The chairman and CEO of United Airlines is stepping down in connection with an investigation into the airline’s dealings with the agency that operates New York airports. United Continental Holdings Inc. said Tuesday that Jeff Smisek and its executive vice president of communications and government affairs and its senior vice president of corporate and government affairs had resigned.
"The Port Authority is enormous. And one of the things it's in charge of is running the George Washington Bridge. When the bridge scandal broke open, when it became clear that bridge really purposefully had been shut down as part of some Christie administration political vendetta, one of the heads that had to roll was David Samson, who was the head of the Port Authority. "Unlike his other staffers and allies who got in trouble in connection with the bridge scandal who Chris Christie was happy to blame and deride and distance himself from in public, it was interesting when David Samson resigned, he had nothing but words of praise and support for his mentor and his close friend. "But now tonight, another shoe has dropped in this story. Because the Port Authority doesn't just run the George Washington Bridge, they run all sorts of major infrastructure in New York and New Jersey. And that includes this little confection which is called Newark Airport in Newark, New Jersey, and tonight it was front page news -- not just in the business press but all over the press when there was this sudden announcement that the head of United Airlines had been ousted."
"David Samson apparently has a vacation home near Columbia, South Carolina, and one of the things unearthed is that United Airlines, allegedly, created a new route, a nonstop flight route between Newark Airport and Columbia, South Carolina, specifically at the request of David Samson, specifically to make his trips to his vacation home easier for him and his wife. "The allegation is that he requested that United establish that convenient flight path for him, and in exchange, he would hook United up with some of the projects they wanted to do and some of the treatment that they wanted as an airline at Newark Airport."