FUEL TAX THREATENS TO SAP AIRLINE PROFITS, AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY REPORTS; Industry Economist Observes 'Finances Are In Shambles'.
But, it is not yet time for the airlines to celebrate. They are facing the imposition of a fuel tax of 4.3 cents a gallon, effective October 1st. That could slash profits by half. One industry economist says, "I'm very concerned that lawmakers will look at second-quarter earnings and conclude that, financially, the industry is out of the woods. The fact of the matter is our finances are shambles." The industry suffered record losses in the early 1990s.
This week's issue also details the following:
-- Atlantis Space Crew Balked At Some Testing: After more than 100 days on Russia's Mir space station, the three crew members were testy at times about being poked, prodded and pricked in the name of science on board the shuttle Atlantis. All three, including NASA's Norm Thagard, balked at performing some procedures.
Mir commander Vladimir Dezhurov flatly refused to get into a bag called a lower body negative pressure device. The apparatus, which causes body fluids to shift toward the legs as they would on Earth, is being evaluated as an aid to avoid lightheadedness and fainting that can accompany a return to gravity. Flight engineer Gennady Strekalov did get into the bag, but refused extra steps that would have helped scientists to gather data. Thagard was receptive to the scientific evaluation, but rejected the device for his personal conditioning, preferring to stick to a treadmill.
-- Jupiter-bound: The Galileo spacecraft is scheduled to release its probe of Jupiter late next week. If all goes well, the probe will take the first sampling of an outer planet's atmosphere. The probe is scheduled to activate shortly before a December parachute descent into Jupiter.
Aviation Week & Space Technology, published by The McGraw-Hill Companies, is the world's leading journal for technology, business and operations in the global aviation, aerospace and defense industries.
CONTACT: Eileen Gabriele,
The McGraw-Hill Companies, 212/512-3852