The airlines are huge users of fuel. Fuel costs are higher than even the cost of the aircraft. Surcharges are up to the highest point in the history of the airlines along with the fuel costs at an all time record cost. Airline tickets and airlines live and die on their ability to number one fill up planes and number two, manage their fuel costs. Discount Airlines have been able to keep flights full in order to order to cover costs and keep prices low, but are hurt in quarterly earnings every time fuel prices increase.
When fuel prices stay high, you often see massive downward spirals and negative sector rotations in Airline Stocks. Again it is all about the cost and flow of fuel. It is of interest when we hear talk of our National Debt and how important that is. “A Nation is not in danger of financial disaster merely because it owes itself money.” The flow of fuel is several times more important than that, because with proper flow and economies of scale, every thing works better and every one wins. Consumers have lower prices and more choices; governments have greater tax revenues due to more commerce and more jobs paying into the system; industry has higher profits and more money to expand; the stock market moves upward provided greater benefits for those who bet on a strong America and therefore greater investment in new companies which provide innovation and research and development to improve the flow of every thing we know. Speaking of the benefits of the flow of fuel to government in the tax revenues, just think of all the fuel the government uses at all levels? Incredible amounts at every level; so incredible that they along with private enterprise spend millions of dollars trying to figure out more efficient methods. The military uses so much fuel it has it’s own reserves and oil fields and contracted out refineries. It has about enough supply for the entire country for 60-90 days depending on our conservation levels in a crisis situation. Fighting a war takes a tremendous amount of fuel. The modern Aircraft carriers use nuclear power, like the submarines, but the rest of the world’s greatest arsenal uses fuel of various types. And they are always testing different fuels to increase performance in different situations.
These reserves have been used when OPEC plays hardball creating fuel prices above our ability to operate our industries and businesses and keep America employed and the wheels of commerce turning. Opening up the floodgate of supply, lowers the prices and puts the cartel in check. If not certain businesses become un-viable when fuel prices go too high. Think of the military aviation, jets, helicopters, UAVs, AWACs, bombers and even flying gas stations in the sky for aerial re-fueling. It is like running several airlines non-stop 24/7. Generally Airlines too are a 24-hour business. The airline industry is under extreme pressure now.
If they keep raising their fees to passengers then the passenger per plane ratios drop off, meaning flight are unprofitable. If they do not raise the price then they lose money. It is a no win situation and they need some fuel price stabilization, yet an already hampered industry is facing additional crisis from fuel costs. We have seen already four major airlines file bankruptcy and two out of business, two more are facing bankruptcy and several are considered bad risks from ever emerging from their bankruptcies. The flow and costs of fuel are critical to the airline industry and the future of air travel in the World.