...And Here, Darn it, Are The Heartbreakers
It is both the most "fun," and most difficult task, facing the
ANN staff at the end of every year -- determining who, or what, did
the most to promote the cause of aviation in the past 365 days...
while also chastising those people or entities that did all they
could to undermine the many successes the aerospace community has
managed to accomplish.
Alas, 2007 saw more than its fair share of downers,
aviation-wise. Sure, "stuff" happens... but a few folks, issues, or
entities seemed to go out of their way to create problems for the
world of aviation.
So... it is ANN's annual obligation to recognize a solid dozen
of our Aero-Heartbreakers for 2007... in something of an informal
order, starting from 12th to the 1st. Let us know what you think of
our selections... whom YOU would have liked be included, or
omitted, from such a list. In the meantime, we hope those who had
something to do with this year's selections think a little more
positively about the welfare of this industry, so that future
lists become harder and harder to catalog. Be it ignorance,
arrogance or just plain incompetence, these were the folks or
topics that made our lot a whole lot more difficult and
immeasurably injured the aviation world in the past year.
Shame on those issues, folks or topics that made our lot so much
tougher in 2007...
From the Heartbreaker's List #5: ATA
Those who work in the higher echelons of the airline biz may
look upon ATA and its President, James May, as one of their more
vocal proponents... but the last year has proven that ATA was
willing to go to great lengths and make great sacrifices in search
of sympathy for its agenda -- and they didn't seem to care about
how far they had to twist the facts to do so.
Those sacrifices included destroying the good will they may have
had with the rest of the aviation business -- a business that
they attacked in their greed to get what they wanted, as well as to
try and shore up what little credibility the airline business had
left... and we're not talking about a whole heck of a lot. Folks
that could have been of great aid (i.e., the rest of
aviation), and whom we might note are some of their best customers
(seeing, as they do, that aviation is of vital importance to the
nation as well as their own business interests), were painted as
greedy victimizers and uncaring fat cats. We have a feeling that
there will come a day when the airline world will sincerely regret
the way that they alienated the rest of their brothers and sisters
in the aviation world.
While ATA President
James May (right) may have done a masterful job of presenting the
airline industry as a fairly unified force bent on exerting
its will over all of the aviation world, and attempting to force
the rest of us to shoulder the costs of services and facilities
that were meant to support the airlines, are used only by the
airlines, and (rightfully) should be paid for -- only -- by the
airlines; this has to be one of the most short-sighted strategies
in the history of our industry.
Thankfully, though, it sure appears to have failed.
ATA President James May and (unbelievably) FAA Administrator
Marion Blakey double-teamed the aviation world into thinking the
current funding mechanism was not only broken, but also not fair to
the airline industry that has heretofore served as the backbone of
our nation's air transportation system. What ATA was really doing,
though, was to segregate the airline world from the rest of
aviation -- and thus created divisions between it and the remaining
sectors of the aviation and aerospace business. What little support
the GA and BizAv world may have had for the airlines has eroded and
all but disappeared.
So... after several years of airline industry doldrums,
bankruptcies, horrific earning reports, even more horrific business
practices, and the decimation of the employee base that has been
the backbone of the airline world... it seems strange that anyone
in the airline industry thinks they have the right to dictate how
the rest of aviation should act or what they should pay for. It's
even stranger that they thought that anyone would truly fall for
it. Shame on them.