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Destroying Planes to Guarantee They Won't Crash

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Yesterday, Japan Airlines received its first pair of Boeing’s (BA) new 787s, ending a three-year delay. The air carrier plans to begin flying routes from Tokyo to Boston near the end of April, with more to follow. Thanks to the plane’s revolutionary design, JAL claims that lower fuel costs will help it meet a savings goal of more than $600 million over the next five years.

Moving from new, fuel-efficient airplanes to older models -- or, more simply, from airplanes that work to airplanes that don’t -- Fly Congo, a new Congolese air carrier, will begin destroying their old planes in a bid for consumer confidence. It is unclear how well this will work.

According to the Global Post, Fly Congo’s chief executive, Jean-Marc Pajot announced that his company plans to destroy five Boeing 727s and one other plane to reassure customers about the airline’s safety. The new airline was formed from the wreckage of Hewa Bora airlines, which was blacklisted by the EU after a crash last July.

It seems that Hewa Bora had a fairly substantial plane crash problem. Beyond last July’s crash, which killed 74 people, the airline also lost a plane and 40 passengers in 2008.

Pajot explained to reporters that the airline had a fleet of planes that had not flown in a while and felt that their best move was to destroy them. That process will begin next month. In a further bid for consumer confidence, they plan to compensate the families of victims of last July’s crash with an $87,500 settlement.

From now on, Fly Congo will have a “well-maintained fleet of modern aircraft to transport passengers.” Of course, it remains to be seen whether customers, in the Congo and elsewhere, will trust this statement.

Meanwhile, recent events on a Jet Blue flight to Las Vegas called into question the safety of the company’s pilot, instead of its planes. Earlier today, CBS News reported that Jet Blue’s off-his-rocker pilot might face criminal charges for Tuesday’s meltdown.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.