Planes for the Desert

Early in 2008 I cruised with dear friends in the MS Europa from CAIRNS Australia to MANILA Philippine. That was before I gave up flying. I flew with Quantas and Jetstar Airline to CAIRNS from Frankfurt via Singapore and Darwin for an amazing 750 EURO. It was “third class”, which was particularly clear with Jetstar. Back from Manila to Munich via Abu Dhabi cost an equally amazing 700 EURO with Etihad in business class!

I did not know Etihad, but my daughter Sabine, an expert (among other things) in matters of tourism told me that it was an airline similar to Emirates so I need not worry. My friends who booked a bit sooner only paid 650 EURO for business class. And business class was very luxurious, only the stewardesses were a bit like zombies. But I just wanted to lie down and try to sleep. I can well do without all the techno extras. I keep asking myself why long-distance flights don’t have bunks like on overnight trains. It would be cheaper and with a bit of thought could surely pack passengers in as well as with seats.

In July I read in the Süddeutsche-Zeitung, that Etihad on the first day of the Farnborough Air Show had ordered forty-five Boeing 777 and 787 machines (with options for another fifty), and wanted to buy ten A380, twenty A350-1000 and twenty-five A320 from Airbus. Etihad reported a loss for the year roughly equal to one day’s Abu Dhabi oil income. Abu Dhabi plans to invest some 200,000 million dollars in the next few years, “in order to become independent of oil”. I ask myself how the construction of an airline contributes towards independence from oil.

In July 2008 I also read the following press release:

“IEA-Director Tanaka does not believe in a real oil-price reduction. There may be a slight drop in the next two years due to increased production. But after that production will fall, and demand from development countries will increase.”

This prediction seems to me very realistic. Luckily Abu Dhabi has enough desert to park the planes that can then hardly be used. Perhaps there will be enough room for the US-army tanker planes that will presumably come from Boeing as a result of the second round of tendering.


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