‘The big education for me is that civilisation is fragile and can be destroyed in a heartbeat' - Jeremy Brade, former peacekeeper in Sarajevo.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

At last, BBC News says something useful

And so tour operator XL goes down, as City Unslicker warned.

But from the pile of horse-puckey that is BBC News gleams a speck of gold: advice on how businesses must survive recession. Participating in a price war isn't the way to do it, since you make yourself vulnerable to misfortune, such as the 44% increase in fuel costs (and tightening bank credit) that did for XL. No, here's their three valuable tips:

  1. Go for custom with higher profit margins, like BA's focus on business class flights.
  2. Hold lots of cash, like Ryanair.
  3. Cut costs, like Flybe with their modern, larger, more fuel-efficient craft.

Things are a little different from the consumer's point of view, of course. We came back from Dublin a few years ago on a certain airline, and the electrics failed before takeoff. They fiddled with them for a bit, then we flew to Birmingham, where they promptly failed again just as we were taxiing to the terminal.

Good job they hadn't failed halfway across the Irish Sea, or we'd have been up there all day.


Anonymous said...

There are just too many carriers out there. I have a 1-2 plan that will save the airline industry:

1. Cut politics
2. (related to 1.) No bailouts

The industry would consolidate and become profitable. #1 is a bit of a stretch, don't you think?

Do you think I could run for Congress on that platform? :D

Anonymous said...

That'll learn you not to fly by Irish airlines. I have it on good authority that one of those pilots, when asked by air traffic control to report his height and position replied: I'm six foot two and sitting in the front.

Sackerson said...

Matt, you're welcome to try, there's always room at the top. Didn't I read somewhere that airlines have always lost money?

ALS: yok, yok, yok. There's an old saying: if you want to find a fool in the countryside, you'll have to bring one with you. Presumably the economies on the maintenance are a reason for the profitability. That and the £3.50 they asked for a sandwich on board - and that was years ago.

Anonymous said...

£3.50 for a sandwich on board? Would it be any cheaper on Ryvita? You couldn't tell the difference.

Sackerson said...

Hoho. We didn't buy. The airport grub was better.

James Higham said...

Oh yes, the joys of travel today.

Paddington said...

I remember travel in the 1960's, waiting for trains and boats, blocked toilets, and the surly Belgians. It's better now, if less fun.