Northwest is delaying a $5.5 million payment to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport that is due this month. It is also considering delays in payments to other airports. If NW doesn't pay MSP for the remainder of the year, MSP is out $43 million of its $155 million annual operating budget.
I ran this topic the week of the WTC tragedies: the airlines getting bailout money doesn't do a thing if the airports don't get paid, or some sort of financial assistance. To put it another way, if the airport operator doesn't get his money, the airport can't be safely, consequently legally, operated, and, bingo, no more airline service. It's the "trickle-down" theory put into practice.
Tom in NO (at MSY)
PS: For those unfamiliar with airport finance, an airport receives all of its operating income from airlines landing fees, space rental, concessions, parking lots, etc. Airports, by law, cannot receive taxpayer money. In other words, as the airlines, etc, go, so do we.
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina