Traveling in a car or in an airplane

Published 8:01 am Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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I use to fly a lot. My last flight was before Covid occurred. Since then, I haven’t flown anyplace. I just don’t want the hassle. I drive instead.

Driving can also be a problem due to traffic and watching out for other drivers. I am a defensive, over-the-hill, old driver. I’m sure people watch out for me.

The only good thing that occurred during Covid was that I called my brother often and continued to until he died recently this year. During Covid, he was restricted from going anyplace for a long period of time. I believe Walmart was basically the only place he went to.

Watching TV, I see all sorts of problems with airplanes. Almost all of them have something to do with Boeing. The door falling off the plane was the last straw to me. Over the last five years Boeing stock has fallen from 380 to 174.

Covid put all sorts of pressure on Boeing. There was a severe drop in air travel and a total of 40,000 employees were laid off during the pandemic. That’s not an excuse for Boeing’s problems but could have contributed to them.

When it comes to airplanes, everything has to be done right. We’re talking about people’s safety. When a passenger plane crashes, there’s almost always a high number of causalities.

As far as flying again; I don’t believe I will do it. If I did it, I would fly on one built by Airbus, the French manufacturer of large commercial airplanes. Their motto is simple; “Pioneering sustainable aerospace for a safe and sustainable world.”

Boeing and Airbus have large backlogs and won’t deliver some planes for years. Naturally, the Airbus backlog has grown larger than the Boeing backlog. Delivery of planes at Boeing is often halted due to one model or another having safety concerns; Airbus is seen as being more reliable.

This doesn’t mean they don’t ever have problems; they do. Compared to Boeing, they are the model for building safe aircraft.

Based on deliveries, Airbus is the largest passenger plane manufacturer in the world. Boeing is number two. Up and coming plane manufacturers include COMAC in China, Mitsubishi in Japan and UAC in Russia.

Boeing is the only U.S. manufacturer left. McDonnell-Douglas merged with Boeing in 1997. Lockheed ended passenger plane manufacturing in 1995 when they merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin.

I’m not against capitalism or mergers. But when it gets down to just one in the United States; it makes me worry. Boeing has too close a relationship with the government and has lacked oversight.

I believe competition brings out the best in us and don’t believe the government should allow over consolidation. The money in airplane manufacturing is in defense. Boeing is the fourth largest defense contractor; I hope the planes they build for the defense of America are safe.

A lot of people in Beaufort County fly; let’s hope they can fly safely.

Al Klemm is a Washington resident and a former Beaufort County Commissioner.