The day after Airbus launched a new game called Fantasy Plane Orders, IATA announced that airline profits will fall by 29% next year because high oil costs make their already-inadequate margins so thin that they could rose-tint them and give them to plane makers to use as spectacle lenses.
As someone from ASPO Australia commented on Economist.com, it’s not just a question of the cost of fuel now; it’s a question of its availability. Airlines must compete with a billion drivers and hundreds of millions of portable and fixed generators for a no-longer-growing supply of liquid fossil energy. Guess we’ll soon find out how ‘essential’ flying will remain to ordinary people whose first priority for fuel is to use it to get to work, have jobs and feed themselves.
These huge uncertainties seem to have got to British Airways, despite last year’s return to profitability. Their much-hyped new TV ad looks wistfully back to a golden age of air travel (mostly the ones when, BA artfully omit to mention, only the relatively wealthy could afford to fly).
The film’s lavish production values can’t disguise the hollowness at its heart. It begins well enough in deep, solid shadows – all leather coats, gloves, goggles and waxed moustaches – but climaxes with an unintentionally hilarious piece of CGI which looks as if someone’s pasted planes on to the whizzing quidditch players in a Harry Potter movie.
File under whistling past the graveyard.