Hello everyone. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. This week we talk a lot about what all the folks from the airlines were talking about last week as they made their way up to New York and the JP Morgan Transportation Conference.
All the usual suspects were there, including United/Continental, US Airways, JetBlue, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
It was a little preview of sorts of first quarter earnings, which are, in case you haven’t kept up, are right around the corner. In fact, the first quarter ends Thursday.
I know. Where did it go?
It was fun to listen to Jeff Smisek talk about the “new” United. As I tell subscribers, the more he talked, the more it simply sounded like the “old” Continental to me. But that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Gary Kelly talked a lot about what Southwest has been trying to do for the last five years, and what it hopes to accomplish in the next two years. He also uttered that positively horrible phrase when talking about the AirTran deal. Yes…he talked about “harvesting those synergies.”
Meanwhile the folks at Delta Air Lines were reassuring investors that yes the revenues have been a little on the low side (speaking of those elusive synergies) but that the airline was going to concentrate this year on improving them.
As for American, the airline didn’t announce any further capacity cuts at the conference — an omission that had one Wall Street analyst fuming last week.
Then there was US Airways’ President Scott Kirby. He said in New York that he saw revenue strength during the first quarter that was stronger than he has ever seen during his career.
That’s saying something.
Aside from the presentations in New York, we take a good look this week at the cash/revenues ratio for the major US airlines we track on a regular basis. It’s interesting to see who ends up above the average line and who ends up below. And what is more remarkable is the wide variance between the airline with the worst cash/revenue performance and the airline that posted the best for 2010.
Airline stocks also had a pretty good week last week. Except for shares of Air Canada, which took the Goat of the Week award.
In other news we talk about the FAA reauthorization bill that is now set for a House vote this week, and the latest critical analysis that looks at the DOT’s three-hour rule and why it isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
Alaska Airlines suffered a nasty computer outage Saturday. That was not good. But as we discuss at length, the airline dealt with the problem in a superb manner. Kudos to the airline for a great job in terms of keeping customers informed and in the loop.
As usual, there is all this and more in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter. Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.