Friday, November 14, 2008


I can’t stand it anymore. After a morning spent reading fluff piece after fluff piece (like this one) it’s time to inject some reality.

First the fluff:

"Next-generation technology and modernization of our air traffic control system could save billions of pounds of carbon emissions every year, and United is pleased to partner with the FAA and provide important data from ASPIRE to demonstrate these savings," says Pete McDonald, Chief Administrative Officer -- United Airlines. "New technology will also improve air travel for millions of consumers by reducing delays and ensuring a more consistent travel experience."

It will probably cure dish-pan hands and ring-around-the-collar too. Let’s see what we can expect in the future by reviewing the previous fluff -- the FAA’s fluff.

FAA Completes Deployment of Mission-Essential Conflict Detection Tool

New Technology Saves Industry $600 Million

”Since its inception in 1999 through the end of this summer (2006), URET has shortened routes by 89.5 million nautical miles, for an estimated savings of $626.5 million.“

Now let’s face reality. I really want you to click on the link to Wikipedia and read the whole list for yourself. Keep in mind all that fuel that was saved between 1999 and 2006 -- $625.5 million dollars worth.

Wikipedia - Timeline of airline bankruptcies

”Time line of Chapter 11 filings

* August 11, 2002 - US Airways enters protection
* December 9, 2002 - United Airlines under protection
* March 31, 2003 - US Airways emerges
* April 1, 2003 - Air Canada files
* September 12, 2004 - US Airways re-files for protection
* September 30, 2004 - Air Canada emerges
* December 30, 2004 - Aloha Airlines files
* September 14, 2005 - Northwest Airlines files
* September 14, 2005 - Delta Air Lines files, putting 4 of the top 7 carriers in the United States under bankruptcy protection“

I am truly at a loss for words. What words -- what parable, what analogy, what literary device -- can I use to make the insanity of all this any more obvious ? The airline industry is bleeding billions of dollars -- going from record delays to 9/11 and then back to record delays -- and the FAA is crowing about how much gas they saved. The airlines saved so much money they went bankrupt.

Just as an aside, be sure to take note of United Airlines in that list and remember that Bobby Sturgell (acting FAA Administrator) and Hank Krakowski (COO -- FAA Air Traffic Organization) both worked for United.

Fool me once...shame on you. Fool me a dozen times...When are we ever going to learn ? Do you really think so ? Then tell me what a “ a more consistent travel experience“ is. If your mind fell asleep before you got to that part, go back to the top and start over. Maybe you’ll see that it isn’t just the FAA that is trying to fool you.

Don Brown
November 14, 2008

No comments: