Airlines: One of the Great Innovations
By Frederic Madore
Up, up, and away. Do you suppose Orville Wright had any idea of the enormity of his invention? That the world would be forever changed, by the single possible opportunity of flight?
Airlines, cell phones, and automobiles have made possible the most mobile society in the history of the world. Airlines have made possible the movement of man from one side of the continent to the other in just a few short hours. How did this great marvel of machine come into existence? It all began with a thought. The thought developed into an idea. And because two men believed in the possibility, the idea took shape and form. An airplane was born.
Today's great jumbo jets have little in common with the early mechanical birds of flight, except the ability to catapult man into the air. We fly today as if it were one of the most natural behaviors for mankind. As if there has always been the opportunity of flight. Past the point of invention, the US Government was the first to actually take flight to a commercial level. A footnote here about the government: If you will notice, some of the greatest inventions of mankind would never have "gotten off the ground were it not for the intervention of the US government. Air mail service was begun in the United States in 1918, and thus the commercial exploitation of flight.
Since that point in time, the airplane inventions and aircraft uses have quadrupled. So have the airline companies. Today we have Delta, Southwest, American Airlines, TWA, United and Northwest. These are just the national operators. There are so many local, small airline operators that we don't have room to even begin. And, let's not forget that the United States Air force is as strong and flight ready as ever. Boeing, perhaps the largest manufacturer worldwide of airplanes, sees to it that our government is fully equipped for all sorts of airline missions. The government has always sponsored the advancement of flight, whether by funding private ventures or by allocating tax money to work on research and development. One more than one occasion our wonderfully managed airlines have needed government assistance to help bail them out of bankruptcy proceedings. The greatest thorn in the side of airline companies in existence today is the inability to operate profitably.
All airlines today offer daily services to the major cities in the U.S., and most connect with the smaller airlines in the rural areas of our country. This is done so that service is available to all travelers, in the hopes of filling the aircraft with as many paying passengers as possible. Airlines must at some point achieve the dream of profitable operation, and begin to look at life in the black, instead of the red.
Now, as you sit back in your nice, air-conditioned flight seat, the beautiful cloudless sky introducing the sun, as it peeps over the horizon, the history of the airplane and the airline companies doesn't cross your mind. You simply want to know what movie they're showing during the flight".