The Air France Concorde crash, like most aircraft accidents, will
be dissected and analyzed for months to come. Eventually, the
accident investigators will glean from the evidence some clue as to
the future precautions that could make this kind of accident less
likely to recur. We are hopeful that the answers will come.
In the wake of horrible tragedies such as these, our hearts go
out to the families and friends of the victims, and to our
colleagues in travel who have to live with the terrible
consequences of disaster.
Today, our sense of shock and pain is heightened by the stark
truth that this was the Concorde, the technological marvel that for
20 years was set apart from the rest of commercial aviation by its
awesome power as an icon of the age.
Eventually, the grim laws of probability catch up with every
technological wonder, forcing us to confront a series of awful
"firsts," such as the first fatal automobile accident, the first
airplane crash, the first nuclear accident, the first jet aircraft
accident, the first casualties in space and now the first crash of
a Concorde. Such sobering moments often inspire sobering
reassessment, improvement, progress and renewal.
That should be the case here, for it is our hope that Concorde
will be remembered as the first supersonic transport, not the
• • •
The June paradox
For a product that is reviled in the consumer press as shoddy
and overpriced, air transportation is doing pretty well at the box
office. The major U.S airlines reported a phenomenal 80% load
factor in June. Consumer demand for their services is at an
all-time high, just as consumer satisfaction with those services is
said to be at an all-time low.
Have our deregulated airlines flown into the paradox of being
ruined by their own success?