Thursday, April 22, 2010

22 April 2010: Number 2

The crazily skint boss of Ryanair - one of Europe's most successful budget airline - Michael O'Leary has been waving his arms around complaining about the refunds his company will have to pay out to the tens of thousands (not millions, surely his company do not have that many passengers) of passengers they have inconvenienced in the past week or so - due to the volcano in Iceland. Well, since he runs a budget airline, and from my working experience, he is as skint and tight-arsed as there can be. Fine. But all the other airlines are all waving their arms around saying the same thing.

Let's analyse this a bit before we come to a conclusion.

1) Airlines

All of them are facing uncertainty after the insanely bad year they all had last year. Many airlines have filed for bankruptcy and are facing closure. This means thousands of people more will lose their jobs. Meanwhile, we hear the "2009 Financial Crisis" is over. Yeah right! So they are having it tough, and this volcanic ash is not helping them out. Airlines were losing tens of millions of euros per day they were not operating. They are relatively justified to make complaints about these EU policies for payout to passengers. But they should do better to lobby extremely hard and well to have the EU bail them out. The banks could, why can't airlines. I think these Eurocrats also like flying quite a bit (perk from the job... and nearly no tax, and, and, and...). I know this because they have a huge employment quota for Travel Agents to deal with their needs. So get some of this EU money!

2) Passengers

Should passengers have to take all the costs themselves for something which is, more than for the airlines, completely out of their control? No! I've been through this with the 2006, so-called, "terrorist attack" in London. I lost more than €500 euros in two days, and I got nothing back from British Airways. I believe they said that "terrorism" is not on their insurance policy... After 9/11? Really?! But anyways, the EU has a set of rules to govern this situation and it stipulates that the airlines have to support the passengers in these events. Whatever the business model is for the Irish bloke, that's his problem. BA has more than enough liquid assets to fix the whole issue.

3) Finally... the EU

Well these fat-cats have tons of money in their pockets. They run around my side of town with pristine suits. They pay hardly any taxes. And they are very well paid... FROM MY TAX MONEY! They came up with the rules to govern situations like this, or did they? Well, no-one planned for the volcanic ash contingency. No-one. If someone tells you otherwise, slap them and tell them: "stop being stupid!" This is a once in a few decades kind of event, and of this magnitude, unheard of in modern history. So it's not their fault, then. Or is it? I just read that the Transport Minister of the UK said, after learning about the complaints from airlines for the "unnecessary" scope of the flight ban: "unless we can guarantee the safety of the air traveling public, there will be no planes flying at all." Really? Can you, Lord Adonis, guarantee the skies are safe? There was a whisper of a British Air Force training flight which reported levels of ash in their engines exceeding safe levels. All military air operations are temporarily grounded again. So, once again Lord Adonis, can you guarantee the skies are safe?

Here's what should happen:

Civilians who were horribly damaged by this week's craziness claims from the airlines (which Lord Adonis condones 100%, by the way). Airlines forces the EU for a bail-out citing the ineffective decision making process throughout the European Institutions. EU finally falls to its knees because if airlines go bankrupt, Eurocrats can no longer travel on public budget. So EU pays the Airlines out, who in turn pays the public. So, tax money not gone to waste anymore.

Elect me to power and I will fix all the problems!

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