When Is a Jet Not a Jet?

By Tuesday, November 24, 2015 0 No tags Permalink 0
In an astoundingly accurate example of Newspeak that would make George Orwell proud, the executive who developed Bombardier’s CSeries jet engine says it’s not a jet. It’s a turbofan claims Pratt & Whitney’s Graham Webb, the company’s vice-president of commercial engine programs. Pratt & Whitney supplies Bombardier with its engines for the CSeries jets so it’s in the company’s interest to help Bombardier get a toehold at the island airport and they’ve come up with a novel angle:  We will no longer call it a jet.
Even Bombardier, ignoring the difference between a turbojet and turbofan, calls their CSeries “The world’s most advanced single-aisle jet.”

Perhaps it’s because, as a Wikipedia article points out,

“A turbofan engine is a gas turbine engine that is very similar to a turbojet. Like a turbojet, it uses the gas generator core (compressor, combustor, turbine) to convert internal energy in fuel to kinetic energy in the exhaust. Turbofans differ from turbojets in that they have an additional component, a fan.”

To paraphrase Shakespeare, a jet by any other name would befoul the waterfront as much.

So, what are we to make of Pratt & Whitney Vice-President Webb’s appearance in Canada’s National Post from his place in East Hartford, Connecticut?

For one thing, it appears that the reporter or her editor has drunk from the Porter marketing cup if the following sentence is anything to go by.

“The CSeries’ engine noise has been central to the debate around whether Porter should be allowed to fly the aircraft out of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which is located on an island just south of the city’s heavily populated downtown waterfront.”

How convenient it is for a newspaper, that’s a recipient of the Porter advertising dollar largess, to ignore other “non-central” issues like effect of jets on the enjoyment of the waterfront, lack of a cost-benefit analysis of airport expansion, absence of funding to pay for expansion, etc., etc.

For another thing, the article looks like another page in the playbook of the Porter-Bombardier island airport duopoly to keep the issue alive long enough for city council to vote on the sham EA and pressure Transport Minister Garneau into changing his government’s position.

Consider the steady feed of print and electronic media articles that has popped up since the Star reported on October 20 Porter push for island airport jets is dead, says Adam Vaughan.  Until the fatuous National Post piece about jets are not jets, the theme has been quite clear: let city council decide on jets. It’s almost as if the fix was in for council to decide in favour of airport expansion.

October 21, Cool your jets: Vaughan still opposed to Billy Bishop expansion, CityNews

October 22, Bombardier Inc’s CSeries could suffer another setback thanks to new Liberal government, National Post

October 22, Councillor fights to keep island airport debate alive, thestar.com.

November 2, Liberal opposition to jets at Billy Bishop airport a blow to Bombardier, Globe and Mail

November 3, Porter wants airport studies completed, despite Liberal win, thestar.com.

November 6, Billy Bishop, Bombardier and Trudeau’s war on Canada’s middle class, therebel

November 8, Bishop jet ban wrong-headed, thestar.com.

November 9, Porter wants studies on island jet plan to go ahead, thestar.com.

November 11, Porter Airlines works to win Liberals over for Toronto airport expansion as it enters debt-free era, National Post

November 13, Liberals have jumped the gun by shutting down Billy Bishop jets debate, Globe and Mail

November 15, What happened to fact-based decision-making on island airport?: Editorial, thestar.com.

November 16, Studies continue on “dead” island airport jets proposal, thestar.com.

November 17, Terence Corcoran: Liberals abandon ‘evidence-based policy’ in Toronto, National Post

November 21, Mr. Trudeau’s Bombardier problem, iPolitics

That’s a total of at least 15 mentions in a month or one every two days. Somebody must be calling in their markers.

Back to the question.  When is a jet not a jet?  It’s when you’re looking for a Hail Mary pass.

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