You know how you really hate the process of boarding a commercial airliner? You gotta stand in line while airline staff sorts the haves from the have nots: "If you're a double-triple-gold-platinum-silver-and-ruby member please cut to the front of the line!"
15 minutes later you stand toe-to-toe in the aisle of the plane. You're in a traffic jam while Joe Six Pack attempts to stuff a full sized Samsonite into the overhead bin... Well, guess what? The airlines want you to board faster!
Airlines are used to negative press; seems to roll off their backs like water on a duck. But surely a couple of them are cringing this week in Chicago...
The Chicago Tribune reports, "The two biggest airlines at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport route their jet fuel purchases through an outlying Illinois town, shaving millions of dollars off their tax bills but raising the hackles of Chicago officials."
How many millions? "$12 million to $14 million off their annual tax bills in recent years." That's $12 million to $14 million for each airline. Read the rest of the story here.
Squat and bulky....there's no getting around it—this plane looks like a box kite with wings. The men who've maintained it sometimes call her Old Betsy.
Old Betsy sits on the ramp this morning at The National Guard Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot at the Springfield aiport.
Old Betsy is a C-23 Sherpa. This morning the Missouri Army National Guard held a formal retirement ceremony for Betsy. She's been based at our airport since since it was flown here from the factory in Belfast, Ireland in 1989.
Old Betsy is a light cargo/passenger plane. Prop driven, she has a top speed of 218 mph. May not sound like much of a military plane, but she was deployed to the Persian Gulf War in 1991, and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. While in Iraq the Betsy earned another sort of nickname: "The aircraft that can."
C-23 Sherpas spent their days in Iraq carrying critical supplies—sometimes flying low and fast to avoid detection: 200 mph, 100 feet above the ground. According to military.com Congress bought 12 C-23s in the 1980s. "The Army tried using them, then handed them to the National Guard. Congress bought a total of 44 for the Guard after they proved effective in moving people and cargo in the United States." This morning the plane was flown to San Antonio before being transferred or retired. The Guard expects to retire all C-23 Sherpa by 2014.
We've found a bright spot in all the wretched economic news: the price of oil is going down...way down. The Associated Press reports that on Tuesday the price of oil fell to its lowest price in almost a year in European trading. Until now, oil prices have been about 50 percent higher than they were a year ago. It's the main reason airline fares have been so high lately. Read more from the Associated Press, via Airport Business. Let's hope oil prices stay low and that air fares come down!