Inside Opinion

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Tag: air travel


Wo Warst Du?

Where were you when the volcano blew?

Not Mount St. Helens (May 1980); but Iceland’s “Eyjafjallajökull” (April 2010). We were in Budapest’s Great Market Hall lunching on the Hungarian equivalent of pizza when we heard the news.

Homebound delay? “Schade.” (“What a pity,” one says in German.)

Those were easy words last week. Now, six days past our original departure date, we are grateful for our extended holiday in Europe and for a safe journey home.

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Easy does it, Earth

Eyjafjallajokull has reminded us who is in charge. For all of our efforts to manage Planet Earth, it only takes one minor hiccup from the blue marble itself to send us scrambling for our collective mommies. Witness how European commerce, transportation and overall confidence in our global society is withering under the spreading plume of volcanic pumice and ash.

Earth itself can absorb such minor irritations as a 7.9 quake, a tsunami, or an eruption of an unpronounceable Icelandic volcano, but the creatures that scurry around on the crust may not fare as well. We need only look to

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Eight years later, dots still unconnected

Eight years later, dots still unconnected.

In a mere week and a half, the Obama administration’s line on the Christmas Day terror attempt has undergone a remarkable evolution.

The weekend before last, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asserted that Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was acting alone. President Obama described him as “an isolated extremist.”

How did they know? They didn’t. A few days later, Obama said that al-Qaida “trained him, equipped him with those explosives and directed him to attack that plane headed for America.”

On Tuesday came something far more disturbing. Obama said explicitly that U.S. intelligence had reports of Abdulmutallab’s ties to al-Qaida prior to the attack, “but our intelligence community failed to connect those dots, which would have placed the suspect on the no-fly list.”
If that’s true, it’s shocking news eight years after 9/11.
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Quieter, cleaner, safer skies? Sign us up

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Boeing 737s land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport many times a day, but a recent 3 a.m. arrival was something special.

An Alaska Airlines jet touched down carrying 40 engineers and technicians who were on hand to witness a test run of the future of air travel.

Their landing was characterized by a short approach, a smooth descent, and minimal chatter between the pilots and air traffic controllers. In other words, it was anything but ordinary.

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Tuesday’s editorials: Hanford nuclear waste dump, better technology in the skies

Hanford was rejected as a permanent high-level nuclear waste storage site in the 1980s. Now Harry Reid and Barack Obama look like they plan to make it one anyway.

The FAA’s long-promised GPS-based air traffic control system, which recently got a test run at Sea-Tac, is good for the environment, good for travelers and good for airport neighbors.

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