Monday, April 14, 2008

American Airlines Cancellation Solution

Last week American Airlines canceled more then 900 flights in the United States. In response the president of American Airlines said the following:

Gerard Arpey, chairman and chief executive of American parent AMR Corp., said the costs of the cancellations to American will run into the tens of millions of dollars -- including vouchers to reimburse stranded customers, overtime for maintenance crews and lost revenue. An analyst with Standard & Poor's estimated it could easily top $30 million.

Arpey said that neither American's mechanics nor the FAA were to blame for the groundings, and he said he took responsibility for the cancellations. He said the company would hire a consultant to help it comply with FAA safety rules in the future.

Here is my question, if you have to hire a consultant now to ensure you comply with FAA safety rules, who has been making sure you were safe for the past 30 years? This is another example of why the airline industry in the U.S. is so screwed up. This entire incident is due to several factors all of which underline the point that U.S. airlines are incapable of self regulation.

1. The head of the FAA, like most government agencies, was a presidential lackey with no aviation experience at all, kind of remind you of FEMA doesn't it.

2. The FAA failed to enforce its own safety rules because of the cozy relationship they had with the airline industry. The safety directive regarding the MD-80's came out years ago and was never applied until Southwest Airlines made the news for failing to inspect their planes. Right after that news, Delta, Northwest and American all canceled flights in a hurry to comply with safety regulations they should have been following all along.

The only victim in this entire incident is the passengers who for the past couple of years have been flying on planes that were not safe and now are enduring cancellations because of inept airline and government oversight.

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