Delta CEO: Ending NRA discount was attempt to be neutral

Howard TerryMar 06, 2018

Delta has helped make Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport the busiest airport in the world.

On Feb. 24, Delta rescinded a one-time group travel discount for the NRA's annual meeting, and asked NRA to remove the Delta name and logo from NRA's website.

Gov. Casey Cagle had threatened Delta in a tweet Monday. Deal's chief of staff Chris Riley confer in the senate before the senate went into recess and the Rules Committee stripped the Delta tax cut from legislation.

Delta is one of the state's largest employers. "One thing about the business community is that it has a very long memory".

Only 13 passengers used Delta's discount provided to NRA members before the airline pulled the rebate in an attempt to appear neutral on gun policy after a February 14 mass shooting at a Florida high school, USA Today reports.

"Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale", CEO Ed Bastian wrote in the letter that was obtained by ABC News and later shared on social media.

"He is a great friend to Delta", Bastian said.

The NRA, in a statement on Saturday, called the moves by the companies "political and civic cowardice".

Kroger (KR) also said it would raise the gun-purchase age limit to 21 at its Fred Meyer locations and would stop selling assault-style rifles in Alaska, the only state where it was selling them.

As for Amazon, the company isn't responding to questions about the Delta vote.

"Corporations can not attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back", he tweeted.

"I know this action by the state legislature troubled him as it does all of us", Bastian wrote. "The voters who elected us and believe strongly in our rights and liberties expect and deserve no less".

GOP lawmakers amended a sweeping tax bill to eliminate a fuel-tax exemption worth at least an estimated $38 million to Delta and other airlines.

House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican, bemoaned the combative tone some had taken toward Delta.

Cagle is a front-runner in his race to be Georgia's next Governor.

Bastian also said Delta was "proud and honored" to have its headquarters in Atlanta - an apparent response to politicians in other states who this week invited the No. 2 USA airline to relocate.

Moving would likely cost more than the loss of the fuel tax exemption and create operational inefficiencies by moving further from the airline's main hub.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, signed the bill into law Friday after commenting earlier in the week that the political dispute should not grind efforts to a halt. He vowed to keep pursuing the jet fuel exemption as a separate issue.

Just how many tickets has Delta sold using the NRA promotion? 13. Delta, he said, is now planning to end discounts "for any group of a politically divisive nature".

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