The view from the hourly DUB/FRA Banker Shuttle is kind of cloudy as the bankers swerve to avoid English airspace.
“Been there?” asks the Spaniard, peering into the gloom.
“Sure – I’m on a stag night to Little London next week,” says his Polish colleague. “You oughta try it: it’s incredibly cheap at £7:€1. The bank arranged a group visa for us. Scary, but pubs pretty much line the streets.”
“See any English?” asks the Greek. ” – When I was there last they were in bowler hats offering tours of the old banking district for €1 a time. Pretty sad TBH.”
“They gotta do something,” says the Pole. “Gotta keep hard currency coming in.”
“It’s a lesson to us all,” pipes up a German in the row along. “Never get too complacent, never too sure about your future.”
“It’s the armed guards that worry me,” says the Spaniard. “It’s dangerous there, right?”
“Don’t be deceived,” says the Pole, draining his Krupnik. “The guards are just to make sure you don’t overstay your visa – they don’t like migrants in England, don’t want you to go AWOL.”
“Like I would,” says the Spanish banker, and laughs. “They’re pretty desperate right?”
“They’ve got their tourism and their ‘Made in England’ knock-offs,” says Pole, displaying his Chinese watch. “- It’s not that bad.”
The energy efficient Shuttle is one of a fleet of the most used planes in contemporary aviation. Finished in sustainable walnut and divided into soundproof sections to accommodate staff from each major firm, it makes hourly trips daily between the Banker Runways at Dublin and Frankfurt airports. Upper decks are reserved for senior bankers. Lower, windowless, decks are used by VPs who pour over the spreadsheets sent by the analysts and associates in Manchester and Mumbai. Some banks have planes of their own of course – sleek supersonic sharks for Goldman, Airbus 400++ liners for J.P.M.
The upper deck Pole puts his glass down and twists around to look at someone. “We should talk more quietly,” he says, gesturing towards two ‘Irish’ bankers asleep a few rows behind. “I know those guys – they were English before they got their citizenship. Sad really – their families are dependent on their remittances.”
The lights of Frankfurt show below. “Home again,” says the Spaniard. “Only an hour to the Rhine Valley for the weekend.”
“You know, I’ll tell you a thing,” says the Pole, “My British boss was one of those guys who used to work in London. It was a big place once, but it was always on the edge of Europe and a crazy expensive city to live in.”
“Trying to be little Wall Street,” mutters the Greek.
“We’re way more productive now,” says the Pole. “Nuts when you think how much we were paying people back then.”
“Did we do a drop today?” asks the German.
“We support a charity for the starving English regions,” the German explains. – “We parachute food parcels when the wind is right.”
“So what happened to your ex-boss?” asks the Greek.
“One of those tour guides,” says the Pole. “Best way of making euros there now.”
The plane lands smoothly on the Frankfurt runway. “Thank you for flying with us again gentleman,” says the pilot, “As usual, we have last year’s Eurovision winner for your disembarkation.”
‘Bankers in the Sky with Diamonds’ pipes up over the tannoy, and the bankers grab their Gucci holdalls and disappear off into the German night.
Nyla Nox is the author of ‘Graveyards of the Banks – I did it for the money’ available at Amazon