DETROITDetroit businessman and freelance writer Steven T. Khalil used the pending resignation of Detroit Metro Airport chief David Katz in May as an opportunity to call for a long overdue privatization of the notoriously ill-run airport.
"Stand at the luggage retrieval area at Detroit Metropolitan Airport for no more than a few minutes, and you will hear rumblingsin accents from around the worldabout how awful the service and accommodations are at the nation's seventh largest airport. Long lines, delayed or missed flights, and parking headaches have become the rule and not the exception. A complete loathing for the airport seems to be the common bond among Metro Detroiters," Khalil wrote.
"In contrast, fly into either of London's main airports, Heathrow or Gatwick, and you will marvel at their efficiency and the great service their patrons enjoy. What's the difference? London's airports are privately owned and operated, while Metro Airport is controlled by Wayne County and a horde of public bureaucrats. As usual, government can't compete with the private sector," Khalil continued.
Khalil pointed out that countries around the world are proving that airport privatization is the most effective method of improving customer service and bettering conditions for air travelers. "From England and Canada to Germany and Australia, airport control is being transferred from the public to the private sectorall with positive results," he wrote.
Khalil noted that here in the United States, cities like Indianapolis and Pittsburgh have implemented forms of privatization in their airports, and other major cities, such as New York, Baltimore, Dallas, and Boston, are contemplating such measures. "The current trend is toward private ownership, and it is causing an even sharper contrast between Metro Airport and its counterparts. If Metro isn't privatized soon, travelers will watch it fall even further behind the curve."