Former CEOs of two major airlines in the U.S. Commented on the government shutdown, this past Friday. They warned the safety of passengers could be at risk due to the shutdown.
The previous CEO of American Airlines, Robert Crandall, claimed the shutdown was both irresponsible and foolish. Not to mention, it doesn’t make any sense. Not too long after this announcement, President Donald Trump announced the temporary re-opening of the government.
Many flights became disrupted at many East Coast airports due to an increase in sick leave from air traffic controllers this past Friday. Delays were seen from New York’s LaGuardia Airport in Newark Liberty International Airport as well as the International AIrport in Philadelphia. Earlier in the day, flights paused completely going into LaGuardia.
Crandall argued there could be a call on the margin of safety. If the airports don’t have full staffing, Crandall continued, then they can’t do the entire job. If they’re squeezing in one flight more or want to say yes one more time, mistakes could happen which compromises the margin of safety.
The partial government shutdown started its 35th day on Friday. The previous day, the Senate refused to pass two dueling bills that could have temporarily funded the government. The goal was to have a short reprieve to help produce a deal to end the standoff once and for all over the President’s demand for border wall funding.
Friday afternoon saw Trump claiming his expectation of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to begin a new measure to restart the government operations to the Senate floor effective immediately. The president said he would then sign off on it to start the temporary re-launching of the government.
Other Airline CEO Weighs in On Government Shutdown In Regards to the Airlines
The former CEO of Continental Airlines, Gordon Bethune, agrees with Crandall’s previous assessment of the shutdown. Bethune says it’s one of the craziest things he has seen in his life. He made it clear he stresses the importance of restoring operations and ending this so-called ludicrous shutdown.
Crandall, a prominent opponent to the shutdown, says he can’t imagine anyone holding any others responsible for the closure besides the president and the government responsible for it. He continued saying their willingness to shut down the economy and all the adverse outcomes of such a move is merely staggering to imagine.
The frequent disruptions in the airports nationwide have prompted air travel workers to send out a warning on Thursday. The notice stated that in their risk-averse industry, the airports could not calculate the level of current risk. That, and they are unsure even of when the entire system could break. This type of situation is just unprecedented.
When asked if the shutdown would affect how airlines plan for the future, Crandall said that it wouldn’t. Only because it should never happen again. He goes on to say this is no way to run anything, be it an airline, railroad, or government. Crandall says long-term planning in any area is impossible, especially aviation unless there is an anticipation of stability.
In the meantime, Crandall praised the air traffic controllers, saying the majority of them are working despite not getting paid. He mentioned that their doing so entitles them to accolades.