Delta CEO under fire for opposition to Paulding airport expansion

In the increasingly heated battle over a second airport for metro Atlanta, the Paulding County commission chairman accused Delta Air Lines of orchestrating a covert opposition campaign and called for Delta’s CEO to consider resigning from a chamber leadership role.

Paulding County commission chairman David Austin in a letter to Delta CEO Richard Anderson took aim at Delta’s efforts to block the expansion of Paulding County’s airport northwest of Atlanta and told Anderson that his comments and actions “are in direct opposition to your role as the [Metro Atlanta Chamber] 2014 chair-elect.”

Anderson has not been shy about voicing his vociferous opposition to Paulding’s efforts to attract commercial flights to its small airport.

“With the city of Atlanta and Mayor (Kasim) Reed, we will work together to oppose any investment in that facility, ” Delta chief executive Richard Anderson said last month when the plan to attract commercial airline flights to Paulding was announced. Hartsfield-Jackson International is home to Delta’s largest hub, and Delta’s dominating presence in Atlanta plays a crucial strategic role in its worldwide route network and its standing in the local community.

Since Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport revealed its ambitions for commercial airline service, “it appears that Delta has orchestrated a campaign utilizing expensive attorneys to find environmental or procedural reasons to delay or stop this important project,” Austin wrote.