We’ve already seen the profits of Ryanair and British Airways squeezed by higher oil prices, not to mention, in the words of Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, ‘eco-loonies’ avoiding unnecessary air travel. Now we’re hearing similar concerns over this side of the Atlantic, at least when it comes to oil prices. According to USA Today, airlines are planning on fewer flights, less planes, and a shift to more efficient engines in response to a 30% rise in fuel costs:
•Delta will dump 15-20 older, less efficient mainline jets, plus 20-25 regional jets. The change will result in a 10% reduction in Delta's domestic flying capacity by year's end. It also will eliminate at least 2,000 jobs.
•United will remove 10-15 older mainline jets to partially offset fuel costs that could swell $1.2 billion more than planned this year.
United has led in raising fares to offset rising fuel prices. But CFO Jake Brace warned that the industry likely won't be able to raise fares enough to fully cover higher costs.
•JetBlue will sell four more Airbus A320s, on top of the six it previously announced that it would sell. In total, 10 A320s will leave the fleet by early 2009.
•US Airways will fly three fewer planes during the second half of the year than previously expected and could cut back further, President Scott Kirby said.
Interesting times for the aviation industry. Could such pressures make the likelihood of cleaner, more-efficient European- or Japanese-style train systems more viable over here too? We can but hope…
::USA Today::via site visit::