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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

JetsGone – And good riddance! 

Canada’s most low budget, unsafe, incompetent, and unfriendly airline went tits up over the weekend. On one side you have some screaming at our feds saying it was their fault for not creating a fair market in which to compete. Others are not at all surprised that such a poorly run airline tanked. We have a smiling picture of Robert Milton (Air Canada’s Über Fuhrer) to the left there, and trust me this guy could fuck up a cup of coffee let alone run Canada’s international carrier and organize the fun and games of Star Alliance, but JetsGo’s president Michel Leblanc has the economic smarts of a wet fish. This is the third airline that he has sent into bankruptcy. Unlike most airlines that go into bankruptcy (Air Canada, United Airlines, Air New Zealand), LeBlanc runs his airlines into the ground so hard that he can’t even afford the gas money to move his planes off of the runway. He has been in charge of, and hence completely responsible for, one third of the airlines in Canada that have gone bankrupt in the past ten years.

Yes, it has been hard times on the airline industry as of late. Air travelers get taxed higher than smokers. And, if they do pay the taxes, it is for a lot of passive-aggressive surveillance and hassling at airports. Airlines have been forced to reduce their ticket prices and profit margins, but many discount carriers were, and are still, making money. Certainly fewer taxes at the airports would be nice, and would help the business out greatly, but it alone cannot be blamed for crippling the airline, and should not be blamed for JetsGo’s death.

This airline had old and cramped planes with a well pressed ass groove waiting for you in each seat. Their planes consistently ran out of fuel. I was on a direct flight from Toronto to Vancouver and we had to do the emergency landing in Winnipeg for fuel, because, get this, “it was just too windy.” At 30,000 feet, you think it might be windy. Inside the plane you were forced to stare at a big goddamn green happy face. After six hours in that cramped cigar tube, (2 hours more than normal) never in my life have I been closer to murder. The flight attendants looked like 3rd Reich dominatrixes, with leather jackets and army boots. The service matched that too. More often than not JetsGo paid WestJet and Air Canada to carry its luggage, because either it did not have the space or it wanted to save on fuel costs. Let’s not forget the fact that one happy-faced plane recently skidded off the runway in Calgary, and another spewed engine parts all over Toronto’s runway. NAV-CAN would not allow the planes to fly above 25,000 in response to JetsGo’s dismal safety record.

Lower airport taxes? Please. But you can’t blame the government for a poorly run, incompetent and inefficient airline shitting itself to death. Now, if the government allowed Leblanc to start up another airline, then yes, call an election. But, let common sense prevail and admit that Leblanc should not even be put in charge of dressing himself let alone running an airline. It’s not just good business sense, it’s just good sense; that being sticking to one’s forte. I don’t know how to fix car engines, and hence that’s me not working in a garage. If Leblanc insists on working in the airline industry then it should go no further than him selling pencils at the airport.


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