Monday, 26 May 2008

Fuel price nightmare

I think the increase in fuel prices is probably keeping most pilots' wives awake at night at the moment (and naturally, their husbands, too).

Of course, it's been a problem for a while; every airline has been emphasising the importance of flying economically for months if not years, and fuel surcharges have become a constant presence (and annoyance) for passengers - but this is something else entirely. In the last few weeks several airlines have announced they've ceased trading - last week it was Silverjet (the business class only airline) whose shares were suspended, and earlier in the week, Euromanx, an airline serving the Isle of Man, went into receivership. And a few weeks ago Oasis, a low-cost airline flying from London-Hong Kong, folded too - and I'm not even going to attempt to list the US based airlines that are struggling at the moment - there are very many indeed.

So, every pilot (and his family) is worried sick that more job losses and airline failures lie ahead. At best, it's expected that pilots with low seniority in many airlines will find they're out of a job, and at worst, it's feared that airline after airline will find it can't survive. Even Ryanair's rumbumptious boss reckons that hard times are ahead.

Having said that, of course, many of our biggest and most established airlines are still making healthy profits. The immediate fear is that some of the smaller, newer airlines will go first.

But I have to say this doesn't reassure me that much; how long will it be before our biggest airlines start to show signs of pressure? Will people still want to travel abroad so much, given the increased cost combined with the credit crunch, and existing (and increasing) pressures about reducing their carbon footprint?

We just hope that, in the end, despite financial pressures, people will still want to go on holiday. And aviation is vital to worldwide trade, so we have to hope that business travel will continue.

And on a personal note, because I love our world - but I also love my husband, and we rely on aviation for our livelihood - I really hope airlines and the industry in general find a way for flying to become greener. (Although having said that, of course, aviation represents an extremely low percentage of carbon emissions - but that's probably for another post entirely!!)

But, for now, my dear readers, a plea - please book that sunny break this summer. In fact, while we're at it - could you make that two?

1 comment:

  1. On the subject of environmentally friendly flying, I heard that airlines don't actually recycle all the cans, bottles or plastic that is used on flights. I bet an industrious person could make a lot of money collecting and recycling. And reduce a lot of waste as well.




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