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Airline Regulations?

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Regardless of the intentions of regulations -- of any kind -- they are necessarily bad. It is the right of the company to offer whatever service or product they want, and the right of the customer to acquire whatever service or product they are willing to pay for. It is not the business of government to define the standards of what may be offered or accepted in the marketplace. If customers are willing to accept greater risk for a better product, that is their right; if customers are willing to accept an inferior product with reduced risk, that is their right. If there is enough competing demand, both products will flourish.

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The usual argument in favor of regulations invariably stresses safety. To hear the statists talk, airlines would make the most money if they had a crash or two each year. I won't rehash the argument here, but whenever I think of it I'm reminded of something I read:

The Titanic, as is well known, did not have enough lifeboats to evacuate the ship's full complement of passnegers and crew. Yet it did carry as many lifebaots as the regulations at the time mandated, which based the number of lifeboats on a ship's tonnage rather than how many people it carried.

I haven't been able to confirm that, but it does ring true. I'd appreciate a confirmation or a correction.

Back to airlines, there is only one thing in the regulations that might, and I stress might, be reasonable: the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

Absent a government regulation, I should think airlines and their insurers would like to have them anyway. Why? Because knowing how a plane went down allows you to prevent the same thing from happening again.

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