As was evident last month before the onset of any hostilities with Iraq, uncertainty has been driving up the price of fuel. Published reports had fuel-industry experts talking of a pecking order for access to jet fuel. As the world’s largest single user of the product, the U.S. military gets first crack at it–not just for its airplanes but for tanks and other vehicles. Airlines were ranked next on the order, implying that other users lower down on the scale could be left hunting for crumbs from the table.
Will business aviation feel the squeeze? NBAA president Jack Olcott suggested a history lesson: “We can look back and say we were able to get back into the air in 1973 after President Nixon lumped us in with snowmobiles, and we were not severely restricted in 1991 [by Desert Storm]. We anticipate that the acceptance of our community is greater now than it was at either of those times.”
General Aviation Manufacturers Association president Ed Bolen said: “There are valid causes for concern, but we have seen nothing to indicate that there will be any policy based on allocation. We anticipate that the market, rather than a system of allocation, will be allowed to dictate availability.”