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COME FLY WITH ME: NBA TEAMS UP TO PROVIDE CHARTERED FLIGHTS
Published February 27, 1998
While ten NBA teams own their own planes, the NBA chartered five customized, 56-seat 727s from Northwest Airlines for "the exclusive use of seven basketball teams" and the NHL's Avalanche, according to Susan Carey of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The NBA teams sharing the five planes are the Pacers, Lakers, Clippers, Rockets, Spurs, Warriors and Nuggets. Carey writes that the charter deal came about after General Electric, which owns NBC, leased some 727s to Northwest, and the airline "didn't want to extend the leases when they expired." Some NBC sportscasters "began hearing about" NBA teams' transportation "woes," and GE's aircraft unit financed the refurbishing to the league's specifications. The NBA leases the planes from GE, and has a seven-year agreement with Northwest to operate the planes. Bill Wernecke, Charter Manager for Northwest, which also carries eight NFL teams, said that the NBA "expects other teams to sign up in coming seasons," as four other 727s are available to expand if needed (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/27).