I can predict that 2020 will bring many news stories about air travel. This week we have the saga of Flybe, and the paradox that rail travel is tax subsidised by £29bn a year, road travel by £15bn a year but that passengers of airlines competing with these modes of travel within the UK must pay through the ticket price to build their own airports, buy and operate their own aircraft without subsidy and allow the operators to collect additional taxes from passengers to boot in the form of APD. Despite the predictable whines from the rest of the industry, the government has agreed to give Flybe a pause by postponing tax due.
Then there's saving the planet. St Greta avoided air travel by crossing the Atlantic in a large private yacht, but that's not an option available to many. The wealthy and virtuous have the option of booking passenger cabins on merchant vessels - these have been a little known secret for many years but are hardly a substitute for business travellers. I suppose we could tax air travel back to the ticket prices of the 1960s to discourage use, but this would need to be a global initiative.
Then there's airport expansion and nuisance. Heathrow rows haven't even seriously started yet, and not a single elderly home counties lady has yet chained herself to the bulldozers. And we've yet to see the egregious Meghan Markle flying back first class long haul to LHR and forcing her limos through hordes of climate change and anti-runway demonstrators to attend a conference on saving the planet.
That's the problem with air travel - we all use it, many of us even depend on it, but few of us like it in the way we like trains, for example. We hate the budget airlines and their cash scams, for which Flybe are one of the worst offenders, but continue to book their seats.
Just what is the future of air travel?
Matt nails it -