How real are the fuel price May Day calls from Qantas and Virgin Blue?

Some in the Crikey army are muttering ‘conspiracy’ and others are asking where will it all end?

Keeping in mind that if fuel goes to $US200 a barrel the real question is “where is the nearest shop I can walk to for the groceries?”, here are a few of the Qs and the As about travelling par avion.

Q: Will I be forced to fly Jetstar instead of Qantas?

No-one is forcing you to do anything. You can walk or in the case of Hobart, walk then swim. It’s good for the share price. Shut up and stop whinging.

Q: Is Virgin Blue doomed?

Not unless Paul Little at Toll gets so desperate that he sells the entire fleet to some rich Russian/Asian airline or leasing company and tells the staff to bugger off.

Virgin Blue and Qantas are among the least likely carriers on earth to go broke, go away, or shut themselves down until fuel becomes affordable.

Q: Was Margaret Jackson right, and we were all mental not to sell to the private equity syndicate?

RU kidding? QAN will be more than $15 once all this is over. Ask us again in five years’ time.

Oh and don’t forget that if Qantas had been sold out, the last Federal Budget would have been the Qantas-fleet-repurchasing-and-other-items budget, after assorted assets including its jets had been seized by the bankers funding the raiders.

Q: Will Rudd emulate Hawke, and allow Jetstar and Virgin Blue to import pilots on 457 visas?

That’s not quite what happened but it doesn’t matter anyhow because the pilot gene pool is so thin that people who shouldn’t be allowed to drive trucks are being given crash courses in becoming jet captains.

Bastardry is however afoot. More than 100 experienced Qantas pilots have told their union they are prepared to transfer to Jetstar to solve its claimed pilot shortage.

This is a major challenge to the Qantas management mindset that ‘legacy’ pilots must be exterminated.

Q: Will the great unwashed thong-wearing cheapskate common horrid ordinary people who use low fares now get out of the way of sky warrior heroes and return air travel to a domain exclusively for rich, successful, powerful and important business people and public servants?

Possibly, but jerks like you mightn’t notice because you won’t be flying either — the business and government travel managers who pay your fares are control freaks who have learned that slashing travel spending means they can get your spot in the executive car park.

Q: Are we all going to die in a plane crash because the engineering is being done in some Malaysian shed and the pilots are all going to be indentured Somalians press ganged from their villages?

Only at the rate of a few hundred at a time. But seriously, the most likely cause of a plane crash in Australia will be a bonus-obsessed middle manager persuading a career-oriented captain to fly a jet that has a loose windscreen or crap flowing from the dunnies into the electrical bay for the sake of ‘timetable integrity’.

No, it will be two jets trying to land at Melbourne at the same time without the air traffic control AirServices is chronically incapable of providing…

Nah, it be some half-wit pumping nitrogen into the pilots’ oxygen supply, which they put on when another maintenance lapse fills the cabin with smoke from a fuel filter that was supposed to be replaced six weeks ago, or…

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.