[Marxism] Airlines: worse things can happen.

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
Thu Nov 25 05:54:34 MST 2004


Louis Proyect:

"A couple of months ago, during the latest round of owner assaults on 
airline workers' wages, the NY Times sized up the airline industry as 
moving rapidly toward the model of bus companies. With deregulation, 
the  only way to maximize profit is to cut costs, either wages or 
amenities  for the flyer.

My only problem with that is that the airline companies can't even 
seem to match up to the reliability of Greyhound nowadays. We have a 
Turkish exchange student from Izmir staying with us over the 
holidays. She was supposed to come into LaGuardia at 11:04am, 
according to the schedule. 

[...]

Her plane had arrived an hour and four minutes *early*. But the god-
damned airline could not get it together to inform us that the plane 
had arrived early. Their computers recorded an on-time arrival.

[...]

I guess I should be thankful that the plane didn't crash.

People in the USA used to make crude and stupid jokes about how 
nothing worked in the USSR. Somewhere along the line, I would hope 
that our how humorists would be up to the task of exposing the 
idiocies of an economic system that was born with a silver spoon in 
its mouth. I guess in some ways American Airlines is the perfect 
economic accompaniment to the political cretin that sits in the White 
House."

Welcome to Argentina, then, Louis!

Aerolíneas Argentinas, the national Argentinean airline, was 
"privatized" (that is, passed on to the state-owned Iberia -Spanish 
airlinen) in the early 90s.  Everything since that moment turned 
catastrophic.  I won't extend on the multiple ways in which the 
Spanish state, showing that it was not only a parvenu, but actually a 
newly fawned imperialist -socialdemocrat- state, robbed Argentineans 
of every and each asset in the company.

Let it be enough to comment that until the Spanish Imperialist State 
put its dirty hands in our company, it was rated among the best on 
the South Atlantic, Lufthansa -the benchmark airline- choosing its 
premises for airplane repairs, etc., on the Europe-South America run.

I will simply comment two things:  

(a) immediately after the line was turned "private"  (that is, 
imperialist-owned) the whole system of electronic processing was 
destroyed -it was a local development of Aerolíneas, and worked 
superbly- only to pass it on to Madrid.  That is, you had to fly 
from, say, Esquel to Tucumán, then your ticket was processed by an 
old and degraded system in Madrid which broke down at least once a 
week.

The consequences are still felt nowadays, as I could verify recently 
during a Trelew-Buenos Aires flight.  At least, I had a piece of 
consolation.  There was a lot of Spanish tourists at the airport, and 
due to "lack of system", it was necessary to form a long queue in 
order to board the plane (you could not choose your seat in advance). 

BTW: commercial considerations have turned Aerolíneas into a tourist 
catering company, thus leaving Patagonian towns unconnected between 
them while offering plenty of travel to foreign visitors.  

One of these Spanish tourists began to complain at the bad service 
that this "South American" line was offering, asking whether they 
would at least give us a glass of water when on board.  I turned back 
and told her:  "When Aerolíneas was Argentinean, you could certainly 
count on it.  Since it is Spanish, you must be thankful that the 
plane does not crash".  And this is no joke, please go on.

(b) actual plane crashes _did_ take place; I remember two.  

On one of them, a plane on a regional line (Air Inter) invented by 
these "geniuses" in order to degrade inland inter-city air travel in 
Argentina materially killed an air hostess.  This plane was a CASA 
(Construcciones Aéreas Sociedad Anónima) flying coffin, a model that 
had proved unreliable many times but the Spanish state considered it 
a good opportunity to sell it to a ghost company based in Madrid and 
serving colonials.  Not only this.  The crew had informed repeatedly 
on a failure in the back (and only) door of the CASA plane, which was 
in danger of getting loose.  Nobody cared.  The plane was ordered to 
fly.  Detail: the seat of the air hostess was located precisely on 
the back door.  Thus, when traversing an area of strong turbulences 
over the Córdoba hills region, the door got unlocked, and the girl 
fell down.

The second one is still worse.  The Aerolíneas fleet, which was in 
excellent conditions, was given away to Iberia (they also robbed 
Aerolíneas of the air terminal locations everywhere, etc.).  The 
Argentinean planes were 'replaced' -on "lease" by the same guys who 
had robbed us- with old Douglass planes which lacked the most 
elementary instruments for air flight during storms.  For example, 
updated Pitot tubes.  Thus, a whole liner with more than 100 people 
on board crashed on Fray Bentos, Uruguay, during a thunderstorm where 
the crew believed to be slowing down and were, in fact, accelerating 
downwards until they stalled.

I remember this accident very well because I had been flying _at that 
very precise moment_ on Aerolíneas, on board a hired plane (yes, 
Aerolíneas had begun to hire other companies' planes, something that 
became too usual now), and when the crew was informed that "something 
terrible" had happened, they decided to land at Rosario airport 
because of their shocked condition.  We would have had to cross the 
same storm that had killed the other plane.

The worst thing of all was complete absence of information to the 
flyer.  At the Rosario counter no answer was given to our queries, 
but this ridiculous one:  "A plane was lost flying from Posadas to 
Buenos Aires".  Now, you can somehow understand that a plane is lost 
flying over the trans-Antarctic route.  But not on the Posadas-Buenos 
Aires route.  What they did not want us to know was how near _we_ had 
been of death.

I  could go on and on, particularly as regards this Fray Bentos 
incident (and my own history at Rosario) but I believe that this is 
enough, though these are just two peaks in the iceberg.

You were lucky, dear Lou, that you live in an imperialist country.  
If you had been in Argentina, something worse might have happened to 
your student.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 
"Sí, una sola debe ser la patria de los sudamericanos".
Simón Bolívar al gobierno secesionista y disgregador de 
Buenos Aires, 1822
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 






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