Editor’s blog: Safety concerns add to airlines’ woes

The Spanair crash in Madrid could not have come at a worse time for a business that is really suffering all over the world. What everyone in aviation is now dreading is solid evidence that cost-paring or cutting safety corners played some rolein causing the accident. Spanair was clearly in a bad way, and its long-term survival must now be in doubt.

Safety is all for airlines – if passengers start feeling uneasy about flying then, if at all possible, they will use other methods of transport to get where they wish to go. Or they might not bother flying and just do a video conference instead (which would please the green lobby at least).

In such an atmosphere of air travel anxiety any incident, however minor, is going to be seized upon. Ryanair’s cabin depressurisation yesterday over France has set all the alarm bells ringing – even the FT’s website this morning is actually leading its companies section with the story.

Ryanair quickly realised the seriousness of the situation and put its loud-mouthed boss Michael O’Leary onto Radio 4’s Today programme to defend the actions of his crew. He actually did a pretty good job of getting the facts straight. He’s quite correct to state that when the flight crew have oxygen masks on they are unable to use the intercom to tell passengers what is going on, for instance. Ryanair also has one of the youngest fleets around.

However, O’Leary’s cause wasn’t helped by polar explorer Pen Hadow (who was on board) telling reporters that ‘well over 80 per cent of people on that flight knew they were going to die’ and claiming that a lack of communication from cabin staff had added to their ‘extreme fear’.

Ryanair has few friends out there – in the media or in the industry – and when something goes awry for the Irish airline, little mercy is shown.

In today’s bulletin:
Bovis and Rio in a tale of two corporates
Editor’s blog: Safety concerns add to airlines’ woes
Rock may leave a 1bn hole
TUC argues for ‘Community Day’
Books Special: Kaplan and Norton on The Execution Premium

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    Hi, some people call me a spoil sport But!!!
    through a variety of chosen circumstances I’ve managed to spend the last week avoiding watching and ‘almost’ reading about what happend in China!!
    How would you feel about starting up a campaign / petition to the affect that those who are not interested in the 2012 event get some form of compensation either as a tax refund or some other form of government credit. So that my tax money is not wasted( !) on another finacncial fiasco that will continue to cost me more as it gets closer. I will quite happily sign away my rights to any ‘gain’ that comes from the venture. Another part of my complaint is that once more the rest of the country suffers as the south east ( the wealthiest part of the country) is subsidised by the rest of us. Both for the event and the infra structure that is generated in the meantime. I could go on ad nauseam!! Thanks for listening !! Harry