Flying the friendly subsidized skies? _Richard "Mr. Moo" Moore-Must the government bailout the airlines or is there a better way?
Over the past holiday, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit our son and daughter-in-law in San Diego. It was a far cry from the weather of the Midwest, but “hey someone had to do it”. During our time flying the friendly skies, I heard of a call for federal assistance to help the older carriers who are struggling now. Now being a “compassionate libertarian”, I want to be there to help those who need and deserve the help. The help should not always come from a government checkbook, however. But the airlines? But a bad business move or the introduction of new competition is NOT justification for a government handout/bailout.
In a recent survey released by BACK Aviation Solutions, there are some airlines that just do a better job. For example, American West and Southwest can fly for under $8 per mile per seat. For some reason, Delta and Northwest is in the $10.50 neighborhood and US Airways is over $11 per mile. Now I have flown each of the airlines listed and don’t notice a huge difference in service. Except for the humor on Southwest by the attendants and employees at the gate. That I would pay for.
Now there are some things that the airline industry cannot control. September 11 attack clobbered the industry as has depressed travel overseas. And when the airlines thought they would see black ink, the fuel prices went through the clouds. And dare I even mention the searches at the airport? All said, it’s been a tough couple of years.
Airlines are getting both good and bad. Some airlines have been renegotiating with their employees about a pay and benefit reduction. That’s good. It clobbered the pilots and flight attendants. But it kept the company flying. Some airlines are being the victim of coordinated “call in sick days”. That hurts not only company, but the “sick” employees as well. And in turn it will drive away flyers. But do those events of the past few years and the unwillingness of negotiation with employees, demand a government bailout? NO, NYET, NONKA! (Sorry, too many Capital One commercials.)
In an economy that hasn’t been the friendliest to consumers, business better figure out how to keep and secure new customers. To the CEO’s, you probably got where you are because of your ability to think and be creative. It’s time to be creative. It’s time to think (here it comes) outside the box. But one thing is certain. A government bailout is not the answer. It only postpones the inevitable and cost me more in taxes. And let’s be real. A government bailout is a bailout of the taxpayers decided by a few in power. And that is bull.