Cruise Lines Boom as Airlines Slash Fares
Outfitters seeking to boost demand for summer destinations may want to remind their customers that there are great values in air travel now. Some airlines are operating at less than 70% capacity and have resorted to slashing fares to boost demand. After cutting capacity in the fall by as much as 11% overall, most airlines are still suffering from lagging demand and declining load factors. While airlines suffer declining demand, Carnival Cruise Lines recorded the most bookings in its 37 year history during the last week of February. Carnival attributes the upsurge to special offers.
Over capacity in the airline industry is likely to result in more consolidation, like the recent merger of Delta and Northwest, as they struggle for profitable operations. Ironically, the Obama Administration is proposing to increase fees from passengers to cover the increasing costs of the Transportation Security Administration. Higher fees may further weaken demand and profitability. Funding for air marshals alone in FY2008 was $771 million and rose to $819 million in FY 2009. Ironically, TSA refuses to answer questions posed by members of Congress as to why, when air traffic and airline capacity are declining, the budget for air marshals is growing.
Take advantage of the current low fare environment to buy your tickets to the America Outdoors Association conference in Reno. A round trip from the East Coast to Reno is now available for a little as $348. AOA’s International Marketing and Management Conference is scheduled for December 7 – 10, 2009 at the Silver Legacy Resort in Reno.
GAO Says Moving the Forest Service to Interior Could Increase Effectiveness of Management Policies
A General Accounting Office (GAO) report released last week on moving the Forest Service to the Department of Interior suggests that it could improve federal land management by “consolidating into one department key agencies with land management missions”. The GAO cited the similar multiple purpose missions of the BLM and Forest Service, where coordination could result in an increase in “overall effectiveness” of programs and policies. However, the GAO does not believe the move would create greater operating efficiencies in the short term and that other options might achieve better results. Initially, the idea being studied will transfer the Forest Service from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Interior but not merge it with the BLM, although that may be a long term goal. The GAO cited cultural problems in merging other federal agencies that often led to conflicts that endured for years, siphoning off energy and efficiency.
Moving the Forest Service to Interior would require legislation and support from a super majority in the Senate, which is unlikely to occur in the short term. However, if the BLM and the Forest Service begin to administratively merge their policies and operations, the potential for merging the two will become more likely overtime.