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Is this the end for cheap airline fares?

Julie Johnsson, Chicago Tribune
Fuel costs, big merger plans shake industry

Kiss goodbye the era of $34 airfares to the East Coast from Chicago, and $200 fares to Europe.

The U.S. airline industry is undergoing a radical makeover and the first casualty, observers say, is the ultralow pricing that has sent Americans to the skies in record numbers but left carriers fighting to stay in business.

The changes hit home last month for Chicago technology executive Ian Drury, who saw the price of a ticket to India that he had planned to purchase jump $1,500, overnight.
(20 April 2008)

Air trips slowest in past 20 years

Thomas Frank, USA TODAY
Air travel is slower than at any time in the past two decades, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

Congestion on the ground and in the sky is adding more than an hour to some routes as planes take longer to taxi and fly to their destinations, according to USA TODAY’s computer review of millions of Department of Transportation (DOT) records.

Some examples are stark: The typical flight from Las Vegas to New York’s Kennedy Airport last year took six hours and 10 minutes, compared with four hours and 37 minutes in 1988. Flying from Honolulu to San Diego took on average seven hours and 23 minutes last year, while the same trip took five hours two decades ago.
(18 April 2008)
Leanan pointed this out on the Apr 18 Drumbeat (TOD), as an example of Joseph Tainter’s idea of growing inefficiency as society’s become more complex. -BA

Policies to Develop a Low Emissions Transport Sector in Australia

Mark Reynolds, The Oil Drum: Australia/New Zealand

10th April 2008
Submission regarding Garnaut Climate Change Review Issues Paper 5
Policies to Develop a Low Emissions Transport Sector in Australia

Professor Garnaut,

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this submission. In the following pages I set out to show that you have not included in your thinking to date the most disruptive factor affecting transport emissions. Given that oil is the lifeblood of our transport system I provide evidence that escalating oil costs and supply constraints are real and critical within short planning horizons. I then describe four linked and supportive policy thrusts to develop a low emissions transport sector in Australia, with economic, social and environmental benefits.

I write based on many years experience as a business advisor recommending ways for large companies to deliver goods to their customers more efficiently. I have worked on all types of freight networks from the transport of bulk goods to the “fresh daily” operations which deliver bread and milk to every food outlet in Australia. This submission focuses on the efficiency and sustainability of Australia’s transport operations, including brief mention of the built environment which our transport networks serve and are shaped by.

The Issues paper from Forum 5 – Transport, Planning and Built Environment – highlights robust recent growth in emissions from the Australian transport sector and seeks input on policies to encourage cost-effective emissions reductions in passenger and freight transport by land, sea and air. Some technical options and barriers to change are discussed in the issues paper and the Forum presentations. The stated context for the issues paper is continued growth in demand for transport services as a key enabler of economic growth and social activity in Australia.

However the issues canvassed do not include a critical interfering factor from beyond our borders – the looming global supply-side constraints on the oil needed to fuel ongoing growth in transport activities and emissions. There is overwhelming evidence from numerous sources (for example IEA 2007, Rubin and Buchanan 2008, Simmons 2008, van der Veer 2008) predicting imminent and worsening supply shortages of oil fuels for transport during coming years and decades. Such shortages will seriously and rapidly disrupt past patterns of transport use, especially personal use of cars, and may be expected to significantly reduce emissions from some parts of the transport sector, perhaps in an abrupt and unplanned manner.
(17 April 2008)
Full submission (PDF).

UPS Avoids Left Turns to Save Fuel, Reduce Emissions and Improve Safety

Press release, United Parcel Service (UPS)
For 100 years, UPS employees have worked to find the most efficient solutions for delivering packages in a safe and timely manner. Careful route planning has been fundamental to the way UPS has always done business.

One of the ways UPS achieves efficiencies is through careful study of the methods used to deliver packages. Time studies led UPS to discover that avoiding left-hand turns would save time, conserve fuel, reduce emissions and reduce the potential for accidents. UPS managers (who for years planned routes by physically driving each one and plotting on maps) began experimenting with their routes to see if right hand turns would increase efficiency. It worked. For decades, UPS has designed routes in a series of loops with as few left-hand turns as possible.
(no date)