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.