Tag Archives: SkyWest

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Good evening my friends. Welcome back to the show that never ends.

Where is Holly this week? Last week I was in Nashville at The Beat Live. This week I’m in Long Beach at the APEX Convention. Next week? Back to the Worldwide Headquarters.

This week there’s no question what the top news story is for the airline sector — the meltdown in operations at American Airlines. What’s going on and is it going to get better or worse?

Then there are the July DOT Airline Travel Consumer Report numbers. We all only thought United’s numbers in June were bad. They were even worse in July. The good thing? Things are finally trending in a positive direction. Unlike what is happening in Dallas.

SkyWest announced a new deal with American last week. In addition the airline announced a huge stock buy back authorization. No wonder shares in the airline took off.

Unfortunately things were just the opposite at Spirit. The airline announced that it will see RASM figures under what they had originally estimated for the third quarter. A one-time thing — or a more worrisome pattern? We talk about it.

Is Frontier Airlines “penalizing” its passengers by giving those who book on the airline’s website a better deal? We don’t think so.

The word(s) of the conference at this year’s The Beat Live were: Big data.

The word(s) to describe the current “opt-in” number for the American Airlines‘ flight attendants who are going to accept the airline’s offer of an enhanced retirement package? Almost 2000.

All this, and much, much more in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1.jpg Hello everyone. No surprise that we are publishing on Wednesday night this week. Has something to do with some activity that was centered around the DFW Metromess today. Yes, there were three American Airlines‘ union votes announced today — two passed and one didn’t. And the one that didn’t was the big one.

The pilots at American Airlines decided that they would rather put their fate in the hands of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane than accept what many pilots apparently thought was an “unsatisfactory” contract.

As you can read in the blog post below, I thought the pilots should vote yes.

Meanwhile, the flight attendant voting period during which they need to decide if they are going to vote yes or no on their “last best and final offer” from the company continues.

As it is scheduled now, Judge Lane is supposed to rule on the airline’s request to abrogate the union contracts that have not been renegotiated next Wednesday as part of the standard Section 1113 procedure.

However, the outcome of the flight attendant vote will not be known by that time.

It will be up to the airline — whether it asks the judge to delay a ruling — or it simply allows him to abrogate the contracts that have not been agreed upon (which would then include the flight attendant contract) on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, this week is yet another big earnings week issue, as we take an in-depth look at the recent results of Spirit, Allegiant, Alaska Air Group, WestJet, and Republic Holdings.

We also give you overviews of the recent earnings news from IAG Group (owner of British Airways and Iberia), Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa and Cathay Pacific.

Speaking of Allegiant, the airline said on its earnings call last week that it was very happy with the first month of its new service to Hawaii. The airline is using 757s to fly to Hawaii, and today, the airline announced even more service to Hawaii. Know what new routes were announced? Better yet, know which airline Allegiant seems to be targeting with their latest choices?

WestJet had an interesting announcement last week — for those of you who agree that passengers will pay for meaningful upgrades. The airline announced it was putting in four rows of “premium economy” seats on all of its 737s. It is also adding seats to its 737-800s.

Meanwhile, Spirit just keeps making money. Although I think the airline showed evidence of some growing pains in the second quarter — as costs were above where the airline wants them to be.

In terms of Republic Holdings, the hybrid holding company did quite well, as the Frontier Airlines’ restructuring process is really beginning to shine. So now what?

Meanwhile Republic continues to work through its issues with its Chautauqua, aka Chicken Taco, operation. Republic remains convinced it can make the 50 seat aircraft work –but it is going to have to be flown at exceptionally low rates to mainline airlines if that is the case.

While we don’t do a full earnings review of SkyWest this week, as they reported earnings today, I will tell you that the airline blew away estimates — sending shares of the stock up 23% on the day.

As always, all this, and more — in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.

Also — a friendly reminder for our subscribers. This is our last issue for August. We are now officially on vacation. Our next issue will be published after Labor Day!

PlaneBusiness Banter is Now Posted!

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Good evening everyone. It’s time once again for this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter. Or rather, this week’s “Turkey Trot” edition of PBB.

Yours truly got hit by a nasty upper respiratory infection this last weekend, so I have to tell you — the “Turkey Trot” edition almost didn’t make it to the table.

But I couldn’t have all our subscribers venturing out over the river and through the woods without some good reading material.

This week we’re talking about a hodge-podge of things — lunatic legislation introduced just in time for Thanksgiving travelers that seeks to either prevent airlines from charging for fees, or then taxing airlines more that do charge for fees; a USB investment research report that pretty much calls the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme worthless; American Airlines’ withering market cap; American Airline’s withered state in general; SkyWest’s new flying for US Airways; Travelport and American’s latest court news; one analyst’s take on the latest Southwest Airlines‘ schedule uploads for 2Q2012, and what these changes mean for competitors; Hawaiian Airlines’ decision to take Manhattan; the DOT’s September Airline Consumer Travel Report; and oh, a whole lot more.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello everyone.

