Letters to the Editor

Readers write about record airline delays, enforcing a realistic immigration policy, and serving in the Israeli army.

Delays in flying caused by the 'hub-and-spoke network'

The Aug. 9 article, "What airlines are doing to reduce record delays," accurately stated that Congress is considering the most equitable way to pay for aviation system upgrades to expand capacity. But the article overlooked two key points.

First, the story fails to tell readers what's driving the cost of the system. That would be the commercial airlines and their expensive "hub-and-spoke network." At a hub, aircraft arrive in waves, and passengers transfer between aircraft during the periods when these waves are on the ground. By using a "hub-and-spoke" network, airlines are able to increase the load factors on aircraft and to provide more frequent departures for passengers. The Government Accountability Office has twice reached this conclusion, as have airline executives themselves in the past.

People in general aviation who mostly operate small aircraft are willing to pay more in taxes to modernize the aviation system. We support a measure in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2881) that would increase taxes for flights by up to 40 percent. The general aviation community is prepared to pay for modernization – we just don't want to fund another tax break for the big airlines.

Ed Bolen

President and CEO

National Business Aviation Association

Washington, D.C.

Enforce a realistic immigration policy

While I respect the concern expressed in the Aug. 14 editorial, "A worthy check on illegal workers," for the enforcement of laws in place regarding illegal immigration, I find the view a bit out of touch with reality.

The reality is we have illegal immigrants who are as much a part of our communities as those of us with legal status. We have essentially ignored enforcement of laws in place for decades, which signaled a tacit approval of the practice. As a result, we have borne both the costs of that course of action (in the provision of social services and other benefits) and the benefits of an increase in our labor force.

While many jobs taken by illegal immigrants are entry-level jobs that pay minimum wage, why should those willing to take the job be penalized? Overall, the benefits of the illegal immigrants have more than likely outweighed the cost in terms of the added growth in our economy that they have helped create. I think the US as a country has lost something along the way.

Many people have become small and mean as our power has grown. They have forgotten that most of their families arrived here just a few generations ago.

Charles Merritt
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Serving in the Israeli army

Thank you for the Aug. 14 article, "Israeli youths opt out of army service," about Israeli youth requesting exemptions from army service. Dror Mizrachi is entitled to his view, which, regretfully, I do not share. Israel is not in the position of a country like Norway or Denmark. In a peaceful setup there would be no justification for compulsory military service. Occupation of territories is certainly against my principles as they are Mizrachi's. Two of my grandsons are in the army; two of my granddaughters will be drafted very soon. Their parents, spouses, myself, and my spouse were in the army and served because we believed it was our inherent right to defend our tiny country and its people.

Mizrachi's stand on this issue is his own. The majority of young Israelis do not feel that this is the way to bring about a lasting peace with our neighbors.

Ruth Rasnic
Herzliya, Israel

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to Readers Write and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail OpEd.

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