Opportunity Knocks

Depending on who you listen to, we could now or very soon be entering into a period of greater activity for the volcanoes of Iceland.  Varying reports are predicting that the current eruptions could drag on for the next twelve months or that the much bigger volcano off to the side of Eyjafjallajokull called Katla could also go up.  In fact, the three times in recorded history that Eyjafjallajokull went off, so did Katla.  One time, the ash from Katla settled on Scotland!

So, if we’re entering this phase of activity on the Icelandic seam perhaps the airline industry should actually ADJUST!  Already there are reports that airlines are in financial trouble because of a disruption that’s lasted less than a week!  Not a very resilient industry.  Someone, be it Boeing or Airbus or even one of the engine maker, Rolls Royce or GE needs to come up with something innovative here.  They need to come up with some kind of engine filter that catches fine particulate matter before entering the engine chamber, but is porous enough to allow proper airflow through the engines.  I’m thinking about something like the equivalent of a lint catcher in a clothes dryer, but on an industrial scale.

On the other hand, this may create all kinds of upheaval in the travel industry and telecommunications.  Suddenly that fast rail train from China to Europe doesn’t sound so silly.  What about large scale ocean traversing catamarans for carrying passengers from New York to London in four or five days – a sailing trimaran has done it just over three and a half days.  This could also be the catalyst for a wider scale acceptance of video conferencing as a means of replacing long distance meetings.  

In terms of the airlines, well, perhaps this is their extinction moment in Europe – natural selection moving into the world of commerce.  The simple truth is that not all airline will go under.  Some will and that’s probably a good thing.  Europe has a complete glut of airlines offering lower and lower discounted airfares.  The survivors will be able to raise their prices for travel within Europe.  Everyone will benefit from this because it will lighten up the airspace issues they are currently having in Europe and also we should start seeing higher capacity numbers.  That is of course unless the European governments dip into their seemingly endless supply of debt and bail these dinosaurs out.


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