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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Money-grab delayed

7 March 2019

If you read yesterday's column, you may be interested in what has happened subsequently.

Airways has obviously had second thoughts and the Tracker app pages have been "disappeared" from the Airshare website. Attempts to load them now produce nothing more than an "Access Denied" page.

Has Airways had second thoughts? Were they directed not to be so God damned stupid?

Or did they finally realise that their money-grab was so blatantly obvious that even a balding pensioner from Tokoroa could see right through it?

Whatever the reason, the Tracker app is gone... or at least postponed until perhaps the timing is right.

However, we must really question the ethics, the honesty and the integrity of an organisation that would act in such a blatantly outrageous way -- seemingly in an attempt to pervert the real figures in respect to drone incidents.

Given that Airways is a "for profit" organisation that generates almost a quarter of a billion dollars in revenues each year, one must ask whether a company with a monopoly over such a crucial service as air-traffic control should be so dollar-focused.

This monopoly has allowed them to generate a very impressive 21% return on capital -- a figure that most companies would kill to achieve. In fact, you really do need some form of monopoly to operate with returns this high... most "normal" businesses operating in a competitive environment have to make do with much lower returns.

I fear that Airways NZ, like all monopolies, has but one goal -- to further extend its monopoly in a way that allows for even greater earnings.

Their strategy with the Tracker App was very simple -- demonise drones to such an extent that the government forces CAA to introduce the compulsory registration of drone owners and their craft. Airways would naturally be the company to administer this system and to charge whatever they wanted for the privilege.

Given that their monopoly position has worked so well for them in manned aviation activities, it's only natural that they'd want the same situation in respect to unmanned aviation.

To explain this further, I made a video which has already been seen over 3,000 times and produced some rather robust feedback and comment:

As you can hopefully see... there's a land-grab going on for "managing" the airspace used by unmanned aviation and this is happening all over the world. It's funny how nobody gave a damn about people using this airspace for their hobbies -- UNTIL it started to have some commercial value -- now EVERYONE is trying to muscle-in on the rights to manage it. And, as can plainly be seen, companies such as Airways are prepared to do "whatever it takes" to seize that control for themselves and then leverage that monopoly to extend their already strong profits.

I also posted another video about the current decline of the RC model flying hobby. Watch it and again, read the comments. It is clear that this once-popular hobby is being squeezed into obscurity by a number of factors, one of which is the growing imposition of ridiculously restrictive regulation.

The big question is... can we expect the government to step in and tell Airways to pull their heads in?

Of course not... Airways pays a huge dividend to the government each and every year so it's in the government's own interest to ensure that this company has all the monopolies and does all the profiteering it can.

And remember the golden motto: Safety first (but profit comes firster).

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