There’s nothing earth-shattering or heretofore-unknown about this Business Week article lambasting the pathetic state of the airline industry, but imagine how awful it’d be if a major news magazine had the following to say about your job performance:

When Marion C. Blakey took over at the Federal Aviation Administration in 2002, she was determined to fix an air travel system battered by terrorism, antiquated technology, and the ever-turbulent finances of the airline industry. Five years later, as she prepares to step down on Sept. 13, it’s clear she failed. Almost everything about flying is worse than when she arrived. Greater are the risks, the passenger headaches, and the costs in lost productivity. Almost everyone has a horror story about missed connections, lost baggage, and wasted hours on the tarmac. More than 909,000 flights were late through June of this year, twice the level of 2002.

Note that I’ve flown enough in the past few years to know that everything said in that intro paragraph is true, so I’m not saying that BW is being unnecessarily mean — my only point is that when something like that is published about you, you know that your failure has been a fantastic one. Of course, Blakey is leaving the FAA to become the head of Aerospace Industries Association (the trade association representing the manufacturers of airplane equipment), so she’ll go from the position of massively failing to lead the FAA to the position of lobbying on behalf of an aerospace trade group. I find that interesting, if only because she spent five years showing that she was unable to advocate for the needs of American air travelers on a federal level, and now she’s being given another chance to do exactly that on behalf of private industry. What makes anyone think she’ll be more successful?


I agree the FAA is in trouble, but you have to admire the very strict regulations they uphold for plane maintenance and repair. The smartest move they ever made was to require foreign airlines to meet the U.S.’s FAA maintenance requirements or they would not be allowed to land at any of our airports.

Anyone who has flown some of the airlines in China, Russia, etc. can tell you that maintenance and operational quality is clearly not up to par with that of the U.S.’s carriers.

• Posted by: Cameron Barrett on Sep 16, 2007, 11:44 AM
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