Keeping up with the (bright) times


Sir, – Given the debate, and some confusion about the subject, it seems to me that a solution has been found many years ago by international airlines.

They operate their flight scheduling on Universal Time Constant (UTC) –more commonly known as Greenwich Mean Time. This removes the danger of aircraft carrying insufficient fuel. Thus a flight departing at 00:00 UTC anywhere in the world for a flight arriving at 04:00 UTC requires four hours-worth of fuel. Passenger timetables, arrival and departure times are then converted to local time which, incidentally, is not always in integral hour differences from UTC –there are several with half-hour differences!

In this era of instantaneous communication, could not the general population worldwide be educated to set all clocks at UTC, irrespective of the season or hemisphere? Then individual enterprises, government services, schools etc in Europe need only advertise “From April 1st to October 31st we will operate from 08:00 to 17:00 UTC” –their counterparts in what is now EST (USA) would advise “From April 1st to October 31st we will operate from 13:00 to 22:00 UTC”. No longer any need to consult Google or the inside pages of the telephone directory (is there still such a thing?!) to know the time difference. Combined with flexi-hour working this might also help to smooth peak traffic hours worldwide.

But this is probably too simple for politicians to comprehend! – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.