It’s that time once again. This week’s edition of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

This week we have yet more third quarter earnings to discuss, as we take in-depth looks at the results posted by Allegiant, SkyWest and Pinnacle.

Next week, we wrap up our third quarter earnings call coverage as we look at Republic Holdings, Air Canada and WestJet.

Speaking of WestJet, our moles tell us that we should expect to hear another “important” announcement along with the airline’s third quarter numbers this week. That would make sense. It would also explain why the airline is late in reporting their numbers for the quarter.

Speaking of Republic — did you see what happened to shares of Republic Tuesday? That’s right. Shares picked up a whopping 61% on the day on incredibly heavy volume. The airline reported better than expected numbers and also gave clear guidance on how it plans to divest itself of Frontier Airlines. Investors liked what they heard. Obviously.

Late Tuesday there was an update posted on the AMR negotiations website concerning the negotiations between American and its pilots. This follows a week in which all indications continue to point to news of a new tentative agreement between American Airlines and its pilots being announced in the not-too-distant future.

Meanwhile, pilots at Southwest Airlines and AirTran overwhelmingly okayed their proposed seniority agreement. No surprise there.

Internationally, Singapore Airlines, IAG Group and Emirates all reported sharp declines in earnings for the quarter last week — as higher fuel prices took their toll.

Meanwhile, does IAG have a deal to buy bmi from Lufthansa or not? Depends on who you are asking. If you are asking Willie Walsh, the answer is yes. But if you are asking Richard Branson, the answer is apparently no.

Question of the week — How many weeks does it take to train new Boeing 787 pilots? Answer: Five weeks.

No, that’s not a joke. That’s what ANA is doing. Five weeks?

As usual, all of this, and much more — in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Good evening everyone. In this week’s chokingly long issue, we take our magnifying glass to the recent earnings results reported by Southwest Airlines, SkyWest, Allegiant, Republic Holdings, and Pinnacle. Yes, a rather strange mix of subjects this week.

In the case of Southwest Airlines, this quarter’s results were a lot noisier than expected, as a result of the way the airline is reporting its numbers –re: merger with AirTran. Revenues were also not as good as had been expected. As one analyst wondered, did the airline push fares higher too hard, too fast in the spring? Whatever — the airline came in under expectations.

The airline was also one of the few that reported that its “business traveler” revenues showed a softening during the quarter. This was in contrast to what some other airlines reported.

As for the three regional airlines — it continues to be a period of transition for all three. SkyWest finally admitted what we have thought for six years — the merger with Atlantic Southeast has never really gone as well as they had anticipated. Now, they are trying to layer the ExpressJet merger on top of ASA.

With Pinnacle, the airline has a totally new executive team to work out the details of merging three airlines together. ‘

Then there is Republic. The fixed fee basis continues to make money. Just not as much as it used to make because of shrinking margins. Then there is Frontier Airlines. The airline lost a ton of money during the quarter. The restructuring continues.

Finally — Allegiant Travel also reported earnings last week. Again — another airline that finds itself in a period of transition. New aircraft types, sharp reductions in capacity as a result of higher fuel prices, new engine overhauling program, ETOPS certification fun, seating modifications to all existing aircraft — a lot of stuff going on out in Las Vegas.

It was a horrible week for airline stocks last week — but I agree with a couple of analysts who put out notes Monday and Tuesday. This is a great time to load up on airline stocks. If they are the right ones. Oil has tanked, demand still looks good, fare prices are still good, the airlines got a little revenue bump as a result of the FAA snafu, and well, yeah, airline stock prices have been, for the most part, beaten to a pulp.

We look at break-even load factors and operating margins for the second quarter. Question of the week — which airline finished dead last in both important metrics?

All of this — and more in a 160 plus page issue this week. Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

SureJet? SURELY They Must Be Kidding

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Yesterday I received a press release from the nice folks at Atlantic Southeast Airlines, letting me know that after it completes its merger with ExpressJet, the two airlines will be branded and marketing under one — new– name for parent company SkyWest.

That name?

SureJet.

Yeah. Sure.

No, I’m not kidding.

I tweeted my disbelief over this horrible god-awful choice yesterday, but the emails kept coming in today, so I figured I’d go ahead and weigh in here on PlaneBuzz, since this platform has a bigger audience of both PlaneBusiness Banter subscribers and non-subscribers.

People I’ve talked to have, overwhelmingly, and without exception, reacted by shaking their heads, asking me to repeat myself, or simply saying things like 1) it sounds like a household cleaner 2) it sounds like a new maxi-pad 3) it sounds horrible coming off the tongue 3) it sounds like a cynical joke.

I tweeted yesterday that I thought it sounded like something from a Saturday Night Live skit.

One of our PBB subscribers wrote me today and shared this comment,

SureJet.. . REALLY?! We actually paid someone to come up with this?!

I’m no branding expert, but a name like that doesn’t really give me the warm and fuzzies when thinking about, oh I don’t know, reliability, completion, prospects, the future… shall I go on?
And oh the possibilities for puns… ‘Surely you can’t be serious…?’

Word from the presentation was there were audible gasps followed by silence. Brad Holt then bolted up to the mike to declare the name “grows on you.” Not quite.
Rumor today is the new brand is quietly being shelved. Wish I could log on to the company website to check, but it’s been down all afternoon…. I’m SURE they’re working on it. “

Trust me. You don’t need to be a marketing or branding expert to know this name needs to be tossed.

“The name grows on you?” Ah. No. Surely Brad Holt, you jest.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1.jpg We may be a little late, but hey, we made it.

I know. I can’t wait to get my tarmac rule violation bill in the mail this week from the DOT.

Hello all ;-)

This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now, finally, posted. If you read my previous post here you’ll get the skinny on why we are posting on Wednesday night. An addendum to that post: while all the other problems were apparently fixed, now I cannot send email on my planebusiness.com account using Verizon.

At this point, I don’t care. I can take up that battle tomorrow.

In the meantime, a head’s up for PBB subscribers. We will be posting another issue of PBB either later this week or the first of next week. Yes, I was supposed to go on vacation yesterday, but because of all this Verizon mess, we were unable to complete all the material we wanted to include in this final issue for the summer.

So — the mojitos have been put on hold. The box of mint is still in the refrigerator.

We’ll be back for one more issue before we formally depart.

In the meantime however, we have a lot to talk about in this issue, including in-depth earnings reports on Republic, Hawaiian, and SkyWest. We talk a lot about the SkyWest/ExpressJet deal, and there were also more details given about SkyWest’s involvement with Air Mekong in the airline’s earnings call. We’ll update you on all that as well.

Cathay Pacific also reported earnings last week — and the airline did very, very well. More on those, in addition to the scoop on the newest low fare Asian airline — a JV between Thai and Tiger.

DAE has apparently told Airbus and Boeing that it is canceling 50 aircraft that had been included as part of the company’s eye-popping $27 billion order spending spree at the Dubai Air Show two years ago. Reality has apparently come to the Middle East. Or at least one part of it. There are still all those mind-numbing Emirates aircraft orders out there.

We give you the rundown on which airlines shone in the second quarter in terms of break even load factor and operating margins. And we’ll talk about those that posted rather worrisome numbers.

One hint: The same two airlines finished last and next to last in both metrics. Who were those two airlines?

And what about the Canadian airline Jazz? Why does it think it’s okay to report its quarterly numbers — absent any mention of RPMs?

We have a pretty good idea why — do you?

As always, this is just a part of this week’s issue. All this and more — in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter. Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted

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This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

It was a busy week for the Things With Wings last week.

First, American Airlines reported its second quarter earnings results. The airline lost a lot of money. $390 million to be exact. $319 million excluding special items. However, you’d never have known it if you listened to the airline’s earnings call — which seemed focused on one thing — liquidity. Oh, and capacity reductions. That’s fine, but there are other aspects of an airline’s operations I’d like to hear about.

Then we had the blockbuster news concerning Continental’s Chairman and CEO, Larry Kellner. As I write in this week’s PBB, even though the management backbench strength at Continental Airlines is strong, and the airline should be able to carry on just fine as Larry goes to seek his fortune in the equity investment game — it’s quite discouraging to see one of the industry’s best and brightest leave.

Following up on our piece in last week’s issue about United’s bone-headed (or would that be heavy-handed) attempts to get travel agencies to take on more financial risk — or rather some travel agencies — the airline said late last week that it is going to give agencies 60 days to implement the business operation changes it seeks.

This whole thing still reeks. Nothing the airline says rings true.

Southwest Airlines had its own place in the spotlight last week, or would that be the sunlight, as the airline had a 737-300 aircraft develop a hole in the roof while enroute from Nashville to BWI. Not what the airline wants or needs — especially considering the issues the airline has had with the FAA concerning fuselage checks in the past. Preliminary NTSB report says there was no evidence of previous corrosion at the site.

That was not the only bad news Southwest had last week. The airline was also notified that its debt rating with Moody’s is under review, signaling a potential downgrade.

The Senate produced its version of an FAA Reauthorization bill last week. How did it differ from the House version? It differed on quite a few items. We talk more about that in this week’s issue.

Those misguided folks at the US Airways Pilot Association, the pilot union that was created in an attempt to circumvent the original ALPA seniority award that was handed down after US Airways and America West combined forces — had their head handed to them on a plate by U.S. District Judge Neil Wake last week. Wake issued his final injunctive order on the case brought against USAPA by the former America West pilots. Yes, we talk about this too.

Oh, and speaking of USAPA, we also give them, and our readers, a handy step-by-step instruction of how you correctly determine just how much an airline executive makes, using SEC documentation. Apparently the folks at USAPA have a problem figuring these things out.

British Airways raids its guaranteed employee pension benefit larder, Air Canada gets all of its employees “on board” with its 21-month contract extension program, and 215 Delta pilots sign up for the airline’s sweetened “early-out” package. Somehow I think the guys in suits over in Atlanta had hoped that number had been higher.

All this and more in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.

If you are a subscriber, you can access this week’s issue here. If not, you can learn how you can become a subscriber by clicking here.