Introduction and Summary
This paper is a critical analysis of the article, “Airline Industry at Its Safest since the Dawn of the Jet Age” by Jad Mouawad and Christopher Drew. In the article, Mouawad and Drew (2013) examine the safety concept in the airline industry. The authors state that over the past few decades the U.S aviation industry has embraced advanced technology in its operations, and this has improved safety in air travel. For example, the authors state that a traveler can now fly 123,000 years before getting involved in a fatal crash (Mouawad & Drew, 2013). According to the article, this is due to the availability of reliable engines, planes, and the availability of advanced technology.
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The article also reports that statistics collected by an MIT professor have established that the development of warning technology has resulted in a sharp decline in the number of accidents in the airline industry (Mouawad & Drew, 2013). For example, the use of advanced warning technology in the aviation industry has led to a reduction in the number of midair collisions caused by poor visibility. When an airplane crashes, the airline industry is affected greatly and the economy as well. For example, Mouawad and Drew (2013) have stated that the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash remains memorable because other than affecting the economy through flight cancellations, delays, and lawsuits, the crash was also a wakeup call for the airline industry to strengthen its current rules in a bid to improve safety in the industry. In 2009, the Air France jet crashed killing people and losing the data flight recorder. For this reason, the airliner spent millions of dollars locating the lost flight data recorder. As a result, the airline incurred an economic cost in the form of money and time. However, the use of modern technology has made it easier to come up with better approaches to detect accidents advance especially under tricky wind conditions.
Today, most airlines have installed advanced navigation technology on their airplanes, and this enables pilots to easily detect severe wind shear (Mouawad & Drew, 2013). The design of passengers’ seats has also been improved thereby increasing passenger survival in case of a plane crash. This is unlike the case a few decades ago. Therefore, in the context of “Flying the Friendly Skies” advances in technology, coupled with collaboration between major stakeholders in the aviation industry have enhanced safety.
In both the news story article and the public news version, the audiences who include major stakeholders in the airline industry are well informed. For example, the article explores how safety in the airline industry has improved over the past three to four decades. Advances in technology, coupled with the use of modern systems have made airplanes more reliable and safe to use (Mouawad & Drew, 2013). Moreover, collaboration with stakeholders in the airline industry has resulted in a reduced number of accidents. In return, airlines have managed to reduce their operational costs while their safety levels have improved.
On the other hand, Miller, Benjamin, and North (2011) have explored the economics of safety based on the principle of marginal costs. The authors note that “as the degree of safety rises, the total benefits of safety rise, but the marginal (or incremental) benefits of additional safety decline” (Miller et al. 2011, p. 24). What this statement means is that even though improved safety in the airline industry is a positive achievement, such as the decline in the number of accidents, on the other hand, this comes at a cost because the airline has to invest heavily in order to improve safety levels.
The discussion by Miller et al. (2011) is more objective and complete compared with the news article as the article only delves on a single aspect of promoting safety. On the other hand, the discussion by Miller et al. (2011) explores the various aspects related to safety from an economic perspective. For example, the discussion explores issues of technological changes, improved rules in the airline industry, collaboration with different stakeholders, and the effects of these issues on the airline industry. The article mainly revolves around the issue of technological changes and the effect this has on safety in the airline industry.
The public news version discussion is, therefore, more objective although the newspaper article is also purposeful. Both discussions highlight how technological changes have reduced operational costs of airlines incurred through plane crashes and other accidents. In other words, the two articles have addressed the issues of safety in the airline industry in a logical and specific manner. In addition, the articles have also examined the effectiveness of such changes. The two discussions also address the role of key stakeholders in the airline industry in improving safety standards.
I agree with both the article and the textbook discussion on the issue of safety. They both underscore the fact that with advances in technology, the number of accidents in the airline industry decline. This is based on the economic fact that when safety levels increase, there is a subsequent increase in total safety benefits. Both the article and the original source are in agreement that technology has promoted safety in the airline industry.
Technological changes diminish the costs associated with accidents. The two articles also agree that airplanes are equipped with complex systems that are bound to fail and cause accidents, and this in turn increases the marginal cost. However, the combinations of technology, effective training, and effective structures and regulations have reduced the cost associated with airline accidents (Miller et al., 2011). The two discussions also agree on the fact that after a fatal crash, the ratings of an airline decline. As such, the airline suffers considerably financial problems in the form of lawsuits.
Miller, R. L., Benjamin, D. K., & North, D.C. (2011). The economics of public issues. New York, NY: Pearson Education.
Mouawad, J., & Drew, C. (2013). Airline industry at its safest since the dawn of the jet age. Web.