Inside the Fence

July 8, 2001


By John Infanger, Editorial Director

July 2001

Just when you think any airport project can be built, short of a new runway at O’Hare, you visit Burbank. The Lakers aren’t the only ones out West shooting through hoops ...
A model of what a regional carrier can be, Comair, it seems, is also a model of labor unrest among commercials. In our AAAE convention coverage, a regional executive says labor is the major challenge facing the industry today. A Comair press release says the negative impact of its closed operation on Delta Air Lines’ network approaches $2 million — per day. The cost of doing business is going up.
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Jack Evans of Airport Group International (Business Profile), who has privately managed airports in Australia and Bolivia, tells why contracting firms are motivated to keep airfield costs down:
"If you increase the cost to the carriers, then you start driving off certain airlines and then that hurts the options of the traveling public, and raises the charges. I do think that a good management company can go in and recommend changes that could operate the airport better or at the same level of service, but more efficiently, at less cost."
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Perhaps the best words a trade show/conference host can hear are well executed. To the folks at AAAE: well executed.
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The sighs of resignation from GE boss Jack Welch were pervasive in the media of late, as European regulators wielded a heavy sickle at the proposed Honeywell/General Electric transaction. The deal, at this writing, appears dead. With the folks at AlliedSignal and Honeywell still adjusting, culturally, after their merger, this may not be totally negative news. Yet, a Wall Street Journal commentary (June 20) says the block would be a step back for global competition ...
"The legal standard in the European Union for evaluating mergers or acquisitions is whether the acquisition creates or strengthens a dominant position.
"The commission’s Merger Task Force has concluded that, together, GE-Honeywell ’dominance’ will be increased. In response, it has imposed as conditions for approval that GE spin off large portions of Honeywell’s avionics business or detach its own GE Capital Aviation Services ...
"As a consequence, it can be predicted that the Merger Task Force’s recommendation, if approved by the commission without sharp amendment, will reduce efficiencies — not only in European markets, but around the world and especially in the U.S., the most important aircraft market."
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The FAA released its ten-year evolution plan in June, to an industry yawn. Boeing came out with its plan to solve the air traffic control dilemma, to an industry question mark. And Fortune magazine points out that the average time it takes to build a runway is comparable to the time it took us to get Neil Armstrong’s footprints on the moon.
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Finally ...
In a June commentary, Jim Christiansen of TAG Aviation USA was mistitled president; he is in fact executive vice president & chief operating officer. The president/CEO is Jake Cartwright. Much thanks to our good friend Dick Kimm for the heads up.
Thanks for reading.