The European Commission defends the payments of subsidies to ailing airlines as a cushion needed to make their overhaul possible ("Is this any way to deregulate an industry?" International Business, Aug. 15). I doubt that a carrier such as Air France is seriously committed to overhauling itself. Cutting 5,000 jobs might help the airline's balance sheet but probably doesn't improve customer service. And its lousy customer service is what drives passengers away.
As long as Air France gets a cash infusion every now and then, it will continue to have staff that tells you to fly with another carrier if you are not happy with the service. Putting such carriers to sleep and selling their routes and planes to carriers that are more capable would help the consumer and would save the taxpayer a considerable amount of money. Only nonsubsidized competition among the different carriers will introduce competitive fares and reasonable baggage allowances as well as friendly and fast service to European air travelers.
LET THE "INVISIBLE HAND"" CAP BALLPLAYERS' PAY
The baseball strike in the U.S. ("Ste-e-e-rike?", American News, Aug. 15) pits the owners against the players over what amounts to wage controls. However, the U.S. is supposed to be the place where the free-market principle runs proud. If the baseball experts are correct, then Adam Smith's "invisible hand" would ensure that fair-market conditions would be found without limitations such as salary caps. Let the ballplayers shop for their best offer, and let the fans decide if the price is right. And let the Indians finally find some fame.
P.S. Even a baseball fan living at the base of the German Alps knows that John Olerud, the man who flirted with .400 in 1993, is first baseman for Toronto and not an outfielder. Ste-e-e-rike 1.