23.06.2014 11:48

Up and down we go

The most popular attraction at the Linnanmäki Amusement Park in Helsinki, Finland is a wooden roller coaster (Vuoristorata in Finnish) built in 1951. Its longest descent is about 48 metres long and takes three seconds to travel down. The sweet smell of tar and the clattering sound of the trains bring back childhood memories for many of us. This sense of nostalgia explains in part why the roller coaster still remains the most beloved ride at Linnanmäki, in spite of the fact that the park has plenty of other, and more modern, options.

Because the Linnanmäki roller coaster is operated by a driver, or more precisely a brakeman standing in the back of the train, youngsters still try to strategize their rides just right. Many ride the coaster numerous times in a row in hopes of catching the daredevil among the drivers – or the safest brakeman, depending on one's nerves. The position of a brakeman is still a coveted summer job that people return to summer after summer. If you visit Helsinki in the summer, do not pass up the opportunity to take a ride in Vuoristorata – it is an experience to remember.

This spring has certainly felt like a long, dizzying roller coaster ride at work, too. One week our flights are overbooked, the next we are struggling to find enough goods to transport. Up and down we go, week after week. Sometimes it feels as if old trends cannot be trusted. Furthermore, national holidays now have a bigger impact on traffic than in years past. A growing number of passenger flights in summers leads to an overcapacity in the markets. 

This year the rates seem to be slowing down at an increasing pace and breaking new lowest-level-ever records each week. To use the roller coaster metaphor, we have passed the 48-metre mark long ago. Even during weeks with good load factors, the rates are still decreasing. This makes me hope that the drivers in our line of business remember to hit the brakes before we hit the bottom at a high speed.

This is, however, the sugar and the salt of air cargo business, and the reason why we love it so much: every day is different, and one can never know what is waiting behind the next curve. The airline business is made for daredevils.

Wishing you a great summer!