On Thursday, April 30, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation urging to Joel, Szabat Assistant Secretary of Aviation and Internal Affairs, to express concern over Delta Airlines request seeking exemption from minimum service obligations for Capital Region International Airport (LAN).
Below is the letter:
Assistant Secretary Szbat,
On behalf of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce and more than 1,100 business members, I am writing to express concern over Delta Airlines request seeking exemption from minimum service obligations for Capital Region International Airport (LAN). Collectively, our businesses have annual travel budgets well in excess of $100 million and rely heavily on service to and from LAN. Delta Airlines serves as the primary carrier for LAN which serves the entire mid-Michigan area. We believe granting this request would harm our regional economy as we seek to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
LAN plays a vital role in our regional economy, particularly when it comes to serving as a gateway in moving passengers and cargo around the world. Our business community depends on the easy access to our local airport to provide convenient, reliable connections to over 500 global destinations. Spending an extra hour or more on the road to travel from another airport is a significant inconvenience from both a time and financial standpoint.
LAN has been doing its part to continue to provide reliable service to our region during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite having to cut costs significantly, LAN still maintains the highest level of security and safety for its passengers, staff and airline employees. As an acknowledgement of the vital role LAN plays, the federal government has determined that LAN is eligible for $10.3 million in funds through the CARES Act.
Delta Airlines is also in line to receive CARES funding, which requires the airline to meet minimum services standards. Eliminating service in LAN, Michigan’s state capital, would not meet those standards.
While non-essential travel is currently not allowed in our state, essential personnel and supplies are moving in an out of our region, thanks in large part to Capital Region International Airport. It is critical we have services available to move essential personnel who must travel, and to move essential products, such as face masks for health care workers.
Additionally, as we begin to relaunch our economy in the next few weeks, service at LAN is needed to meet increasing passenger and cargo demands. As such, Delta Airlines must continue service to our region’s airport.
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce respectfully requests USDOT deny Delta Airline’s request for an exemption from minimum service obligations.
Thank you for considering our position.
Tim Daman, President & CEO, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce