Travelling Woes

Contributing Writer

As the holidays approach, air travel spurs debate regarding regulations of the industry.
In a post-9/11 America, is air travel really safer?
I believe the answer to the industry’s short comings lay in basic market principles. The FAA’s mission is to provide a “safe, secure and efficient global aerospace system,” but they have failed to achieve this mission because the government operates outside of the market, a victim of the Austrian information problem.
Therefore, normal market indicators such as profits and losses, which incentivize efficient performance in a free market, do not apply to government-regulated institutions.
The ultimate solution is complete privatization of the FAA.
However, in the near term, airlines should have the freedom to provide their own means of security on board their flights.
Airline companies own the planes; therefore, they have a constitutional right to defend their property.
Had the pilots been armed on 9/11, they would have neutralized the threat without any difficultly.
Some people may think that without government control, there will be no oversight or quality control.
However, the free market provides quality assurance through competition.
If people do not feel safe, they will give their business to another airline.
Competition provides the best incentive for efficiency and for quality.
Also, insurance companies provide private oversight for airlines.
In order for an insurance company to cover the airline, they must meet the standards that the insurance company, who takes on some of the liability for failure, establishes.
Currently, airlines and airports are not liable for failures, and thus the best way to ensure safety is to allow the market to provide an economic and legal incentive to protect their property and their customers.
There is no way to know whether the airline industry, if allowed to manage their own planes’ security, would have armed their pilots and possibly prevented the 9/11 attacks.
But we do know that in the absence of government regulation, a private company will have the freedom and the incentives to protect their own private property and their customers.
As you fly around this holiday season, think about how government regulation has crippled airline security.