The grounding of the Concorde is a sad event. But in light of the
evidence from the investigation of the Air France crash, it's
impossible to argue with the decision of the British and French
aviation officials who made the call.
Sir Malcolm Field, chairman of the British Civil Aviation
Authority, explained the decision in crisp and simple terms. He
said a blown tire was "the primary cause of this accident." He went
on to declare, rightly, that "a tire burst alone should never cause
the loss of a public transport aircraft."
Officials plan a thorough review of possible remedies, and it is
our hope that a cost-effective one can be found. The Concorde is
worth saving, even if there are only 12 of them.
British Airways, for its part, said it will maintain a state of
readiness for the time being that would allow it to resume service
on 24 hours' notice. For the longer term, BA said it may use this
downtime to accelerate a renovation of the cabin interiors that was
originally scheduled for next year.
That's the spirit.
• • •
Thanks, but no thanks
One of Ralph Nader's watchdog groups has made a proposal for
"Truth in Scheduling" that looks like it's more trouble than it's
The plan would require travel agents to respond to all requests
for airline schedule information with a report on a flight's
on-time performance if it is 50% or lower, and its cancellation
rate if it is 10% or more.
Even assuming that this information is going to be available in
October for January ski trips, we think the marketplace is
preferable to government intervention on this point, and we're
content to let travel professionals use their best judgment about
what to disclose to their clients, and when.