Monthly Archives: November 2006

WSJ: Airbus Market Share Slides

From today’s WSJ:

Airbus revealed that its share of new aircraft orders by value has waned to about 36% this year from 45% last year, in a sign of just how much damage the European jet maker has suffered amid delays in its A380 superjumbo program. Boeing, of course, has been the major beneficiary of Airbus’s turbulence, and the U.S. aerospace giant is on course to pass Airbus in orders for the first time in six years. Airbus predicts global demand for 22,700 aircraft worth $2.6 trillion over the next two decades. “This is a growth industry, no matter how you slice it,” said Chief Operating Officer John Leahy at a news conference in London.

Is that the best comment John could come up with?

TPG and Macquarie Bank Approach Qantas On Private Buyout Deal

Qantas Logo2

Investment bank Macquarie Bank and private equity firm Texas Pacific Group have proposed buying out Australian airline Qantas Airways in a deal that could be worth more than A$10 billion ($7.7 billion). News of the potential deal pushed Qantas shares up as much as 21%.

The deal would apparently involve Macquarie taking a 25% stake in Qantas, other Australian investors taking 25%, Qantas senior management 1% and international players led by Texas Pacific Group taking the rest, according to a story in the Australian Financial Review.

This ownership mix would allow the consortium to get around current ownership restrictions that limit one individual entity to no more than 25% of the airline, and international interests collectively owning no more that 49%.

To protect landing rights at airports around the world, Qantas would have to remain majority-owned by Australians, as take-off and landing rights are negotiated between countries.

Analysts told the Financial Review that Macquarie could sell Qantas aircraft to Macquarie’s aircraft leasing business and put Qantas’s terminal assets into Macquarie Airports.

My only comment is this. If a private deal can be put together for Qantas, it can be put together for a major U.S airline just as easily.

Comair Loses Flying to SkyWest


News out tonight is that Delta is shifting the flying of 12 70-seat jets currently operated by Comair to SkyWest. This will leave Comair operating only 15 70-seat jets for Delta.

Click here for the AP story.

No other news yet on any other changes in Delta regional contracts.

Allegiant Files Further Information On IPO; “New” Air Canada Now Trading


Don’t look now but we’re about to have another publicly traded airline in the U.S.

Allegiant Travel Company, the parent of Allegiant Airlines which is based in Las Vegas, and flies primarily to smaller markets throughout the U.S., filed its S-1 with the SEC today. The airline plans to sell up to 5 million shares for between $15 and $17 per share in an initial public offering.

Merrill Lynch & Co., the lead manager on the deal, along with other managers, have the option to buy an additional 750,000 shares to cover overallotments, according to the filing.

Assuming an offering price of $16 a share, the company — which earned $10.3 million on revenue of $180.2 million in the first nine months of 2006 — would have an initial market capitalization of about $300 million.

The airline is going to be listed on the Nasdaq with the symbol ALGT.

Speaking of new offerings, last Friday shares in the “new” Air Canada went public. ACE Aviation Holdings, Inc., spun off 25% of the airline last Thursday in a deal that was heavily oversubscribed. The new ticker symbol there is AC-A.To (Shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.)

More info on the folks behind Allegiant in the coming weeks. But for the most part — if you remember the original management team from ValuJet — you’re going to see a lot of the same names.

Only this time it’s a different business plan and they’re flying MD-80s.

Ornstein Supports Breast Feeding


We just all need to remember this when he runs for office.

Last week the news broke about how a woman and her husband boarded a Freedom Air flight operated as a Delta Connection flight in Burlington, VT on Oct. 13. Seated in the window seat near the back of the plane, Emily Gillette apparently then began to breast feed her 22-month prior to departure.

Gillette says that she took care so that no part of her breast was showing.

But after a period of time, a flight attendant came and offered a blanket, asking Gillette to cover up.

At this point, the story becomes the usual she said, she said, with Gillette claiming that she did not want to use a blanket, and the flight attendant apparently insisting that she did use the blanket …or else.

That “else” then became a Delta ticket agent, who came onboard and asked Emily and her husband to get off the plane.

Gillette filed a complaint with the Vermont Human Rights Commission regarding the incident. She says that a woman’s right to breastfeed wherever she is legally allowed to be is protected in Vermont under the Public Accommodations Act.

Not surprisingly, when news of the incident broke last week, it ignited a wildfire of protest from various women’s groups. A protest of nursing mothers was held Wednesday at the Burlington airport.

Tuesday, nursing mothers and their supporters will be gathering at 10 am for nurse-ins at Delta Air Lines’ airport counters across the country to protest Delta’s having kicked the nursing mother off of a flight.

Of course, this is just yet another example of why you need to choose your codeshare partners carefully. I’m sure Delta appreciates this –and right in the middle of the Thanksgiving travel rush.

While Delta had nothing directly to do with the incident, it was their codesharing partner who did.

Freedom Air, the airline directly responsible, is a Mesa Air Group (MESA:Nasdaq) operation.

Last week, Paul Skellon, who was identified by the AP as a spokesperson for Freedom, was quoted as saying,

“A breast-feeding mother is perfectly acceptable on an aircraft, providing she is feeding the child in a discreet way,’ that doesn’t bother others. She was asked to use a blanket just to provide a little more discretion, she was given a blanket, and she refused to use it, and that’s all I know.”

Not the way I would have handled the situation.

Today, almost a week later, Mesa finally managed to get a press release out — in which Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein made the comment, “So there is no confusion, I would like to let folks know that we firmly support mothers’ right to nurse their children on board our aircraft. We have no company policies whatsoever that hinder breast feeding in any way.” He then went on to blame the incident on a relatively newly hired flight attendant.

The airline should have been out front and center on this long before now. And in the right way.

Now it’s turned into a national fiasco. And for Delta as well.

PBB Posted

Home-Typewriter Copy-1-9Okay, so I missed our rescheduled arrival time by 5 minutes. Send me an email and I’ll send you a $5 food voucher. All I have to say is — the issue was worth the wait. Besides this was a weather-related delay. Well, sort of.

So it doesn’t count in the official DOT statistics.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

PlaneBusiness subscribers can access this week’s issue here. Now.

PBB Posting Update

Home-Typewriter Copy-1-8I’m happy to report that we are back up and running at normal hyperactive speed again. Thank you BellSouth. We’re in final edits and we’ll be posted in time so that you guys on the East Coast can rip, print, and read on the way home today.

Talk to you later!

PBB Posting Update

Home-Typewriter Copy-5

Hey guys. Yes, I’m late for this week’s advisory on our posting time, and there’s a reason. We’re having some connectivity issues. Let’s just say writing and editing live on the web using dial-up is not my idea of having a good time.

Due to heavy weather that moved through here yesterday our high-speed connectivity to the Worldwide Headquarters has been affected. BellSouth says we should be good to go by tomorrow.

Great. But that doesn’t help us now.

in the meantime, we’re still working, although it is at a crawl. God, how did we ever get by in the old days with just dial-up? I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.

Again, look for this week’s issue to be posted tomorrow.