Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The family left yesterday

into the chaos of some airline flights being cancelled because of a volcanic eruption in Chile.
It seems extraordinary that a natural event so far away could cause so much disruption here. There are still thousands of people stranded in airports all over Australia. Air New Zealand was flying into Australia. Qantas was not flying to New Zealand or Melbourne or Sydney, Adelaide or Perth. Their smaller subsidiaries were not flying to Tasmania. Other airlines were.
What is even more extraordinary however is that some airlines were flying and others were not.
My brother and my nephew, their partners and the toddler were flying with one airline. My niece and her partner and the eleven week old baby were flying with another as they had not been sure of getting leave until later.
My brother's contingent was fine. Their airline was flying. It was a little delayed but not too much so.
My brother, nephew and nephew-in-law all needed to get back to work today. My sister-in-law works part-time and can rearrange matters to suit herself. My neice-in-law works part-time and today is not a working day for her. My neice is on maternity leave.
Sensible thing? Make sure the workers get back and the others follow? It sounds good but it is impossible for airlines to cope with this sort of thing. My nephew-in-law had to rebook - or wait until Thursday evening to fly out. He chose to rebook on the airline which is flying and which took him as priority because of the age of the baby. Of course he is out of pocket as a result. It would have been close on midnight when they went in through their front door.
We are told that all this is a safety issue. I do not doubt it started out as that. Safety is important and not just because of the generally truly catastrophic nature of airline accidents. However my brother, who knows more than a little about the management of major operations, suspects that the scheduling may also be an issue. It will have been exacerbated by the fact that there is a strict curfew on the airport in Adelaide. The airport is surrounded by housing. The location may be convenient for travellers but it is not safe and the restrictions on times cause major problems for airlines.
It would make sense to move the airport to a new location north of the city and disallow building close to it.


widdershins said...

Sounds like the complete clusterf**k that happened here in the northern hemisphere when that unpronounceable volcano in Iceland blew its top a while back. Everyone having hissy-fits, panicking, adrenaline and testosterone fighting for supremacy, and some airlines flying and some not!!! Humans! Go figure!

Anonymous said...

It amazes me that, in the 21stC we have not learned to manage these things better! Chris