The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

U.S. airlines:
Extorting money from tragedy

Oct 8, 2001

The airline companies were among the first to wrap themselves in the flag, declaring they needed help after the horrors of September 11 to get back to normal. Before the week had even ended, they called on their pals in Congress for a big bailout from the taxpayers.

They said they had no other choice – and to prove it, they announced big job cuts. United Airlines, for example, announced plans to lay off 20,000 – even after it received 400 million dollars in “relief” from those generous law-makers in Washington.

But what else was United Airlines doing at the exact same moment their business was supposedly in a painful decline? It was making payments to General Dynamics to buy corporate jets and to French manufacturer Dassault for luxury jets. Both are essential to Avolar, a new corporation that United set up this year as a subsidiary. Avolar will operate private jets for and sell them to corporate execs.

So United Airlines – which supposedly lost 600 million dollars this year BEFORE the September tragedy – has found a way to start a new corporation, promising hundreds of millions of dollars to other corporations. On the one hand, they are supposedly broke, and on the other hand, they can finance new investment.

The tragedy has given U.S. corporations yet another way to take money from all of us. When these bosses come waving flags, weeping crocodile tears about the tragedy, we have every reason to be outraged. What they want are concessions and job cuts.