Thursday, April 22, 2010

What the Travelers Said

Today the BBC News Web site ran five statements from air travelers about their personal experiences with the ban on flying over most of Europe's airspace due to the hazards of ash from the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Four of the five statements explicitly asserted that safety was more important than getting to their respective destinations as efficiently as possible. Of course we have no way of knowing whether or not, from a statistical point of view, these statements constitute a representative sample. At the very least they indicate some body of passengers who clearly disagree with the protestations of Giovanni Bisignani on behalf of the International Air Transport Association (IATA); and the four-to-one ratio at least reinforces the hypothesis that Bisignani has been expressing a minority opinion. There is also at least the suggestion that the European Union is more concerned with the safety of the general public than it is with the efficient operations of the airline industry, leading me to wonder whether or not those still enamored of the previous Administration in the White House would take this as yet another instance of "Old Europe" thinking!

1 comment:

DigitalDan said...

Environmental dangers are researched reasonably thoroughly and standards issued for what constitutes a safe level of any particular toxin or irritant. I don't suppose the airlines have put any preventive work into a similar analysis for opaque/abrasive particles in the atmosphere. If there were a known, agreed to, safe level of airborne particulates, to be measured along a proposed route, it's possible that more flights could have taken place, or at least that people and carriers could have felt better about being inconvenienced or losing revenue. In the absence of same, presumably somebody's making a semi-educated call?