The Third Leader: Up, up and away

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Surely, it would take a heart of stone not to have been uplifted by the sight of the new Airbus superjumbo taking to the air yesterday: giant, touchingly lumbering proof of humanity's unquenchable impulse to evolve, to experiment, to conquer, to reach for the skies, to, well, go forward not back.

Surely, it would take a heart of stone not to have been uplifted by the sight of the new Airbus superjumbo taking to the air yesterday: giant, touchingly lumbering proof of humanity's unquenchable impulse to evolve, to experiment, to conquer, to reach for the skies, to, well, go forward not back.

Yes, it would certainly take some kind of cranky neo-medieval reactionary not to be moved by this symbol of European harmony and progress; and if all that were not enough, there are the statistics: fuselage the length of eight London buses, engines with the thrust of 3,500 cars, wings that could park 70 of them. Did you know, too, that there are already 4.2 million people flying around up there on an average day? Remarkable.

Remarkable, indeed, that, in the telecommunication age, so many journeys around a fragile planet should be deemed economic, essential, or harmless fun, particularly when we've got Judith Chalmers and Dan Cruickshank to do most of them for us.

But that's a matter for the wiser heads above. Down here, we are more pressed by the superjumbo's in-flight entertainment plans. The casino, for example: what happens to the little silver balls in a spot of turbulence? And the private double bedrooms: will Sir Richard Branson have a key?

Most of all, though, it's the gymnasiums. Do we really want people jumping up and down on board? You might be familiar with another fascinating fact: if the population of China were to jump into the air at the same time, the world would spin off its axis. Exactly. I, for one, will be much happier if there's a notice asking them to put the weights down gently.

Comments