You might have seen the Cardinal’s guest post here on Cranky a couple weeks ago on the Association of European Airlines’ (AEA) efforts to protect its member airlines despite there being little to no apparent public benefit. Well, apparently the AEA reads blogs, has no problem commenting on them, but has so little respect for them that they can’t be bothered to explain their position. And for that, they have earned a Cranky Jackass award.
The Cardinal’s post was prompted by the AEA’s efforts to lobby the EU to get more access to credit for its member airlines to renew their fleets. The problem here, of course, is that if the airlines are too weak to have access to credit on their own, then they should simply have to wait to renew their fleets until they can afford it. He also criticized the AEA’s support of suspending slot rules at constrained airports so that legacy carriers could sit on their slots even if they weren’t using them. These are just a couple examples of the longstanding pattern for Europeans to want to prop up their failing carriers. Yes, I’m looking at you, Alitalia.
Apparently, the AEA didn’t like this post and they made that clear in a comment on the blog. Unfortunately, they also feel they’re so superior that they can’t be bothered to explain their position. I’m republishing their comment here:
Here in the AEA offices we fell off our seats laughing. EU institutions give preferential treatment to the AEA carriers? We wish. I’m afraid your correspondent’s insights into the European scene don’t go very deep.
We could explain, in nice easy-to-understand terms, why schedule continuity and predictability across successive timetable seasons is a Good Thing, but we can’t be bothered. If The Cardinal can’t work that out for himself, there’s not much point.
Anyway, thanks for the publicity. It’s nice to know that someone on the other side of the world has such a high opinion of our lobbying prowess. Keep believing.
It’s that second paragraph that gets me. I don’t think anyone would argue that schedule continuity and predictability are welcomed by travelers, but if legacy airlines can’t maintain that schedule continuity by actually operating their flights, then it seems quite clear to me that other carriers should be given the opportunity to use those slots if they have better uses for them.
Of course, the AEA doesn’t think it’s even worth explaining this to my readers, and for that, they should be ashamed. Do you think that blog readers are so stupid that they aren’t worth your time? You are sadly mistaken, if that’s the case, and it makes you look as out of touch as your efforts would imply. Yes, AEA, that is why you have earned the Cranky Jackass award.
I asked the Cardinal if he would like to comment, and sure enough, he did.
So AEA didn’t lobby for slot waivers and when the EU none-the-less offered them to the AEA (out of the goodness of its heart) the AEA didn’t actually accept the waivers?”
As we said, the EU has, in general, done a good job of being even-handed between LCCs and the AEA, but this is one instance in which they clearly erred on the side of the AEA. There are rules, the rules shouldn’t be waived just because AEA carriers haven’t done as good a job of keeping their financial noses clean as Ryanair, EasyJet, et al.
Amen. Maybe the AEA will actually be willing to respond to this one. If so, AEA, I’ve got a guest post with your name on it. Disagreements are always welcome here, but refusing to even enter the conversation makes you seem elitist and out of touch. Care to change that perception?