Aviation is hell because airline exec pay is solely based on quarterly profits

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/29/coffee-tea-or-you.html



I am curious as to whether this is industry-wide, or if there are hold-outs to this practice. How do foreign carriers like Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Emirates, and Qantas rate? Do they all also follow this practice? Or is this mostly an issue only amongst USA-based carriers?


I’m sure that any large company that was run by American-trained MBAs at any point in the past 40 years has succumbed to this disease, which expresses itself in short-sighted thinking and corner-cutting greed.


How to tell the difference, part 2,761:

“Our cars/air conditioners/TVs are now being made by brown people who don’t speak English!” - these are the words of racist xenophobia.

“Our planes are now being maintained by brown people who don’t speak English!” - these are the words of righteous concern.


It depends. The airplane mechanics need to be able to understand English because they’re working from English language manuals. Otherwise, it shouldn’t matter where the planes are being maintained and what language the workers speak.


The progressive left has long been associate with unions and workers rights and has always tended to favour good jobs and good pay for people who produce things, whether those are TVs or aircrafts. That’s always overlapped with racism and nationalism to some extent.

The idea that complaining that everything is being made abroad is necessarily racist is a neo-liberal ruse to make exploitation of the poor seem like the only enlightened way to run the world.

So I agree with your call-out of the “speaks English” part, but there’s a lot more to this point than being anti-foreigner. I have no doubt that people from Latin American countries are just as capable of being great aircraft mechanics as people from the United States. I have many doubts that in making a move like that to cut costs airlines have sufficiently ensured that the people doing the work are, in fact, fully qualified to do so; and the flip side of that coin is, I have a great deal of doubt about the justice of the system that pays them less for that same quality work for the purpose of redirecting the profits of that work further into that hands of a few.


Stop messing with his narrative!


Love 'em or hate 'em, or somewhere in-between, I think it’s fair to say that Apple strives for positive customer experiences, and their ratings in such surveys seem to indicate that fact. So it’s not ALL large companies (but yes, it is most).


If the planes were being maintained in France or Germany, wouldn’t people tend to shrug about the difference in language?

This seems to indicate a very narrow definition of KPIs (key performance indicators) that is exclusively short-term, and will likely lead to ongoing issues (of the sort we see in news headlines by the week). The airline industry has been so propped-up over the years, they have gotten really lazy. Funny we can pump so much into that form of transit, but the idea of supporting trains is some kind of communist threat.


True. A lot of the tech industry tends to take the longer view, in opposition to the obsession with quarterly numbers pushed in business schools. For example, they have to invest more in R&D due to the nature of their industry rather than rest on their laurels.


English is the current international language of aviation. That might apply to skilled maintenance staff as well as pilots and cabin crew and ATC.


If the workers could understand English well enough to work from an English language manual, I see no problem.


This seems appropriate today.


Replace English with “the language which the manuals are written in and in which the paperwork has to be filled”, be it English, German, Spanish, or what have you. In all honesty, though, the aviation industry has settled upon English for some time, so that even Airbus maintenance crews in France and Germany use it.


I’m sure compensation based on bottom line has something to do with it, but let us not forget that we share the blame. We shop 14 sites looking for the lowest fare and often choose the one that is $3 cheaper. We have met the enemy and he is us.


Tech used to be more conservative, obviously, but over the past 10-20 years things have moved so quickly, any tech company that isn’t looking a few years out is bound to sink. So yes, I do tend to agree. The problem is that many other industries haven’t yet realized that they are being shaped by the quickly-moving forces of technology, and can no longer afford to think they are operating according to the old rules. Maybe it will happen, as more young people take positions of influence across many different industries.

I’m 39, and work in the TV/media business, on the tech side. Thankfully I have many opportunities to remind lots of folks in the industry that we must adapt, as the old models of media are dead, and the old definition of what being a “TV engineer” means is changing very fast. The older folks seem to get a kick out of me, although I am often challenging them. I would think there are other folks in other industries doing the same, and trying to get people to align to the new way of doing things.


Possibly, but my expectation would generally be that (as a Brit), a French or German national’s English is probably more considered and correct than mine is…

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Of course if the industry has settled on English, then maybe it’s a bad assumption to think that people doing airplane repairs in Latin America don’t know it?