June 1, 2008  

No ticket home

TO EXECS AT ATA AIRLINES, for pulling the plug on military transport operations without regard for troops left stranded in Kuwait. When ATA ceased operations within 24 hours of filing for bankruptcy April 2, it created a mess far more heartbreaking than tourists scrambling to salvage wrecked vacation plans. Troops in Kuwait were left to wait — and wait. As part of the FedEx Teaming Arrangement, an eight-airline group under contract to supply military charter flights, ATA was a key provider of flights for troops deploying to and from Iraq via Kuwait. Incomprehensibly, ATA Chief Operating Officer Doug Yakola and acting CEO John Denison did not inform their FedEx Teaming partners of their cut-and-run decision. FedEx spokesman Jim McCluskey told AFJ: “We had no advance warning; the first we knew about it was when we read about it.” The remaining airline partners are working to minimize the delays out of Kuwait. But ATA execs showed a shameful lack of respect for their most prestigious customers.