The planes are full to busting. Business is beyond brisk. It’s the same story for Qantas and Virgin: cheap deals and boom times. And now a new entrant to the cut-and-thrust, price-pressured Australian airline industry. Tiger will soon be flying out of Melbourne on single-figure fares.
All of which is all very well, but as we learn today there is a crunch looming: a crunch brought by low pilot numbers and increasingly unsafe work practices. Australian pilots are being pushed to exhaustion while their employers scour a diminishing pool from which to draw new numbers.
One reason for the traditional high cost of flying has been the high cost of any sort of air accident. They usually end in a long 10,000-metre scream, fireballs and death. Which is something to think about when you haggle for a $3 fare.