I am referring mainly to this endless debacle of airlines going out of business. First of all I want to consider insurance, in the round. Over a period of nearly 60 years I have been duped a number of times, by allegedly responsible and trustworthy insurance companies, because the small print has been both ambiguous and basically interpreted in the interests of the company rather than the client. One of the aspects of this current scourge has been that many of the travellers have innocently believed that they were covered for such an eventuality. From my own experience I believe that the whole of the insurance industry should be more under government scrutiny, so the conditions are transparent to the most unworldly and innocent of clients.
A writer on air travel and airway logistics, speaking on the television news, stated that there had been about 25 instances of aeroplanes being grounded without warning as a result of the firm going into receivership. He then blandly stated that this last instance was as a result of the accountants responsible for the receivership, refusing to permit the tour company to fly their planes home. What I found even more remarkable was that he blandly said that there will be many more occasions like this one. I would have thought, after the first two or three occurrences, and in the face of the occurrence being repeated as a result of the price of oil, that there would have been an international agreement whereby governments interceded in these situations and would have some agreement to arrange for the aircraft to return to base bringing with them as many of the holidaymakers as possible, and where necessary, utilise them further and bring back the remainder. To my simple mind the transportation logistics were in place and could have been triggered almost instantly. This would have had the effect of saving the individual vast sums of money for overnight stays, finding other transport, and the worry, especially for those with young children. The fact that after 25 such occurrences there is still nothing in place, seems to me a total lack of humanity by the travel industry and the governments involved.
I am neither an accountant nor a logistical engineer, but there seems to have been more than a little sleight of hand when it came to the cost of fuel. As I understand it, when the fuel price rose so dramatically, whether by necessity or design, the tour operators felt it necessary to enter into supply contracts at a fixed price in order to remain solvent. It would seem that the information that they had upon which they made this decision was clearly wrong, because the price of fuel then dropped. A large number of the denizens of this world are going to be seriously affected over the next two years by the credit crunch, with no redress, many through no fault of their own. It would therefore seem logical that at times of serious need such as in the case set out here, some relief to the individual should be forthcoming, even if it is at the expense of the heavily taxed lower and middle-classes.