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Airline Strikes Freeze Winter Traffic

  • February 24th, 2010
  • Posted by 7thmin

lufthansa-utednet.jpegCOMMENTARY: Work stoppages by airline workers, and air traffic controllers campaigning against job-cuts, wage-cuts or changed working conditions in their industry, have been choking up Winter travel movements in Europe.

The London Financial Times has summed up the problem this has posed for many, including journalists trying to follow the industrial action and keep hopeful travellers informed:

“We’re thinking of starting a daily column just devoted to which airline sector of what major European country is on strike. It’s genuinely getting hard to keep up. At the end of last week, Lufthansa’s pilots were going on strike but—at least formally—British Airways’ cabin crews and France’s air controllers were still on the job. A few days later the situation is exactly the opposite…

“In this economy there are two types of airlines: those who cut costs and those who go out of business (technically there’s a third—those that cut costs and go out of business anyway—but that’s such a downer). Unions will fight some of the more exorbitant cost-cutting measures but they have to toe a very fine line: prevent an airline from scaling back too much, and find they’ll find themselves without an airline and without a job.”

Other analysts have classified the airlines on an alternative plan: The newer, super-cheap airlines already running on low overheads, tend to specialise on domestic or short-haul European runs, picking the eyes out of larger markets, and filling niches. The older airlines, inheritors of the “flag carrier” concept when each country proudly hosted its own air service, provide most of the long-haul flights.

In the latter case, if they push through their cost-cutting and continue with their consolidating mergers and alliances, will they survive and even thrive? If they collapse in the end, where would we be without them? Back at sea on the “Kangaroo Run” with P&O? (Given some controls on ship-board drinking companions, times then might even become a little more relaxing).

Reference

“Airline Strikes Are Breaking Out And Being Called Off Across Europe”, Financial Times, London, 23.2.10. http://www.jaunted.com/story/2010/2/23/15856/2844/travel/Airline+Strikes+Are+Breaking+Out+And+Being+Called+Off+Across+Europe, (24.2.10).

Picture  uted

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