I had never thought much about this idea – until I read about the crash of an Irish air carrier – Manx2. I fly an average of 150,000 – 200,000 miles a year – I had made an assumption up to this point, that an airline is an airline. Not so fast!
When a Manx2 plane crashed killing the pilots and four others… Manx2 said it wasn’t an airline after all. Pardon me?!?!?! It said it was just a ticket seller. Someone else was responsible for what happened up in the sky. Hold that thought…
The crash took place on a foggy morning at the Cork, Ireland airport three years ago and is now the subject of a lengthy report by Ireland’s Air Accident Investigation Unit. As we see rapid movement and lightening changes into what had always been regulated businesses like cabs (think Uber and Lyft) and lodging (think AirBNB)…this will give you reason to pause.
Manx2 was formed in 2006 on the Isle of Man, a popular vacation destination. Its planes flew between such cities as Blackpool, Cardiff, Newcastle and Cork as well as to the Isle of Man itself. It offered cheap flights to convenient airports poorly served by bigger carriers. Manx2 was viewed as a blessing to travelers and a model entrepreneurial start-up in a mode of transportation that has not seen much innovation.
Hold onto your seatbelts! The accident report noted that this was all an illusion, noting “systemic deficiencies at the operational, organizational and regulatory levels.” No one was really in charge. Excuse me?!?!??!
The plane, a Fairchild Metro III that took off from Belfast, was owned by a Spanish bank and leased to a Spanish company. It was then subleased to another Spanish company, Flightline, which in essence rented the plane and pilots to Manx2. The report went onto say that it “did not wish to have the regulatory complexity” of actually running an airline. Since none of its planes had more than 19 seats, it did not need a British permit for its activities.
Google this crash and you will think twice about getting on a plane! But this is not the end to this story by a long shot. There are lawsuits popping up around the country about alternate transportation. In San Francisco the family of a girl killed by a driver affiliated with Uber has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit alleges that the company demands its drivers drive contrary to California’s distracted driving laws. In Chicago a group of taxi owners and drivers have filed suit against the City of Chicago, claiming that by failing to enforce its own rules for taxi services with start-ups like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, it was jeopardizing public health and safety.