The Future of Commercial Aviation
Here I am at 35000 ft over the North Atlantic and wondering where our industry is headed. Many of you are looking for a bright career with an airline and I have to wonder if it will be there, and if so for how long. The reason I’m thinking about this issue is that United is trying to sublease our jobs to a third carrier that doesn’t even exist and the only possible reason is airline managers in the US would rather have a shell company and hire and fire employees to keep costs down. I just left England where a refinery fired (“sacked” in England) five workers, and the details in this case really don’t matter, it’s what the remaining workers at the refinery feel and how they act that’s important. Well the remaining workers went out on a Wildcat strike and you know what? I bet those five get their job back!
We in the US need to sometimes look elsewhere for inspiration, and whether it’s the French, Italians, or the English they know how to use the tools available when there has been an injustice. I’m not sure why so many US airlines have trouble running their airline, but not many are well run. Southwest has had its problems but they seem to work through them. I can tell you that the managers at United (or most other major carriers) do not seem to do well at working through large demanding issues. Time and time again small missteps have led to large problems, and when questions come up, the answer is “well the past is the past lets move on”. If those of us in the flying business had the same attitude we would still be driving airplanes into rocks on a weekly basis. We take the opportunity to learn from not just our own mistakes, but our colleagues’ mistakes. I know most of us would just like to see an airline run efficiently and effectively, executing a business plan and adapting to change and many of our passengers would like the same.
This is a dynamic industry that requires a solid game plan and the ability to change when the situation requires, those of us in the Air Force have always been told “flexibility is the key to air superiority”. This is also true in the airlines. This industry has changed enormously in the last decade and it will change in the next. Only time will tell if it’s for the better or worse.