This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.
This week we are talking a lot about — what else? American Airlines and whether the airline should continue in its attempt to come out of bankruptcy as a standalone carrier. Or if, perhaps, it should listen to what many Wall Street analysts are saying, what we are saying, and what a lot of employees believe — that a merged entity would provide a better opportunity for the airline.
Not only that, but an agreement pertaining to a merged entity would then allow the airline to use bankruptcy to tailor the airline more effectively. And efficiently — taking into account the much larger airline that would be created.
This last week the airline and its handlers definitely went on the offensive as it attempted to sway opinion using old-school PR tactics. The attempts didn’t gain much traction, and we talk about why they didn’t. Short reason: you just can’t do that kind of stuff today and expect it to hold up. Times have changed.
In addition, the unions at American came out with their own missives last week, including one in which it implored politicians who don’t know what they are talking about to not comment on anything to do with the bankruptcy. Until all the facts are known.
I have never seen all three major unions at a bankrupt airline appear to be so in synch in a situation like this. Not a good thing if you are Tom Horton. I don’t think his recent exhortations to the pilots to “put the war paint on” had its intended result. In fact, I think it backfired.
Monday, all interested parties will be in bankruptcy court in Manhattan. From that point on, the timing is a bit nebulous, but if I were to guess, I would guess that US Airways will need to come forth in some fashion next week, if it is indeed serious in making an attempt at a merger.
American is slated to open up the hearing Monday with their side of the story, followed by presentations from the airline’s three unions. But that schedule may not be followed. Stay tuned.
But there was a lot of other news last week, including a standing-room only crowd down in Houston, where the Houston City Council took their first stab at a decision on whether or not Southwest Airlines should be allowed to fly internationally out of Hobby Airport.
As I say in this week’s issue, you rarely see consultants’ work so publicly ripped to pieces as members of the Council did this week. But that’s exactly what happened. They’ll be a rematch in about two weeks, at which time United Airlines will present its side of the story, and its study.
Speaking of Southwest Airlines, we hear that the airline should announce a new IT deal on Thursday. Or as one of our SWA friends put it in an email, “The ranking of the airline’s priorities has apparently changed.”
PBB subscribers will get the joke.
We had news this last week of yet another CFO departure, and late today, we heard that there will be another CEO departure in the next couple of months.
We also had an analyst change addresses.
Change, change, and more change.
That was certainly true with this month’s DOT Air Travel Consumer Report. The March numbers had a brand new denizen at the top of the on-time departure and lost bags rankings — Virgin America.
Meanwhile, on Wall Street, airline stocks were a bit down for the week, as was the market as a whole. Jet fuel rose modestly for the week.
Finally, my apologies for the delay in publishing this week, but we had an incident involving PlaneDad that kept us more or less occupied all day Monday and somewhat on Tuesday. He fell. No phone was accessible. He lives alone. He’s 92. Seventeen hours on the floor. He’s now in the hospital. Yours truly will be returning to New Orleans later tomorrow. You get the picture.
And yeah, it’s not a particularly pretty one.
On that note — go read this week’s issue of PBB. And if you are not a subscriber — why not?