Delta Air Lines, which pointedly said it would not renew its sponsorship of Atlanta’s Fox Theatre due to an event hosted by a key rival at the venue, also had a message regarding other companies and organizations it counts as partners.
The event that caused the falling out with the Fox was a dinner hosted by Qatar Airways on Tuesday night featuring a private concert by singer Jennifer Lopez, to celebrate the carrier’s new Atlanta-Doha route launching June 1.
Delta has been in a war of words with Qatar Airways for a year and a half over the issue of government subsidies and airline competition, arguing that Qatar and certain other Middle East airlines are growing with the unfair help of funding from their governments.
This week, Delta in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said it will not renew its sponsorship of the Fox after their contract expires May 31, 2017, citing a harsh comment Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker made about starting the Atlanta flights to “rub salt in the wounds of Delta” and Delta’s surprise at finding out about the Qatar launch party at the Fox.
When asked during the interview if Delta has a problem with other partners or vendors doing business with Qatar, Delta’s chief legal officer Peter Carter said, “We would hope that all our partners and friends and the organizations we support would want us to flourish as a company and would appreciate the kind of battle we’re in with the Gulf carriers. But whether or not that means we would pull business, I just could never say.”
“We constantly evaluate the kinds of organizations we support, and so it’s hard for me to say it would or would not be an issue,” Carter said.
More on Delta’s response, the Qatar Airways launch party and the history between the two airlines at MyAJC.com: