24 July 2007

Wrath of Kahn - what is his legacy

The nice old man with the youthful grin is largely ignored whenever he travels. Yet he has had more impact on Airline Travel than anyone on the planet. Bar none.

In Tuesday's USA Today there is a lovely article on the father of de-regulation. http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/travel/2007-07-23-alfred-kahn_N.htm?csp=34

There is a of course a huge debate by many people on the long term impact. Economically it was largely inevitable. De-regulation would happen. If not under the Carter administration then for sure under the Reagan one that followed.

However there are still some who are guilty of not making the sea change easier through the regulatory and economic framework. Inappropriate and just plain lame government action or inaction is the root cause of today's issues. Now is it fixable. Sure. But fixing things that are broken are always more difficult than preventing things.

There are no excuses. The numbers do not lie.

For those who think that this is a pure economic solution - then that is wrong. Sorry - I am a great believer in the free market but by definition there has to be a fair market. Thus far the market is badly organized by the market's managers. That needs fixing. There needs to be new rules for a true market with all stakeholders acknowledged. (See our blog from yesterday on the Air Space Control system).

For those who want a return to full regulation. Well that's just insane.

So there needs to be a rational approach. There is no rocket science to this. Just plain common sense. Do we have it?

Let’s hope so. Professor Kahn did. Let’s not waste his legacy. Let’s celebrate his achievements and our benefits but fixing the Air Traffic mess permanently


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