Champion Air Goes Out of Business Just In Time for the NBA Finals

champion air airplane - logo on plane tailBig deal right? Yet another airline goes under.

If you are a sports fan, and most importantly a fan of the NBA, then it is a big deal.

Champion Air handles (or used to handle) the flights for a number of NBA teams, including the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers and the Spurs are currently facing off against each other in the Western Conference finals.

Champion Air have said that they will be closing up shop by May 31st of this year. They blamed a number of different reasons for their demise, including the sky-rocketing price of oil, a weak US economy and "tight credit markets". The company needed to raise more money to ensure its survival, and couldn't.

Darrel Rovell from CNBC made an interesting point - if there is a sixth game in this series, then Champion Air would be able to fly the two teams to San Antonio, but wouldn't be able to fly them back for the seventh and deciding game, as they will be out of business by this point.

The NBA have said that they are considering multiple different options at this point, including having the two teams fly on a regular (gasp!) airline. Kobe mingling with the common-folk and needing to use a cramped bathroom just like everyone else? I can't see that happening. The NBA will likely have to shell out some large money in order to book another charter airline, but who knows if they would be available on short notice. And would they be able to accommodate seven foot tall basketball players?

The Spurs have already have their share of plane problems in recent days. After their game 7 victory against New Orleans (in New Orleans), the team was forced to sleep in their plane. According to published reports, the plane wasn't yet ready to fly, and the hotel that the Spurs had been playing at was now overbooked due to a telecommunications conference. This left the weary Spurs sleeping on their plane instead of flying to Los Angeles.

Champion Air has racked up hundreds of FAA safety and maintenance "incidents" over the past few years, due to not having the money to upgrade their rapidly aging fleet of planes. It sounds as though the planes were plush and comfortable on the inside, but death-traps on the outside.

Champion Air's demise will surely make the already-cranky Spurs even more irritable. I can't imagine Tim Duncan flying coach on American Airlines, so let's see how the NBA plans on dealing with this situation.

Filed under: General Market News | General Knowledge

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