Today’s Wall Street Journal has several articles on the FAA, the Delta-NWA merger, and other issues, but three in particular are worth pointing out:
- Holman Jenkins takes issue with the claim that mergers are the ticket for the perennially unprofitable airline industry. He argues that instead airlines should be allowed to fix prices to maintain reliable service, rather than shooting themselves in the feet through rough-and-tumble competition. “Crudely, when profits are scarce,” he writes, “carriers would be free to collude over fares and routes in order to maintain service levels without bleeding each other to death.”
- Richard Anderson (CEO of Delta) and Doug Steenland (CEO of Northwest) offer refutations of six myths about mergers. Unfortunately, their refutations are not compelling. “Thanks to our complementary route networks, we will keep all of our hubs open”? There’s no reason to keep Memphis open if the much bigger hub in Atlanta serves nearly all the Memphis destinations already; ditto for Cincinnati and Detroit. “The transaction will make employee pensions and benefits more secure.” But no matter how you decide or arbitrate a seniority-list merger, you’ll negatively affect the benefits of thousands of crew members.
- Personal travel columnist Scott McCartney offers a more realistic (and pessimistic) view of the merger: “Airline mergers often mean travel headaches for customers — and they often don’t work so well for the airlines involved, either.” He’s got more, and it’s good stuff.
And now, on to other news:
- EasyJet and Ryanair are withholding some of the higher fees charged by the operator of London’s Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted airports, BAA [ATW Daily News]
- Airbus calls for China to participate in aviation emissions reductions. [Xinhua via Planenews]
- On that note, here’s a surprise I’m going to look into soon: the FAA claims that the U.S. is very close to carbon-neutral aviation growth. [ATW Daily News]
- Soviet-made aircraft, many of which cannot be certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency, may soon be banned in the EU. [Russia-IC via Planenews]
- As part of new Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou’s promised thaw with Beijing, cross-Strait flights will begin this summer for the first time. [ATW Daily News]
Image source: “Or what about one of those black and white ink portraits you see in all the rich-guy newspapers? Well, apparently they’re not rich enough to afford any color. Or even solid lines!” [LINK]