It's not something the airlines want to talk about.
This is a subject discussed only in hushed tones, often by executives as
they meet clandestinely at neighbouring urinals.
The issue: aging aircraft. They're not gaining altitude as quickly as they
once did. At times they can execute a hard climb, but then soften out before
peak altitude. And even when they do reach the optimal angle of atmospheric
penetration, they can't hold it for long.
Another problem is return flights. For older members of airline fleets,
what was once a 35-minute pit-stop for grooming and refueling has become a much
Open Jaw spoke to airline executive Duncan Doughynuts for his unique
perspective on the issue.
"As the planes get older, we're forced to turn to an expensive fuel
additive called fluonic agronomate (commercial name Flyagra) to maintain
consistent standards of performance. A little blue liquid and they're good to
go. You'd swear when they come out of the hangar to start the day they're
singing 'Good Morning, Good MORNING!"
Doughynuts says shifting older planes to shorter routes is key to keeping
them aloft, especially where Flyagra is involved.
“If erection lasts more than four hours mechanics need to be called in as
the strain on engines can be extreme."
But the executive says the pilots of older projectiles can often make up
for declining technical performance in other ways.
“These guys know it's not just about the hard stuff, about reaching and
maintaining altitude and speed. Their efforts to tease out every last bit of
performance often stimulates an impressive response. Bottom-line: they're just
glad to still be flying."