SBD/Issue 168/Franchises

Spurs May Switch Carriers Mid-Playoffs After Night On Tarmac

Spurs Could Switch Airlines Carriers After
Being Stranded On Tarmac In New Orleans
A mechanical problem with the Spurs' plane that forced the team to "spend seven hours on a tarmac in New Orleans early Tuesday morning could result in the [Spurs] switching charters midway through" the Western Conference Finals, according to an NBA source cited by Tom Orsborn of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. Minnesota-based Champion Air, the Spurs' carrier, in April "declared bankruptcy and announced it would ground its 16-plane fleet May 31," but the NBA and the Spurs at the time said that the team would "continue flying the airline through the playoffs or until further notice." But the source said that there is a "good chance the Spurs could start using another carrier even before Champion ceases operations." The source said that candidates include a "major airline carrier and a well-known charter entity." The source added that Northwest Airlines next season will be the Spurs' carrier. The Spurs spent "about 11 hours on the plane" after their Monday night win over the Hornets in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals, as a convention in New Orleans had filled the hotels, forcing the team to "spend the night on the tarmac until a new plane arrived" around 6:30am CT (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 5/21).

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