7 in Congress from Md. oppose Lorenzo airline

April 22, 1993|By Suzanne Wooton | Suzanne Wooton,Staff Writer

Seven members of Maryland's congressional delegation have urged the U.S. Transportation Department to deny one-time airline executive Frank Lorenzo a chance to re-enter the industry with a new discount carrier, Friendship Airlines.

"Given his previous management record, it would certainly appear that Mr. Lorenzo fails to meet the standard of fitness established in the Federal Aviation Act," the legislators said in a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Federico F. Pena. The three other members of state's delegation did not sign the letter.

The members said they were particularly concerned because the proposed airline is considering using Baltimore-Washington International Airport as its hub. Legally, the state, which operates BWI, cannot deny any federally approved carrier the right to land there.

The new airline has applied for a certificate of public convenience and necessity to provide air service from the Baltimore-Washington area to Boston and Orlando, Fla. Friendship officials promise to provide full-service jet flights, with ticket prices 20 percent to 25 percent below average fares offered by other carriers.

Maryland's congressional representatives join more than 60 other congressmen, plus scores of other political leaders and labor groups, in opposing the new airline. In addition, a congressional resolution has been introduced that would prohibit federal authorities from issuing a certificate to an applicant, like Mr. Lorenzo, who has controlled one or more carriers which have filed petitions for bankruptcy.

The letter was signed by Sens. Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski, both Democrats; and Reps. Kweisi Mfume, D-7th; Steny H. Hoyer, D-5th; Benjamin L. Cardin, D-3rd; Albert R. Wynn, D-4th; and Constance A. Morella, R-8th.

Friendship Airlines is headed by Stephen J. Kolski, former president of Continental Express Airlines. Mr. Lorenzo, chairman Savoy Capital Inc., a Houston-based investment company and former chairman of Continental Airlines, is a major investor.

A representative for Friendship was not available for comment ,, yesterday about the letter from the Maryland delegates.

The Transportation Department has set Monday as the deadline for receiving comments on the application.

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