Thursday, June 16, 2005

I should have been in Paris

Some company called Indigo, a company promoted by a guy called Rahul Bhatia, who was once a Gurgaon based travel agent, but is also the Indian rep of Accor Hotels and Galileo and by Rakesh Gangwal, a former US-Airways boss has ordered 100 planes from Airbus. 100 planes, OK they are A320's unlike 'Ring'-o Fatty Mallaya's plan to run the Whalejet A380 in India, but 100 fucking planes. In Indian airspace. Even if they come at 10/year for the next years, this order itself will mean that the Indian civil fleet will increase a gadzillion times by the time I retire. In the last four days, Indian companies have ordered over 200 planes from Airbus and Boeing, plus options priced at over $5.5-6 billion at list prices. The size of the Indian civil fleet today - 185 planes. And #2, freshly Mumbai returned believes that the mess that the airports are right now will just gets worse and proclaimed that he wants to emigrate. The fares might be great compared to the airlines, but at the rate we are going, Indian airports might soon start looking like Indian railway stations - complete with the obligatory pieces of turds on tarmac. I don't know why, but I believe at least one or two of these airlines will fail. This is a complete re-run of the 1991-92 air privatisation drama. I mean just like media salaries are going through the cycle of 91-92 when Observer entered the market (I was too young to mastrubate then, so these are all single and double daddy tales), the aviation industry is doing the same, and just like media salaries are going to come down hard one day, so will aviation. 100 planes is unreal. Unless Airbus is giving planes away virtually for free, which many suspect they do, this is also ridiculous. PLus, what is this habit of Indian airline companies hiring people (Indians) who have driven big US airlines to the ground. First Ronojoy Dutta in Air Sahara formerly of United and now Gangwal whose former employer US Airways is virtually dead (and merging with America West). I shouldn't be so cynical, but the current insanity is mind-boggling, I just hope avaition correspondents can cut through the mess, oh that's my job too. Fuck, have to work.

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