The Aviation Oracle - former airline employee, aviation software specialist, magazine editor and still
photographer - provides unique and enlightening views on the current airline and airport scene.

June 12, 2020

The latest news suggesting air passengers are now being advised to check in all luggage is truly bewildering.  The DfT guidance states: “You are strongly encouraged to check in baggage to the aircraft hold and minimise any hand baggage. This will speed up boarding and disembarking, and minimise the risk of transmission.” 

Loading baggage containers (American Airlines)

Sure, checking bags may speed up boarding and disembarking – maybe reducing the challenges associated with social distancing i...

The furore over possible job losses at British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and other airlines rumbles on.

Whatever the end result, the airline industry worldwide is not going to be the same as it was when the crisis over Covid-19 began.

The Aviation Oracle looks at airline employees other than pilots regarding the question of company loyalty and pay rates.

Above: one of British Airways' Boeing 777s (Kevan James).

Thirty years ago, the airline industry was a pleasant place to work. Salaries, terms and c...

April 30, 2020

With COVID-19 infection and death rates beginning to gradually decline across the globe, it might be tempting to think that perhaps light is starting to emerge from the gloom at the end of the tunnel for the beleaguered travel industry.  If only it was that simple.

Left: The airline industry is in the midst of a storm not of its own making (Kevan James)

On April 14, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed the COVID-19 crisis is likely to result in global airline passenger...

April 22, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the airline industry like no other event in its 100-year history. Passenger traffic is down by more than 90% in most regions of the world, and the few services that are operating are flying primarily cargo or are repatriating nationals back to their home countries. Earlier this week Virgin Australia entered voluntary liquidation and four Norwegian Air subsidiaries declared bankruptcy, while Air Mauritius followed into administration today (Wednesday). Some carr...

January 15, 2020

A year ago, the airwaves were full of stories speculating over the future of Europe’s largest regional airline, Flybe.  The carrier had issued a profits warning and had put itself up for sale, predicated by Brexit uncertainty, weaker than forecast demand and currency fluctuations.  Several suitors came forward but in the end the airline was sold to a consortium comprising Cyrus Capital, Stobart Group and Virgin Atlantic in a cut-price deal that left ordinary shareholders with almost nothing....

November 13, 2019

On Monday evening, the BBC Panorama TV programme debated whether flying could become environmentally friendly. Given the myriad of climate-change campaigners that are employed by the broadcasting company and the bias that inevitably results, it was always going to be a stitch-up that would make air travel look bad.

Left: Refuelling can be an expensive business (Curimedia)

One aspect of modern airline operations that is not readily observed by the travelling public came in for particular scrutiny d...

August 26, 2019

I was surprised to see KJM Today covering the London Assembly’s anti-Heathrow expansion propaganda on August 21. As a pro-aviation website and news source, I expected better despite the counter arguments offered at the end of the piece.

  The reality is that Heathrow served 88.1m passengers in 2018, almost exactly ten times the population of London. There could never be a more fitting circumstance for the saying ”the needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few”. Air travel continu...

June 5, 2019

The proposal to charge drivers between £10 and £15 to access Heathrow Airport brings forward the debate about aviation and climate change yet again. 

Punitive charges on airline passengers are reaching ridiculous levels but are unlikely to deter travellers or reduce emissions.  

Way back in 1994 the UK government introduced Air Passenger Duty (APD).  The tax was originally intended to address emissions from aviation, and was initially set at between £5 (for journeys within the UK) and £4...

June 5, 2019

Proposals have been put forward to implement an ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) around London Heathrow Airport.  Charges will be made to discourage drivers of the most polluting vehicles from entering the zone, which will include the airport's car parks and terminal drop-off areas.  Although precise details of the scheme are yet to emerge, it is expected that drivers of pre-Euro 4 petrol-powers vehicles (those manufactured before 2006) and pre-Euro 6 diesels (made before 2016) will have to pay a...

May 12, 2019

Four and a half years elapsed between the final report of the Davies Commission recommended expanding Heathrow as the preferred means of providing additional aviation capacity in southeast England, and the House of Parliament approving the UK National Policy Statement (NPR) on airports.  In mid-2018 the parlaimentary vote to support the Heathrow plan, which found 415 MPs in favour and only 119 against, was a moral victory for the aviation industry that had been campaigning for another runway.  T...

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