COME FLY WITH ME: NBA TEAMS UP TO PROVIDE CHARTERED FLIGHTS
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).