Leeds/Bradford-based Jet2 have grown rapidly to become one of the UK’s most successful airlines. That growth is due to the hard work of its staff and of its management. Yet one of the continuous threads of success in the airline world seems to be the nature of its airline leaders.
Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson is not usually a controversial figure but is well-known for his flamboyance. Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary can, and often is, the complete opposite where controversy is concerned, sometimes appearing to relish the chance to provoke opinion. In the USA, the late Herb Kelleher of Southwest was often similar. Jet2 boss Phillip Meeson seems to be cut from the same cloth.
Meeson does have history in aviation; he was once a member of the Marlboro-sponsored aerobatics team and was British Champion five times. He was also highly critical of French Air Traffic Controllers for going on strike, understandably enough, yet was also reported to the police in September 2009 as he publicly berated his own staff at Manchester Airport when during a spot-check, he felt that check-in queues were too long, a move applauded by waiting passengers.
Reported in national news print media last week, Meeson is embroiled in a court case against the Civil Aviation Authority (the CAA), having taken the aviation regulator to court after his airline was criticised for not signing up to an industry-wide compensation scheme.
Jet2 has complained that the CAA has overstepped the mark by issuing a press release criticising the airline for opting out of the scheme that compensates passengers for delays. At the time of the original complaint, Jet2 was the only one of the ten largest airlines to sign up to the scheme. The action came after the contents of a letter, sent by Meeson to the CAA, were leaked to the Daily Mail in February 2018. The letter stated the airline’s reason for not joining the compensation scheme, the aim of which is to allow rejected claims to he judged independently and cheaply. When the newspaper questioned Jet2’s stance in print, Meeson took the CAA to court, and is claiming reputational damage.
The court battle is taking place well over a year after the events concerned and it is unclear as to when a judgement will be delivered.
One of the global affairs that most people take little notice of is the actions of governments over oil prices, particularly where sanctions against an oil-producing country are concerned. US President Donald Trump - soon to be visiting the UK – has tightened sanctions against Iran, effectively ripping up the deal signed by former President Barack Obama and the country’s allies, including the UK, in 2015.
The result has been the highest surge in oil prices since November last year and could be a serious blow not just to British motorists but also to the cost of home energy as natural gas prices often follow those in the oil market.
Significantly, thanks to advances in fracking technology means that the USA will soon be entirely self-sufficient in oil, allowing it to pursue a more aggressive foreign policy stance against countries like Iran. The difficulty is that the effect is then felt elsewhere around the globe.