I’m headed back from Nashville where I attended the annual conference of the Regional Airline Association. RAA was good enough to invite me to speak on a panel that also included oneworld CEO Bruce Ashby and Mike Ambrose who runs the European Regions Airline Association. Our moderator was Bill Swelbar (his blog, swelblog, is something I highly recommend).
At first glance we might seem an odd group to put together but, whether because of Bill’s skills as a moderator or just because we all meshed well, the panel worked quite nicely. We got into a wide variety of issues from air service to infrastructure finance to the comparative dysfunctions of the U.S. government and the European Commission.
One interesting exchange occurred between Mike and me. Mike detailed, quite well, the challenges they face with the European Commission and Parliament saying that they rush through ill-considered proposals and so on, and suggested that we in the U.S. have a much better system and a government committed to aviation infrastructure.
I pointed out that our problem is that our political system and the current political atmosphere mean that we get nothing done, which has resulted in stagnation and a reduction in infrastructure investment. You can make a value judgment as to whether it is better to have a government that does too much or too little. But, the fact remains that our industry – on both sides of the Atlantic – depends far too much on what government does or does not do. On our side of the Atlantic, I know what the result is – a stupid, archaic system for investing in infrastructure. Yes, I said it exactly that way during the session.
In many ways, the regional airlines and the airports are the parts of the US aviation system that works best right now. It was a pleasure and honor to participate.
If you have read this blog very much before you will know that I am on a quest to visit every presidential gravesite. Nashville has two; James K Polk who is buried at the State Capitol and Andrew Jackson, who is buried at his home, The Hermitage. The Capitol was a short walk from my hotel, which I took the first day (after which I met the airport director here, Raul Regalado, at the Hermitage Hotel for lunch — it is a beautiful hotel by the way).
Yesterday I rode out to Jackson’s Hermitage. He and his wife are buried in the garden there. I really enjoyed the house tour, all original items, very cool.
I have now visited 26 of the 38 presidential gravesites.
Second, I have always viewed the period from 1950-1968 as the best era in baseball history. The game had been integrated and the best players played. There were 16 teams through the 50′s and then 20 during the 60′s. The pitching was superb, it was a great game. Look at how many Hall of Fame pitchers worked during that time and look at how many 500 home run hitters from the pre-steroid era played during that time. Extraordinary.
One of those 500 Club guys, Harmon Killebrew, died this week. He was a strong, muscular, guy; but a quiet guy. He was a real leader, who played for the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins (and the Royals, for one season). Didn’t throw his bat or take performance enhancers. Just did his job. My kind of guy. Harmon Killebrew, RIP