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In my humble opinion..........


$13,000.00 to fly home for Christmas, or give up lipstick?

According to the bankruptcy announcement by United Air Lines, that is what it will cost you to fly anywhere this Holiday season. They are claiming losses of $22,000,000.00 a day. Since they have about 1700 flights a day, $13,000.00 is the amount, which they will have to add to each ticket in order to break even.  Does this seem as unreal to you as it does to me? 

If their average hourly worker makes $20.00 per hour, they need to lay off 140,000 of them. Do they employ that many people? No, it is closer to 70,000. It is clear they will not be able to balance their books unless they double their work force at $20.00 per hour and then lay half of them off them off.

They would need to lay off 55,000 pilots at $150,000.00 a year to stop the bleeding, where does that leave us? They average 1700 flights a day.  1700 flights per day times 7 days a week, is about 12,000 flights a week, times, letís say, 2 pilots per plane is 24,000 pilots needed per week. Now if each pilot flies 3 flights per week you need a minimum of 4000 pilots. Where are you going to find the other 50,000 you would need to lay off? They have already reduced the number of pilots by 800, with plans to lay off 600 more. Is this a sensible way to balance their books? It doesnít appear that this even comes close.

What I am saying is, where do these figures come from, how can a business have numbers so out of line?  $22,000,000.00 a day!  That amounts to approximately 8 BILLION dollars a year.  I just discovered that this is the amount that Americans spend on cosmetics per year1, so the solution is easy, We simply stop buying cosmetics and give the money to United, they have done such a wonderful job of giving money they never had to employees they never employed for profits they could never have earned, who deserves it more?

I do not wish to see more government interfering in the lives of everyman, but there is a serious problem with ethics and morality here. It is more than inconveniencing a few travelers; this type of financial manipulation appears to be undermining the entire economy. Our nation appears to exist with imaginary numbers created by feel good analysts with no means of support. Perhaps an investigation of all publicly held companies would be a fortuitous thing. That would be a monumental undertaking, but if we begin with the Dow Jones Industrials, by the time they finish that, the others may have already cleaned up their act.

Richard M. Leland III 
10 December 2002   

Speech by Dr. Oscar Arias
GATE Annual Conference
San José, Costa Rica
October 8, 2001The Importance of Education for Development.