To Fly or not to Fly

By | Category: Travel rumblings

No this isn’t a volcanic ash story. There are enough of those around today with the media generally adopting the view that “here we go again.” Flights being cancelled to and from Scotland and the north east of England but at least we can pronounce the name of this Icelandic volcano.
No, this is about a remark in Ryanair’s annual report that it will be more profitable to ground 80 of its planes next winter than fly them? Can this be true? On that basis, the glib answer is that if they were all grounded, Ryanair would be about three and a quarter times more profitable! I bet stand-up comedians have already introduced that line into their acts.
The argument used by Ryanair is that with higher oil prices this coming winter (how do they know?) and with the reluctance of airports to reduce charges, it will ground twice as many aircraft this year than last rather than suffer losses due to those costs and the lower number of passengers that would travel. What that suggests is that there aren’t enough other airports to move them to so that Ryanair can make use of its planes profitably. Sooner or later it may have to realise that not all airports will play ball with it.
There could be a simple answer. Buy an airport. With its cash pile of about £2.6 billion it could buy one or a few of the airports it has been moaning about. Problem solved and it can charge other airlines for its services. And passengers. They could charge for toilet facilities, introduce a usage tax on passengers for walking through its airport, a passenger levy on not buying food and drink at its retail units and even a departure tax for having to leave its airport. And then when the ash hits again or bad weather comes it could double the prices it charges at the airports to buy things And it could make a fortune by renting out floor space. Each person would get 17 inches wide (the width of their seats) and 6 foot long. Taller people – and fatter ones – would be charged a premium for the extra space they occupy. Discounts apply to those who can sleep standing up or vertically challenged people. But only one wheelchair per airport sleeping area and they must be accompanied by a full paying carer!

On second thoughts maybe they shouldn’t buy an airport!
Image courtesy of Ryanair (actually I nicked it from their site. Something free from Ryanair!)

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