It May Be 'Mayday!' for Commercial Aviation

Fuel prices, environmental concerns could make that cheap seat a luxury
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2008 9:05 PM CDT
This sight could get a lot more familiar. Just 40 hours from New York to London!   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The end of cheap oil means it’s “springtime for gloomy futurists,” Bradford Plumer writes in the New Republic, but we’re not headed for a Mad Max scenario just yet—unless you like cheap seats on airplanes. Jet fuel is approaching twice the price of a year ago, and clamored-for carbon pricing could quintuple fares. And airplanes can’t run on solar or fuel cells presently, so look for a radical restructuring in commercial aviation.

Things aren’t all bad, as we can look forward to more fast trains and even modern dirigibles. And “those who do still fly will enjoy the drops in both congestion and delays that come with capacity cuts,” Plumer writes. But global worker migration could plummet, along with tourism and business travel. And consumers may not be able to “walk into a Whole Foods in January and find blueberries flown 12,000 miles from Tasmania.”