mardi, août 30, 2005

Jazz on Travel (Cheap'n'Cheerful Flights)

Caveat Bocca! While I was on holiday our favourite Saturday columnist decided to sneak in a tiny assault on supporters of cheap and cheerful flights (sic). Since I consider myself one of the standard bearers of this particular category I could not let this little piece entitled "Blues on Travel" go by without comment. So here's a bit of the Jazz on Travel for you....

Beck tells us that there is a difference between AirMalta's prices, MIA's charges and government taxes. Definitely. So? Us CNC's see overpricing in all departments.

MIA's charges for one. Low Airport charges are the reason for competitivity of the Low fare airlines. That is why you fly to Charleroi and not Zaventem with Ryanair. That is why Stanstead and not Heathrow. Low Fare airlines are given advantageous rates to be able to keep their prices erm.... low. Not that MIA does not know it. However for some reason unbeknownst to taxpayer (I know I know we pay to government and not to MIA) MIA decides the routes which will benefit from discounted airport charges. And thus we have the list Barcelona, Girona, and now Basle and Geneva. The criterion? Those places from where MIA thinks we can attract more tourism*. The real criterion? Those places where Airmalta would not get elbowed out from the market. Who is behind it? The government to whom we pay taxes and Airmalta who we sustain with our taxes.

Airmalta does not give two hoots about the consumer. It's rationale is survival as a flag carrier. It is not even aimed for profit. It is survival. Why? Because it is a hot political potato and cannot be privatised and cannot go wrong because otherwise the opposition in our sad dualist system will capitalise on any of these faults. Airmalta cannot benefit consumers because it is run to please government and not the people. Surprise surprise... government priorities and public needs are not always the same thing.

Oh for heaven's sake. Do we have to go into this? But anyway. Government is that sorry entity which decided that as soon as you make a choice to go on holiday you start with -Lm40 holiday money. You pay that to government to leave the country.

So Beck. Different Yes. But does that really solve the problem?

*Incidentally since when is an airport authority supposed to deal with the interest of incoming tourism for a nation? Isn't that the job of the MTA? I would have thought that the job of an airport authority would have been the maintenance of an efficient airport.

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