Can you imagine if you were an existing business in North Carolina and
the State used your tax dollars to recruit and subsidize your
direct competitor to steal customers from you, forcing you to cease operations in the State? Well, that is exactly what
has happened to Allegiant Air.
Many of you have followed the story of Skybus, a startup low-cost airline that was successfully recruited to expand its service and create a hub at the Piedmont Triad Airport (PTI) last year thanks to millions of dollars in handouts from the State, Guilford County and the PTI Airport Authority.
Well, while the state is pouring money into Skybus, word comes last week that existing discount airliner Allegiant Air, which was already operating out of PTI, will be ending all service from Greensboro on May 31. Government, through its recruitment and subsidies of Skybus, gave it a distinct competitive advantage over an existing business.
So, the state in its infinite wisdom in distorting the market decided that Skybus is the "winner" and any competitor operating under normal market dynamics is the "loser."
But ultimately, the consumer is harmed. Through government intervention consumers now have less competition and less choices of discount airlines to fly. At a time when jet fuel prices are sending airfares through the roof, more competition, not less, is needed.
I feel bad for Allegiant Air, they were already trying to exist in a difficult market, but having government stack the deck against them and in favor of their direct competitor made continuing operation impossible.
It’s time to end all incentives. The choice is clear — tax all businesses the same or not at all.