Two Shows Shift Focus from Airlines to Government's Problems with Air Travel

     How do you prevent runway collisions at America’s airports? Fix the FAA, said CNN’s “American Morning” and ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson.”


     For a change, the media gave the government a hard time about air travel instead of the airlines, reporting on new Federal Aviation Administration guidelines for better runway safety.


     "The FAA commission admits that runway collisions are an increasing threat," said ABC’s Lisa Stark, cautioning that new rules could "lead to some more delays," but the report did not indicate the airlines were a part of the problem.


     Jessica Yellin at "American Morning" focused on the FAA's problems, explaining, “FAA employees say that they don’t have nearly enough staff to handle the 62 million takeoffs and landings every year. At times they say they are asked to work 10-hour days, 6 days a week, leaving them fatigued and more likely to make mistakes.”


     Yellin also mentioned improving air traffic control technology, saying the FAA is going to “look at new technology that helps air traffic controllers determine where all the planes are in their taxiing and landing patterns.”


     This is in contrast to NBC's Meredith Vieira August 15, who asked the Northwest Airlines CEO to guarantee no more flights would be cancelled.


     Likewise, CBS's Randall Pinkston held airlines responsible when he said August 12 that it would cost airlines more money to provide more services to passengers but charged: "airline analysts say [the airlines] can afford it." He pointed to Northwest Airlines' $2 billion profit, neglecting to point out its bankruptcy status only a few months prior.


    The ABC and CNN reports said the Federal Aviation Administration is recommending new pilot training on taxiing, repainting runways with brighter paint, reviews of airports, and new taxiing procedures to minimize pilot distractions.


     The Wall Street Journal August 13 said the air traffic control system "approached gridlock early this summer, with more than 30% of June flights late, by an average of 62 minutes."

     The Journal also pointed out that even though there have been calls for more regulation and calls by the head of the Federal Aviation Administration to “consolidate some of their numerous flights on larger planes,” there are two problems with the latter.

     “One is that airlines like having more flights with smaller jets. The other is that passengers like it, too,” the Journal said.