Hey, did ya'll hear about American Airlines cancelling upwards of 3,000 flights last week? They had to ground parts of their fleet because they had failed to comply with a September 2006 safety directive from the FAA regarding the MD-80 aircraft. Let's spell that out, shall we? American Airlines was told approximately a year and a half ago to fix a potential safety problem and they failed to do so. Failed. As in "did not do it". Ignored the directive. Didn't bother to fix the problem until they were forced to. However, just this very morning I heard on one of the news shows that American Airlines executives are set to receive "large bonuses" quite soon. Why did I hear about this? Because American Airlines pilots are a little ticked about it. And why are they ticked about it? Well, according to Wade Goodwyn of NPR this is why:
"Four years ago, the airline's unions took large salary cuts to keep it from going bankrupt. Their sacrifice was instrumental in turning the nation's largest carrier around. But now executives are receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses, and that has infuriated the company's rank-and-file employees."
Yeah - the employees of AA took substantial cuts in order to keep their jobs and to keep the company going, but the executives are still raking in the big bucks. What are they getting paid for, exactly? Nearly bankrupting the company or failing to comply with safety regs? Boggles my mind, but that's only because I don't get the New Math. Here's what the head honcho had to say about the safety thing, though (per Nick Godt of MarketWatch, April 12, 2008):
The flight cancellations are expected to have cost AMR more than "tens of millions of dollars," Chief Executive Gerard Arpey said in a news conference on Thursday. Arpey apologized to customers and took "full, personal responsibility" for the groundings, saying the 38 pages of FAA directive for the wiring were "extremely complex" and misinterpreted.Hmmmm. It's expected to cost more than "tens of millions of dollars", but execs are receiving "hundreds of millions of dollars" in bonuses. Hard to feel bad for American Airlines execs when you see that, even if you are able to understand the concept of this New Math. And as to the "extremely complex" directive from the FAA...Yo! Mr. Arpey! In the 18 months since you received that directive, did anyone ever ask for clarification from the FAA? Anybody ask McDonnell Douglas (who made the planes in the first place) for assistance? Anyone snag a copy of "Hooked on Phonics" and assign a janitor to read it to you? Or did you and the rest of your executive crew just sit around in your executive offices, scratching your executive arses trying to figure out such executive imponderables as "I wonder what the FAA's definition of 'is', is?" and "To which bundle of wire in the wheel well do they refer when they say to 'secure it' ". I mean really! How many unsecured bundles of wire do they have floating around in the wheel wells and how many rocket scientists does it take to figure out how to secure them? Those are just a couple of questions I think bear asking, not that their answers really matter. I guess what it all boils down to is this: Executive types don't really need to understand the common sense issues, do they? They've got New Math and, apparently, that's all you need to have in order to get away with legalized robbery in this country these days. Just wish I knew where they kept that New Math textbook hidden. Sure wouldn't mind getting me a peek of that thing...........