Saturday, August 23, 2008

High Fuel Costs Imperil Aviation, Airports And Related Industries

If you haven't seen the world yet, buy a decent high-definition televising and get used to virtual touring because that's probably the way you'll see the Pyramids, the Louvre or the Brazilian rain forest.

Even Fisherman's Wharf or Maine's fall colors.

I don't think Priceline or Orbitz is going to keep air travel for the masses, or families on holiday, a reasonable possibility.

Good thing Door County and the Boundary Waters, and the Baraboo Hills are so close, not to mention Miller Park and Bradford Beach.

Have you had the LA-style tacos at Bradford Beach's snack bar yet?

I'm old enough to remember how things were before cheap fuel and deregulated aviation gave us overnight Fed Ex deliveries, People Express, free meals on Midwest Airlines and affordable flights to weddings, conferences and spur-of-the-moment getaways.

When I was young, flying was a luxury. I went to college 800 miles from home.

Flying back home for vacation? Are you kidding? If there wasn't a seat in a car posted on the ride board at the student union, I took the Greyhound, or stayed in the dorms.

Flying was for rich people, or for emergencies, and we're headed back to that era, with profound and varied implications for every nation, city, airport, business and family.

A great piece on this issue, from The New Republic, is here.

In his 2009 budget, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker will propose leasing Mitchell Airport, a fund-raising idea worth a whole lot less these days than a year or two ago.

The airport's major tenant, Midwest Airlines, is a shell of what it had been, and other airlines whose landing fees support airport operations, like Northwest and Air Tran, are laying off pilots and mothballing planes.
If Walker were smart he'd jump on the Midwest high-speed rail bandwagon - - er, express - - since those trains could handle many medium-range trips for Milwaukeans.

But that's a posting for another day, and for Walker, probably an impossibility.

He still wants bus users to buy cars.

No doubt, plane tickets, too.

No comments: