“If You Think the Chaos In the Aviation Sector is a Brazilian Thing, Think Again”

Aging infrastructure: Imminent apocalyptic doom? or reason to be long-term bullish on the civil engineering and heavy construction sector, even if we pull out of the “no bid” hog heaven of Iraq?

Marcos Guterman writes that “chaos in the aviation sector” may not be just a Brazilian thing.

See also my

Um artigo publicado pelo Wall Street Journal adverte que o controle de tráfego aéreo dos EUA está perto do colapso e que há necessidade urgente de aperfeiçoá-lo. O número de vôos atrasados ou cancelados dobrou desde 2002. As companhias aéreas resistem a aceitar vôos para aeroportos menores, apesar do caos nos grandes aeroportos. E o software usado pelos controladores é tão obsoleto que há apenas seis programadores nos EUA capazes de mexer nele.

An article published by the Wall Street Journal warns that air traffic control in the United States in on the brink of collapse and that there is an urgent need to bring it up to date. The number of flights delayed or canceled has doubled since 2002. The airlines resist scheduling flights to smaller airports, despite the chaos in the big airports. And the software used by the traffic controllers is so obsolete that there are only six programmers in the United States still able to work with it.

Actually, the article is from the Opinion Journal, not the Wall Street Journal proper.

There is a big difference.

The Opinion Journal tends to shriek hysterically, gabble along the lines of “what would Ayn Rand do?” and emit absurd public policy prognostications — the Iraq war will pay for itself — based on  bogus soft numbers and other forms of nonexistent fact

It is a journalistic phenomenon that is also not peculiar to Brazil, although some Brazilian news organizations do practice it with world-class gusto. And call it macaroni, to boot.

In other words, if you think slinging around the notion that the entire world is on the brink of an apocalyptic crisis is just for Lacerdist banana-republican tabloids, think again! The Opinion Journal practices it, too, right across the street from the Great Smoking Hole of Lower Manhattan.

Myself, have provisionally concluded that the Brazilian aviation sector is something of a bagunça, but fixable.

I wonder if that is true of the U.S. aviation sector as well.

I doubt that that “only 6 programmers in the nation” software anecdote holds water, by the way. I bet that’s agitprop by some tech vendor angling to “virtualize the server environment.”

I am remembering all those grey-haired COBOL jockeys coming out of retirement to make some easy money during the Y2K frenzy.

O problema todo, segundo o jornal, é a lentidão administrativa para lidar com os problemas. A publicação sugere que o tráfego aéreo passe a ser gerenciado por parcerias público-privadas, como já ocorre na Alemanha, na Austrália e na Suíça, entre outros países. O objetivo é tirar o controle desse setor da “calcificada burocracia governamental”.

The whole problem, the Journal writes, is bureaucratic inertia. It suggests that air traffic be managed by public-private partnerships, as has already occurred in Germany, Australia, Switzerland, and other countries. The objective being to take control of this sector away from “ossified government bureaucracy.”

I think this gentleman is confusing operational management with regulation.

Australia transferred airspace regulation to a new entity, the OAR, just this summer, it’s true.

The Government decided to transfer the airspace regulatory function from Airservices Australia to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). This was to address any perceived conflict of interest between Airservices Australia’s service delivery functions and its role as the airspace regulator.

OAR is a dependency of CASA:

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) was established on 6 July 1995 as an independent statutory authority. Under section 8 of the, Civil Aviation Act 1988, CASA is a body corporate separate from the Commonwealth.

So it actually seems like the Aussies split off the regulator from the semi-commercial, quangified airports operator in order to avoid the schizogenic result that the banging of the GONGO bongo can sometimes have.

In terms of industry self-regulation, it seems more like the FSA in the U.K., than it does NYSEDAQ Regulation in the former colonies.

Which seems like a far cry from privatizing the regulatory bureaucracy.

The regulatory bureaucracy — the humorless beancounter brigade — remains purebred governmental, it seems to me.

A site visitor responds:

É a privataria atacando no mundo inteiro! Querem controlar até os setores estratégicos. Breve decidirão que os exércitos gastam muito dinheiro e que a defesa dos países deve ficar em mãos privadas. Isso é como entregar a chave do galinheiro para as raposas.

It’s the attack of the “privateers” all over the world! They even want to control strategic sectors. Pretty soon they will decide armies spend a lot of money and the defense of the nation ought to be in private hands. Which is like handing the key of the henhouse to the fox.

Read Blackwater, The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.

Privataria, on analogy with pirataria, is a pretty good pun. Can I use that?

And I’m telling you, if the JFK Airtrain service is the poster child for the brave new world of public-private partnerships, I am just not that freaking impressed.

Yes, it is nice that it finally exists. It would be even nicer if it actually worked right.

Same goes for the International Arrivals Terminal. Looks nice. Nothing works right yet. $1.4 billion in public money.

And do not even get me started on Homeland Security’s “shock therapy” management plan for the TSA … recently rated “a total porcaria” by independent security auditors.


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