Only 13 NRA members used group discount before Delta ended it

MEGAN CERULLO

Republican lawmakers made good on their promise to punish Delta Airlines after it announced it would end its discounted fare program with the National Rifle Association — which only 13 members made use of.

Georgia lawmakers on Friday voted to remove a jet fuel tax break from a larger tax package that would have saved the Atlanta-based airline approximately $40 million, The Washington Post reported.

Delta spokesman Michael Thomas said that just 13 members used the discount to travel to the group’s annual meeting in Dallas, The Washington Post reported.

The airline decided to drop the NRA in an effort to remain neutral in the debate on gun control following a school shooting in Parkland, Fla. The gunman used a legally purchased AR-15 to fatally shoot 17 students and teachers.

Delta’s position is costing the airline roughly $3 million per passenger.

RELATED: List of companies cutting ties with the NRA

Nevertheless, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the company would adhere to its own values.

“Our decision was not made for economic gain and our values are not for sale,” Bastian said. “The decision followed the NRA’s controversial statements after the recent school shootings in Florida. Our discounted travel benefit for NRA members could be seen as Delta implicitly endorsing the NRA. That is not the case,” he said.

“Our objective in removing any implied affiliation with the NRA was to remove Delta from this debate.”

The NRA suggested in a tweet Friday the airline should prepare for backlash from gun rights advocates.

“They have a backlash that will span across all gun owners, not just NRA members..seems logical,” the NRA tweeted.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle threatened to kill legislation that benefitted Delta unless it reversed its course on the partnership.

“Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” he said.

“I hope they are better at flying airplanes than timing P.R. announcements,” Georgia House Speaker David Ralston said after his chamber approved the bill that took away the tax breaks.

Delta said it would review all of its partnerships and end all politically charged affiliations.

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