Wednesday, October 24, 2007

All the News

If you read the papers, you’ll notice there’s an explosion of press coverage about air traffic controllers and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The big one was the Associated Press story on Monday:

Air Controller Retirements Surge

It made the front page of many papers. It even made the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Well, just barely. One sentence. Not to worry though. The Wall Street Journal hasn’t completely lost their monied minds. They “balanced” it with an editorial bashing unions.

This might be a good place for you to pause and reflect on who would be telling you that we’re running out of air traffic controllers if there wasn’t a union.

Pause over. Moving on. Tuesday’s story is NASA’s suppression of a safety study. It’s hard to know what it’s about (it’s being suppressed) but it was bad enough that NASA feared it might have a negative impact on the airline’s financial health. I guess the airlines don’t need any more bad news.

We’ll have to wait and see if anyone picks up NATCA’s press release and runs with it.

Total Number of Experienced Controllers Nationally Reaches 15-Year Low 

Who knows ? Somebody might even make the connection between that headline and this headline.

Airline Delays Worsen, Complaints Rise

Who knows ? Somebody might actually look at whole ball of wax and see the link between staffing, delays and safety.

Speaking of safety (and moving off the front pages), Don Brown’s friends are a-moldering in the bays of the control room at Atlanta Center -- still.

Congressmen speak out on FAA mold problem

You might think I’d be happy about all this press coverage on air traffic control. Not really. Air traffic control is one of those areas where the less you hear about it the better things are -- usually. And the reverse is true too. The more you hear, the worse things are.

The Looney Tunes are in charge of the FAA and now Bush wants to make Bobby’s promotion permanent. Lord help us all.

Bush, Blakey and Bobby have made the FAA the poster child for the “Business is Better” crowd. They don’t like government, they’re not the least bit interested in making it work and it shows. The damage is done and the only way to keep it from getting worse is to stop doing what they’ve been doing. Bobby won’t fix anything, he’ll just keep breaking it.

The equation is simple: Less and less experienced controllers plus more and more airplanes equals a disaster. The cost to our country has already been enormous (you do remember this summer’s delays, right ?) and it will continue to climb. The only question left is if taxpayers will have to pay with their lives.

If that happens, the Free Marketeers will be waiting in the wings with the “solution” -- their privatization plans. If there are any truth-in-advertising laws left (they won’t obey those either) they’ll have to put a sign over the smoking crater -- “Mission Accomplished.”

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