Meeting Airline Needs

This contract also places restrictions on the ability of the airlines to discontinue service at Metro. Since total Metro revenues are relatively fixed during a year, a decrease in airline operations will not result in any significant savings to the airlines. Costs are divided by the total landed weight during the year. If landed weight decreases, cost per thousand pounds of landed weight increases commensurately.

As of this writing, these provisions have led to a stalemate between the airlines and the airport over what form new construction to expand the airport will take. Northwest, in particular, believes new capacity is needed to accommodate expansion as soon as possible. The county wants added capacity on a grand scale to allow for a huge increase in operations in the long term instead of short term improvements to meet immediate airline needs. Neither the airport nor the airlines' needs can be met nor the facilities improved until all agree on the final plan. Meanwhile, passengers suffer from inadequate facilities. [15]

In general, when a contract expires, negotiation will facilitate changes and modifications to meet the mutual needs of the parties to the contract. In a contract which lasts several generations, such as Metro's Basic Agreement, changes are much harder to make and the airport users must endure greater trauma in meeting new demands. Metro's airport manager calls Metro's Basic Agreement "the worst in the country." [16]