View Full Version : The Economist Leader Jul 7th. Laughable!

11th Jul 2001, 17:07
From a leader in the Economist titled 'Air Travel,air trouble' sub - titled 'Poor profits,striking pilots,congestion, delays...'

I had to laugh at the paragraph in the section talking about pilot pay and aspirations:

'More important, though, is to alter the basis of pilots pay. Most pilots today are rewarded not for their skill but for their seniority. That must change. Computers in cockpits now give managers ample information on whether a pilot is good at keeping fuel consumption down, landing gently and so on.'

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The Skylord
11th Jul 2001, 22:31
I thought it would only be a matter of time before somebody spotted that paragraph! What a sad comment on the research that went into that article. The Economist has always seemed to me to maintain a high standard of intellectual rigour and I have read it for some years with a pleasure that was regardless of agreement with the content. However to equate pilots performance with fuel consumption and smooth landings is so completely ludicrous it is difficult to understand how such sloppy logic made its way into print. I can only suggest that the author may care to expand on this theme and tell us all exactly how he proposes that pilot performance may be quantified and rewarded or otherwise. I suggest that after only rudimentary analysis he will realise just how ridiculous the criteria he proposed really are.

11th Jul 2001, 22:36
Maybe we can find a way of measuring journalists performance.ie. how many useful sentences are in their articles.

Pat Pong
12th Jul 2001, 04:36
The Skylord Your reply is eloquent and to the point; an increasingly rare thing nowadays on PPRuNe.

mainfrog2 Perhaps truthfulness and accuracy would be a better measure of the performance of a journalist?

Hell, I forgot, why let the truth get in the way of a good story !!

[ 12 July 2001: Message edited by: Pat Pong ]

12th Jul 2001, 18:59
I posted an equally sad and poorly researched article from the ft magazine some weeks ago. This is a real shame as both the Economist and the ft are publications that I have always had a great deal of respect for.

Having said that I found the rest of the article well written and informative, although a tad too quick to dismiss pilot pay claims. But I would say that wouldn't I?

17th Jul 2001, 21:44
Generally speaking, the only wholly accurate information in 99% of all newspapers is the date and the price, but I could be wrong!

Tailwinds :mad:

18th Jul 2001, 03:50
I just encountered that Economist piece yesterday. Bought the magazine just to skowl at it.

It's just another example of some office dweeb sitting in his cubicle thinking he knows it all. And, of course, jealous of the fact that pilots make a heckuva lot more money than the ink stained wretches of the fourth estate. Office people don't understand the workings of dynamic environments, since they're generally not high quality enough people to operate in them.

18th Jul 2001, 04:20
it's a big mistake to underestimate the effect of this and similar articles which depict the problems of the airlines as being due to their employees. how many articles on the same subject have you seen demanding the same level of excellence from management as is expected from pilots and other employee groups in the industry. ask joe public who is to blame and, at least in the US, they'll tell you it's the labor unions. that takes the article off the "funny" list.

18th Jul 2001, 10:32
Vsf, the whole point is that the Economist (which calls itself a newspaper, not a magazine) isn't written by office dweebs. Their hacks are working at the very pinnacle of quality journalism (nothing if not dynamic) and probably earning more than most pilots. All the more disappointing, then, to read the pap that was quoted by M.Mouse. I haven't seen the next issue yet but I'm looking forward to the letters...

There's probably a good debate to be had about increasing pilot pay in times of decreasing loadfactors and margins, but it's not gonna be my head that goes above the parapet!

18th Jul 2001, 11:22
The Economist is an excellent journal and the airline coverage in that edition was highly informative. The bit you quoted was however bizarre. I can only think writer's 11 year-old daughter inserted it into the article while he'd gone off for a leak.

There is nevertheless a message that cannot be ignored, or cannot be ignored for ever. Some pilots get paid a tad more than perhaps they should and this is related to the fact that they often have unusually powerful union influence, and the fact that the airlines have not invested in training so the supply-demand equation is going to favour pilots for some time. :p

18th Jul 2001, 22:00

Well, I s'pose we could get bogged down in semantics, and argue forever whether or not the Economist is a newspaper or magazine.

My point, having worked not only as a pilot but also as a newspaper and magazine writer, is that most journalists in most countries harbor a lot of envy towards pilots. In the U.S., at least, the average newspaper reporter probably earns in the mid-30's per year. Yes, editors do better. Yes, star writers do far better. But the attitude of most of the press is one of latent hostility towards well-paid pilots, and this hostility comes uncaged when the opportunity presents itself.

Because of my background I've had to be the point man for media relations for aviation companies, and if you don't think there is an installed base of seething hostility towards much of aviation in the media realm, then you are mistaken.