.
The Business Travel Coalition, a consumer advocacy group for the travel industry, today released a state-by-state list of both large and regional airports that they believe are most likely to be negatively impacted because of the current sluggish economy and high fuel prices. Although Longview's East Texas Regional Airport didn't make the list, both Tyler Pounds Regional Airport and Shreveport Regional Airport did.
Other Texas cities listed as having airports at risk include El Paso, Lubbock, Abilene, Amarillo, Beaumont/Port Arthur, Brownsville, Bryan/College Station, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Killeen, Laredo, McAllen, Midland, Waco, and Witchita Falls.
Below is the Coalition's press release from this morning.
firstname.lastname@example.org / Cathryn Khalil
The skyrocketing price of aviation fuel will have devastating implications far beyond new surcharges for checked bags and in-flight beverage services according to a new study prepared by the Business Travel Coalition (BTC). Not only are U.S. airlines and their passengers facing their darkest future, but fast-approaching airline liquidations will cripple the U.S. economy that depends on affordable, frequent intercity air transportation.
Massive job losses, supply chain disruption, declining business activity, shrinking tax revenues, weakened American competitiveness, devastated communities, and reduced tourism are just some of the predictable results from airline liquidations that could happen as early as the second half of 2008 as a direct result of unsustainable fuel prices.
The paper, "Beyond the Airlines' $2 Can of Coke:
Catastrophic Impact on the U.S. Economy from Oilprice
Trauma in the Airline Industry
," expands on the analysis released on June 13, 2008 by AirlineForecasts, LLC and BTC and points to the real news about the airlines' fuel problems: how multiple liquidations at legacy U.S. airlines - now a serious possibility - would have a wide-ranging impact on many facets of the U.S. economy. The report will be presented and discussed during a U.S. House Small Business Committee hearing scheduled by Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) for Thursday, June 26.
"The airline industry stimulates so much economic activity - much more than many people currently understand," said BTC Chairman Kevin Mitchell. "Airline networks are an integral part of the transport grid that supports the U.S. economy, and without immediate action to bring down fuel costs, we face the economic equivalent of a major blackout later this year or early next. Unlike in a blackout, however, the cabin lights may never come back on for many U.S. airlines." "The runaway price of oil is seriously hurting working families at every level, and as the airline fuel crisis intensifies, the risk of major job losses in all travel and tourism sectors and in other airline-dependent industries increases as well," stated Jean McDonnell Covelli, BTC member and President of The Travel Team, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Rich Products Corporation. "As a matter of highest priority, elected officials must focus on devising an energy policy that will keep Americans productively traveling and working."
According to the paper, "Airlines move people, but also high-value, time-sensitive or perishable cargo. Failure of one large airline would disrupt the travel of 200,000 to 300,000 passengers per day and thousands of tons of goods. The almost-full planes of remaining airlines would not be able to absorb much of these volumes. Failure of multiple airlines would paralyze the country and our American way of life, leaving us less productive, more isolated, less happy and more vulnerable."
The paper points to nine specific impacts of a collapse of the industry: