FROM Robert Ditchey
Turbulent Times for America's Airlines Since deregulation, America's airlines have expanded by a factor of ten and there has not been a major crash since 2001. But the recent grounding of thousands of flights, which stranded hundreds of thousands of passengers, and evidence that the Federal Aviation Administration is too cozy with the companies it regulates have raised concerns about safety. Whistle-blowing FAA inspectors told Congress that Southwest Airlines had been allowed to skip inspections for fuselage cracks for as long as nine months. Southwest was fined $10 million, and the FAA began an "industry-wide audit." Meantime, smaller airlines have gone under or filed for bankruptcy, and big ones are talking about mergers. Is the agency trying to reassert itself and reassure the flying public that all is well? Were passengers really at risk? With airlines folding, going bankrupt and looking at mergers, are the industry and its passengers in for a troubled future?
JetBlue Fighting the Valentine's Day Blues Jet Blue was an American success story, until a massive storm hit the East Coast on Valentine's Day. Most airlines cancelled flights, but JetBlue took a gamble , which left passengers trapped for hours on planes iced-in at airports. At other airports, security forces had to be called to deal with passengers outraged at an airliner that's been tops in service and customer satisfaction since its founding in 1999. Full operations should be resumed by Wednesday, but the founder-CEO says he's "humiliated and mortified." Former airline executive, Robert Ditchey, says the public shares part of the blame.
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