The Bulldog in Amsterdam ©Leocha

This weekend we learn that Amsterdam will not ban tourists from its marijuana coffee houses. Delta is getting dinged for breaking promises to Congress about service in the wake of its merger with Northwest Airlines. And, airlines bounce back from their Hurricane Sandy whack.

Amsterdam tourist cannabis ban rejected by mayor

After a series of laws seemed to put Amsterdam’s pot cafés out of business for tourists, a change in enforcement rules allows the mayor to make the decision about whether to enforce the rules, or not.

In Amsterdam, the mayor must have said, “Nix.” In a novel argument, he claims that fewer drugs means rising crime, instead of the other way around.

Each year, some 1.5 million tourists visit Amsterdam to consume cannabis.

“The 1.5 million tourists will not say ‘then no more marijuana,’ they will swarm all over the city looking for drugs,” said Mayor Van der Laan, who has long opposed a ban.

“This would lead to more robberies, quarrels about fake drugs, and no control of the quality of drugs on the market — everything we have worked towards would be lost to misery.”

Amsterdam also relies heavily on tourism, and cannabis users make up about a third of its total visitors.

Delta faced with possible antitrust probe

Delta Airlines promised that Amsterdam service would continue when it sought antitrust immunity in order to merge with Northwest. Now that they got their way, they are dropping the route and one of Tennessee’s Representatives, Steve Cohen, is mad. Delta has irritated other politicians with their hub closings and cutbacks. Can this be a wave of the future?

Cohen was reacting to what he said was a decision by Delta to cancel summer flights between Memphis and Amsterdam, and said it was the latest of a “growing string of broken promises” by the airline.

“I was disappointed to learn last February that Delta planned to scale back the flight to a summer seasonal schedule but took Delta at their word that they would bring back the flight in the summer of 2013,” Cohen said. “Now that Delta has eliminated the flight altogether, I am disappointed that Delta has once again broken a promise they made to me and the people of Memphis.”

A spokesman for Delta said the decision to cut the service was based on rising fuel costs and low demand for the Memphis-Amsterdam route.

Airlines bouncing back quickly from Hurricane Sandy disaster

In the wake of one of the new century’s biggest storms, airlines are managing to get back to business more rapidly than many others. It is a tribute to their resiliency.

…it’s worth noting that from the air transportation business perspective, this hurricane ultimately became a relative storm-in-a-teacup event. That was not by accident or luck; airlines and airports rapidly switched to their crisis management plans and shut down the aviation system — keeping it and people out of harm’s way – well in advance of the storm.

One of the very few positive things one can say about a hurricane is that you have lots of advance warning and time to prepare. And prepare is exactly what the airlines and airports did. Plans to cancel most of the estimated 9,000 flights that were initially scrubbed were made far in advance and while the storm was still hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic.

That’s how it should be, because that’s the safest, most efficient, least disruptive and ultimately least costly way to run airline operations in these type of emergency situations.