Sunday's Week in Review section of the New York Times included an article about how the increased number of corporate private planes are having an impact on air traffic flow -- and how the major airlines are claiming that this is the reason for the increase in delayed and cancelled flights. I've been reading about this issue for a while, in the "Ask the Pilot" column in Salon, and from that column it's clear that part of the problem is the increased number of small and regional jets in general, not just the private and corporate jets that the NYTimes focuses on. And, of course, as the NYTimes article itself emphasizes, there are more problems here than just the number of small planes using the system.
Still, whatever you might think about a prioritization system for clearing out a backlog of flights after a delay, or whether the current first-come first-served every-plane-the-same model is the fairest, the position of the corporate jet owners is probably not helped by the following statement. This was made by Steve Brown, senior vice president for operations at the National Businees Aviation Association, "a group representing owners of private business aircraft".
On a business flight, you might have people going to Wall Street from companies who are creating jobs and generating billions of dollars in commerce. People on a commercial flight might be going on vacation or going to New York to go to the theater.
There are so many appalled responses I have that I am practically reduced to sputtering. (My first response is something along the lines of "and pigs might fly out of my ass", but that's emotion and not logic.) Just on the surface: There are plenty of people on commercial flights who are going to their jobs on Wall Street. And corporate jet traffic increases tremendously around events like the Kentucky Derby and the Masters golf tournament. But I don't even accept the premise that people going to Wall Street are doing important things while those who are merely going to the theater have less important commitments. The Wall Street work will be there the next day; the theater tickets are not transferable -- and what about all the jobs in the theater that are at stake? Maybe some of the people on the commercial airplane are going to funerals -- is missing a funeral a small price to pay in exchange for the "billions of dollars in commerce" that the one individual on the corporate jet would be unable to generate if he has to be any later? What about the commercial airline flyers who have to scrimp and save and go into work when they are sick to find a few days vacation, who will be losing out on this precious rare opportunity (as opposed to people who fly corporate jets, who generally have a hell of a lot more vacation time)? Why can't the people on private jets create jobs and generate billions of dollars in commerce if they have to wait a few hours on the ground in their mobile flying offices? And, and, and ...
Oh never mind. I can't even wrap my mind around this quotation.
It drips with disdain. Mr Brown, you'd do well to consider: Aristocracies have been beheaded for less.