Ridiculous. This is, ladies and gentlemen, the dawn of a new era. This is now the era where those with poor business planning can request a check from the government. This is the era where because businesses have built a lethargic infrastructure that cannot adapt to new circumstances, taxpayers get to prop them up and foot their bills. This is the era where poor decisions by a corporation gain it a government-led propping-up, rather then the wrath of an unforgiving marketplace.
This is simple lunacy.
When buggy-whip manufacturers saw their profits edged out by the new-fangled automobiles, did they appear in front of Congress and ask to be propped up, even though their product was no longer desired by the public and they failed to properly engineer their companies to adapt to new market dynamics?
A long time ago, during the United-USAirways debacle, I argued that a company in a cyclical industry -- especially an airline -- goes through sort of a life cycle, not uncommon to a grove of trees. You start up, you have to live in the shadows of the big guys and find a way to survive. Then you grow, and you get some of the sunshine, rather than all of the shadows. Then, you grow more and you have to learn to manage that growth. If you become too big and unweildy and fragile, then you collapse in on yourself and die. But, if you manage your growth and position yourself to be able to adapt to other situations, then you might have good years and bad years, but you'll survive.
The major carriers who are out for another welfare round have gotten too fragile -- they can't adapt to a new market. You don't see Colleen Barrett, Jeff Potter, or Bill Ayer with their tin cups out asking for spare change. Why? They're too busy actually running their companies. I'm puzzled as to why Joe Leonard is out there predicting doom and gloom: AirTran can definitely make money nowadays, so either FL is not as well-positioned as I thought, or Leonard is greedy.
I don't want one red cent going to the likes of United or the other group of outrageously mismanaged carriers for creating these behemoth businesses who can't survive a change in the marketplace. If they can't survive on their own, let them die -- all of them. Where there's demand, there will be someone to step in and serve it... hopefully by a carrier who's actually been responsible in doing some disaster planning rather than relying on Uncle Sam to foot the bill.