A few sharing thoughts

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater must have been bigger than the Bulls during his stay in Chicago this week at the DOT-sponsored Aviation in the 21st Century -- Beyond Open Skies conference. In addition to painting a futuristic portrait of air travel that would have made Buster Crabbe drool, Slater also announced the DOT's response to the riot of code-sharing agreements the airline industry has entered into of late.

DOT apparently is concerned about the safety of U.S. air passengers in light of all this code sharing. To ensure the well-being of our nation's fliers, the Transportation Department will approve or disapprove code-sharing agreements, both future and extant, based on safety audits of foreign code-share partners.

That sure sounds like a good thing. And it would be, except for the fact that it is the airlines who will conduct and submit these safety audits. Talk about the fox guarding the hen-house.

For his part, Slater admits that the whole system pretty much stands or falls on the integrity of the airlines and their willingness to cooperate with the plan. Thank goodness. For a minute there I thought we were in trouble.

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