Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Airlines are normally good at getting politicians to do what they want.
Especially if they're giving those politicians lots of money in the hope that they'll do what the airlines want.
The saga of the new Bombardier CS Series planes, though, enjoyed a couple of stops for refueling on the way to Political Paradise Central.
Delta Air Lines, for one, wanted to buy 75 of these planes, which are slightly smaller single-aisle planes that fly slightly shorter routes with more efficiency and comfort than the rickety puddle-jumping jets many airlines still enjoy.
The slight snag was that Bombardier is a Canadian company and America currently isn't fond of all (any?) things Canadian.
I mean, of course, the current U.S. government.
And so our government thought it wise to levy a large tariff on these planes to make them less attractive to U.S. buyers.
Never underestimate, though, the imagination of an airline executive that sniffs the alluring odor of lucre.
Bombardier went into partnership with Airbus. Well, when I say partnership, I mean that Airbus acquired a majority stake in the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership.
Which allowed these jets to be built in, oh, Mobile, Alabama.
This made them avoid the vast tariffs.
And so we entered this week in triumph. The new CS100 and CS300 Series was unveiled. It had a new name.
The name is Airbus A220.
Please forgive me, but I couldn't help giggling.
Of all the numbers in all the world, Airbus chose this one.
I confess to lurching toward the absurdist side, you see. And 220 was the percentage tariff that was reported as being levied on Bombardier by the U.S. government.
Surely, someone had noticed the amusement that this was the number selected. Could it even be that someone specifically chose this number as a little three-digit poke at government officials?
I contacted Airbus to ask if it was still laughing--and not just because France had made the World Cup Final.
A spokesman told me: "I have to say that you saw a coincidence that no one at Airbus even noticed. Congratulations."
Oh, come on. Surely someone muttered a titter. Surely at least one junior PR person in France texted their friend that this was three sneaky single digits being directed toward a certain president and his flight crew.
"The decision for A220 was based on the fact that the new aircraft is a single-aisle airplane (like our A320), but smaller," said the Airbus spokesman. "There have been other aircraft already called A300 and A310. So, A220 made sense. That's all there is to it."
Yes, but you could have called it the A210, couldn't you? Or the A230. Or A221. Or the A222, which would have had a lovely ring to it.
Or the Airbus Mini-Macron.
My persistence wasn't exhausted. I contacted Delta to ask, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, whether it was in on the joke.
"No comment," came the emailed response, though I could have sworn I detected a momentary gap in the spacing between the ms that signified the writer's snort or, at least, a chuckle.
I'm forced to believe, therefore, that it's just me, sitting here laughing alone.
This isn't new. However, should I have the pleasure of getting on one of these planes, I fear I might chuckle again.
I can only hope a stern Delta (or JetBlue) flight attendant doesn't tell me to be quiet.