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On the 23rd of April I was to board an airplane from Vienna to Larnaca, Cyprus, but I was told that the flight will be delayed due to a union meeting. No one could tell me how long the delay will be, only that the first information will come about half an hour after the original take off time. Eventually we took off 2 hours late. Pilot apologized for being late and he said that the meeting was important, as it was about their future.

I find this arrogant, as it implies that anything pilots or AA staff in general have to say to each other is more important than passengers those same people are supposed to serve. It also means, that the issue to be discussed is not important enough to discuss after work hours. If AA will continue this way, there will not be any need to discuss anything as the people will no longer fly with them. I myself will no longer fly with them to Macau this month, my flight to Vegas in October is already booked with Virgin, not Star Alliance as this usually (every year for last 10 years or so) was the case. Lufthansa, as a parent company, would do well simply letting Austrian go bust – their last year’s result was a loss of over 60 million. This would at least allow for a serious make over, now they just lose customers.

Here I come to the point. That same day I found an article in Financial Times “The waning power of equity ownership”. Author of this article touched the point of difference between the real assets of the company and its market value. For Google, for example, this is 148 billion $ and it represents the value of knowledge the company has, or better said, its people.

Since most of the airlines use the same aircraft, have the same costs, food, airports, etc how come that some make money and others not? Simple – the difference lies in people, from the top to the bottom. Like in any business. Maybe this is something Austrian should consider – the value is not about having people, is about what those people do and how they steer the company. Arrogance is not a good medicine for company trouble, concentrating on why the company exists is – and airline is there to fly passengers, not to have union meetings, however internally important those may be.

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