Pinnacle Airlines is struggling to get out of bankruptcy and now has to do damage control.
City leaders and employees have been worried the company will abandon its lease of 14 floors at One Commerce Center to move to the suburbs of Minneapolis to save money.
MORE: Previous rumors
Although the company says no decision has been made, the new chief financial officer added new worries that Pinnacle might fly the coop.
In a goodbye email to Florida-based silver airways, Curt Berchtold wrote to colleagues, "my wife and four kids miss Minnesota in a big way, and so I have accepted the CFO position with Pinnacle Airlines which will allow us to relocate back home."
A Pinnacle pilot told FOX13 News the entire company is buzzing, including the 650 employees who work downtown, as well as thousands throughout the system.
Pinnacle moved to South Main Street in 2010 with considerable fanfare and generous tax breaks as part of the rebirth of downtown Memphis. A year later, the recession clipped its wings.
Pinnacle Air has a decision to make, is it more affordable to stay in the Bluff City or move to the suburbs of Minneapolis where it has existing facilities and office space?
That announcement is expected next month.
FOX13 reached out to Pinnacle Airlines. They responded with the following email:
"Re: Pinnacle Airlines Corp. Headquarters
Greg, thanks for calling. As we discussed, the tip you received regarding a decision about our headquarters is not true. Below are the points that should clarify where things stand. Let me know if you have questions.
- We have a responsibility to explore every opportunity to reduce costs as part of our reorganization, including evaluating all property leases to find the most economical options for Pinnacle.
· Pinnacle retained independent site selection firm Jones Lang LaSalle to evaluate three potential headquarters markets: Memphis as our current headquarters, and Minneapolis and Detroit as major flying cities in our post-restructuring operations. Detroit has since been eliminated from headquarters consideration.
· JLL will perform an analysis of things like cost of living and the available labor pool, as well as negotiate potential economic incentives that might be available from state and local governments.
· The final report is anticipated this fall and any decisions will be based purely on what is best for Pinnacle. Any final decisions are subject to review and approval by the Bankruptcy Court.
The deadline for rejecting leases is October 28.
Director, Corporate Communications
Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
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