US has the dirtiest planes.

U.S. airlines largely stopped ordering new planes after Sept. 11, 2001, shrinking their fleets to adjust to a drop in demand. Travel has rebounded strongly, but airlines are, for the most part, years away from taking delivery on large numbers of new planes. A big reason is that Boeing and Airbus have committed most of their airliner production capacity in coming years to carriers in Europe and Asia.

The industry’s aging jets contribute to the general unpleasantness of air travel these days. They are often noisier and less comfortable than newer models. They are delayed by mechanical problems more frequently than new planes and often have built-up grime in passenger spaces. Add to that the fact that older planes are less fuel efficient and have worse emissions and you have supposedly one of the richest countries in the world producing some of the worst airplane pollution.

With the exception of Southwest Airlines, the major U.S. carriers have all either been through bankruptcy or narrowly avoided it in recent years. They returned to profit in 2006, but profit margins are still anemic – “amongst the worst industries in the country,” said Scott Kirby, president of US Airways. “The whole industry is hardly the poster child for strong credit.”

Thus, airline executives are cautious. Even with $3 billion now on hand, “anything we’d do with cash would be related to strengthening the balance sheet – paying down debt,” said Kirby. The airline recently placed a huge order for jets, but most of the deliveries are years off.

Philip Baggaley, a credit analyst at Standard & Poor’s, said that keeping a large cash reserve is, for some airlines, the best safeguard against another bankruptcy in the event of a recession or labor dispute.

Source. 🙂

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6 Responses to US has the dirtiest planes.

  1. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt,

    Even worse is our air traffic system. It is common in most major air ports for planes to wait on the runway for hours before getting clearance to take off. Of course, while waiting the engines are running to keep the electrical and air conditioning systems powered. Just as bad is the wait to land.

    One day last year, when I found the rare bit of free time to dip a line into our lake, I passed the time between landing catfish by reading the ID numbers of the jets disturbing my peace through binoculars. I recorded five that circled for over an hour during my three hours of fishing bliss.

    Fortunately from my point of view, since I detest waste as a general principal, our population and our Government seem to be on the verge of taking our airlines to task, and insisting on more efficient service. Of course, obtaining the needed house cleaning will rest on our next elections, as our airlines are heavily unionized, and if the Democrats retain Government power they won’t dare aantagonize them.

    What a strange world.
    the Grit

  2. with golbal warming going on at the moment someone should try and find a bio fuel for areoplanes. If not why are people worried bout it as the tempreture of the earth goes up and down all the time. In 1970 we were told that the next ice age was coming but did that happen…. no the earths tempreture has now fallen again thats why the uk got all of that heavy snow and so did amreica. now we all expect a hot summer. so tell me 1 thing tho if cars can run on bio fuel why can the rest of the worlds airlines like BA and Virgin airways and all the other big international airlines do the same?

  3. matt says:

    That’s exactly what they’re in the midst of developing. Branson of Virgin did his media thing on this last year as a flight was taken with one engine powered by a biofuel (as a test run).

  4. the Grit says:

    Hi Matt & ss,

    Simply put, because there’s not enough bio-fuel, and there probably won’t ever be to run all the jets people insist on riding. Jets, by the way, are only slightly more fuel efficient than helicopters. Oh, and also bio-fuel is more expensive, and the airlines are having trouble selling tickets even at deep discounts, so they’re hardly likely to tack on extra costs which can’t be passed along to the consumer. On the bright side, global warming is a myth so it won’t make any difference anyway 🙂

    the Grit

  5. Trev says:

    How many passengers do planes carry? 400+ now think how much car carry’s? 5 – 7. Aircraft today are really low on the list of polluters, they are extremely efficient. About bio fuel, it will be along time before that ever happens. Instead about complaining about aircraft lets fix the car problem.

  6. Bob Talbot says:


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