Certainly the City of Birmingham has seen better days, but when our city sneezes our suburbs catch a cold.
In previous blogs I’ve mentioned that Birmingham’s metro is the slowest growing of its Southern peers–that we’ve lost many of our public and S&P 500 Companies, and even worse, we’re losing our children and grandchildren to other Southern cities like Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, and Dallas.
My family recently took a fun trip to Chattanooga. There’s so much to do there and the free public transportation makes everything so easy.
Riding on the bus from our hotel towards the Aquarium, we passed the Krystal Building—headquarters to those tasty little hamburgers. My son, Stacy, who lives in Atlanta, mentioned that Krystal is in the process of moving its headquarters from Chattanooga to Atlanta.
I asked why, and he responded that it’s too much of a hassle for their employees to fly out of Chattanooga when they can get direct flights from Atlanta.
That brings me to an e-mail I received from Suzan Doidge, Executive Director of the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce, who represented Southwest Airlines for 17 years.
“Southwest will decrease nonstop service to New Orleans and Jacksonville in the spring and this comes after a number of flights that have been rerouted or taken away all together.”
Our Birmingham Airport is in the midst of a $201 million terminal modernization. Southwest Airlines is our largest carrier.
Losing nonstop flights is not acceptable. Companies can’t afford to be headquartered in Birmingham if we provide poor air service. This costs us money and jobs.
Losing nonstop flights is a symptom of a much bigger problem. We will not get better air service by begging Southwest to increase flights. Those are economic decisions that businesses have to make.
If we want a better Birmingham, we must quit trying to fix the symptoms and fix their root cause—our redundant/dysfunctional government structure.
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David Sher is a partner in Buzz12 Marketing and co-CEO of AmSher Receivables Management. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (ONB), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).