Ya gotta have some gumption to go to a foreign capital and spend your time there publicly criticising your host nation, but when the gumptionist is IATA’s Giovanni Bisignani, people will listen. Bisignani, known to most as simply GB or Giovanni, was in Washington, telling industry groups that President Bush’s “headline” moves to step in and cut red tape to aid holiday flyers was “a political placebo for a serious long-term illness.” The chief executive and director general of the world association, Bisignani told an industry group that Congress shared the Bush blame because “Short-sighted politicians, particularly the Congress, did not give the FAA the means to improve air-traffic management.” In New York, “neglect has left one of the biggest international gateways to the USA with an airport and air-traffic management infrastructure that cannot cope and where the slow pace of improvement is an embarrassment,” he told the Aero Club of Washington.
Trying to reduce delays by reducing the number of flights, he says, is wrong, as is the suggestion by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters that congestion pricing was probably a good idea for JFK angered. Bisignani, who had met with Peters just a few hours before his speech, said, “Instead of addressing the problem, DoT wants to change the way people travel by making it more expensive to travel at peak times. Congestion pricing has never worked for air transport. Congestion pricing for roads is an incentive to use public transport.” And before leaving the reporters for a scheduled visit with the Transportation Security Administration’s chief, Kip Hawley, Bisignani added, “To be blunt, I see more hassle than value” in the $30 billion the industry has spent on security since 2001. No doubt that’s exactly what he told the nation’s top airport cop.