Pratt & Whitney (PW) held their two-day annual media day last week at headquarters in Hartford,CT. As usual, PW put on a treat event and taught me more about turbine engines than I can explain to anyone else.
My next column in Airport Business will expand on this meeting, but let me mention in this blog that PW does a great job of cramming in education and playing host. The meeting is proof positive that Southern Hospitality—which I grew up thinking couldn’t be matched anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line—has nothing to brag about in comparison to PW’s New England Hospitality.
One aother note—PW and other entrepreneurs in the aviation industry are getting more done to cut fuel consumption (and thus pollution) than any group of tree-hugging do-gooders. Hooray for the free market.
The airline industry changes daily. Will American and US Air unite? How will Delta do with their new refinery? Will Southwest manage to continue its historic steady-profit making in the “new” environment of high fuel costs? How high can luggage fees get?
In the meantime, let’s cut out all this nostalgic glamorizing of airline travel in the 1960s. Yeah, it was nice for a few, but today airlines carry more people more inexpensively and far more safely than in the “good old days.”
Airlines have improved in ways that the public doesn’t even seem to notice. My son recently flew nonstop from Los Angeles to New Zealand. Nothing abnormal about that today, but the ability to do that routinely is fairly recent. That was in a twin-engine airplane. Many of us can remember when ocean-crossing airline flights were not legal. I remember a meeting at which the FAA said that the great safety record of business jets crossing oceans on two engines helped change that law so airlines could do it, too.
One thing’s for sure—the industry today ain’t what it was, and ain’t what it will be.
Stay tuned. It’s an interesting time to be watching.