Terrible year for airlines
FORGET crashes, Australians are now probably more terrified of their flight never leaving the tarmac.
The aviation industry has this year copped an almost unrelenting assault from trans-hemispheric volcanic ash, horrifying disasters in key tourism areas and a safety debacle for Tiger Airways to top it off.
Now a hard-line spat from Qantas threatens to derail its pristine reputation and place atop the Australian business pedestal.
Sunshine Coast Airport general manager Peter Pallot described the Qantas situation as "one of those major events in aviation".
"We've had a number of shocks through the year," he said.
"For the Coast it has been very tough.
"When Tiger was grounded, we lost 20% of our capacity. That was a significant blow to tourism on the Coast."
To date, the Singaporean carrier is yet to return to the Marcoola bitumen.
Even as he relived the gloomy year, Mr Pallot remained optimistic.
"I think it will be just a short-term effect," he said.
"The reputation of all Australian airlines in terms of safety and standard are second to none in the world."
NOT SO HIGH FLYING
- JANUARY: Flooding in Qld made headlines worldwide, scaring tourists away from our regions.
- FEBRUARY: Earthquake devastates Christchurch, New Zealand - hitting travellers both to and from the Coast.
- MARCH: Tohoku, Japan struck by earthquake, tsunami and radiation scare, another strong tourism market for Australia.
- APRIL: Flights to/from Europe cancelled after Icelandic volcano erupts.
- JUNE: Ash from Chilean volcano circles Earth twice, grounding Australian flights.
- JULY: Tiger Airways suspended by CASA until August. Tiger flights yet to return to Coast.
- OCTOBER: Qantas grounds flights as it fights three unions simultaneously.