An absolutely fascinating prediction

OK, so, the set up. All the airlines go bust. Hmm, don’t think so, but it could happen. OK, so we’ll accept arguendo. What then?

What we will see is a reversion to the type of airline industry that existed when I was in my youth. Back then ( and it really was ‘back then’ in these terms) the vast majority of airlines were state-owned, and existed as what were known as ‘national flag carriers’. National pride required that every country had such an operator, however much it cost to support it, and that cost was very often quite significant. This, I suspect, will be the new normal in this industry. But the result will be that states will make the decisions on air travel, and if they take climate change seriously this is going to mean that the era of massive air travel growth (which has been up about 50% since 2008) will be over.

Oh, right.

Now for the bit Snippa is missing. The world is littered with entirely fine aircraft that are doing nothing. We’ve the same number of qualified pilots and staff as we had before. Airports exist everywhere. There’s demand to be able to fly.

So, we’ve all the equipment and infrastructure necessary, already extant. The demand for the product is there. It’s never been cheaper to start an airline.

And Snippa insists that only governments will start airlines?

10 thoughts on “An absolutely fascinating prediction”

  1. Dennis, Big Game Hunter-Gatherer

    As quite a few of the world’s airlines are publicly owned these days, it would never occur to Spud that governments might assist airlines in remaining solvent in order to avoid having large numbers of (voting) citizens incur losses in the value of the stock they own.

  2. He missed out the bit that back then only wealthy people or business people on expense accounts could afford scheduled air-travel, and those State controlled airlines were loss-making. Routes were duopolies with pooled revenue (Only BA and Air France could fly between UK and France for example, and the fares were the same on each.), consequently there was no competition, service was abysmal, prices high.

  3. So he wants taxpayers to be forced to subsidise airlines “however much it cost”, but for those same taxpayers to be prevented from using them to save the climate or whatever? Meanwhile presumably Murphy still flies to his State-approved conferences on his State airline.

  4. And there’s a reason there exist many fewer sovereign airlines today. Primarily because an airline is another operation that government bureaucrats are very poor at running. Like about 90% of everything else they try to do.

  5. @Gamecock

    ‘the vast majority of airlines were state-owned’

    True I’m afraid. UK had BEA (inc GibAir etc) & BOAC. Then Laker came along, followed by Thatcher & Reagan and British Midland

    @Barks

    +1

    State bureaucrat: “I rather like Gstaad, we’ll run twice daily flights”
    State bureaucrat 2: “Jolly good idea, much better than flights to Magaluf the prols want”

  6. Perhaps, Pcar. Quite alien to Americans. In fact, I’d still say ‘majority’ is wrong. Perhaps I can’t see beyond my capitalist world.

  7. @Gamecock

    Outside USA almost all airlines were state owned; Airports too and still including USA, but not UK

    USA wasn’t free market either:
    – “Deregulation of air travel also began much earlier in the United States than in the European Union, although it was stimulated in part by the offer of low-cost transatlantic trips by an entrepreneur from the UK

    A key date in the US was 1978, when the distinction between the domestic carriers (United, Delta, etc.) and the international carriers, Pan Am and TWA, was abolished”
    https://www.frontier-economics.com/media/3252/coming-down-to-earth-aviation.pdf

    Canada Air Canada State-owned until 1989
    Germany Lufthansa State-owned until 1994; remaining government shares were sold in 1997
    Ireland Aer Lingus State-owned until September 2006
    Italy Alitalia State-owned until 2008, and indirectly controlled through a state-owned company since 2013
    United Kingdom British Airways State-owned until 1987

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