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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Place your bets... airline insolvency speculation gone too far?

Bookmakers offer odds on the next airline to go bust

The effects of the global economic downturn were felt clearly in 2009, not least by the large number of well-known businesses that became insolvent. Over the past 12 months, these have included Borders, Blacks Leisure, JJB Sports and Cobra Beer. More recently, Flyglobespan, Scotland's biggest airline, collapsed when it's parent company went into administration, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. Airlines are particularly vulnerable in a recession, as they tend to rely heavily on discretionary spending and healthy levels of international trade, and a number of aviation businesses have crashed and burned recently. But even in this macro-economic context, it appears to be pretty poor taste to encourage speculation over which airline will be the next to collapse into insolvency, particularly given the chaos and upset for travellers.

Yet it would appear that Irish bookmaker Paddy Power is only too happy to offer odds on the next aviation insolvency. Monarch Airline is the bookie's favourite with odds of 4/1 that it will be the next to go bust and ground it's fleet. Fancy a flutter? You can get odds of 14/1 that British Airways will be the next victim of the credit crunch, or 18/1 that Bmibaby will be the latest to succumb. Virgin Atlantic and easyJet are relative outsiders at 80/1 but it seems that the bookies are putting their faith in God and and Uncle Sam: Vatican Airways and Barack Obama's Air Force One presidential jet fleet are 500/1 and 1000/1 respectively. God bless America!

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