Monthly Archives: September 2007

US Airways Reaches Single Certificate Milestone

Usairways Fs 11-05

US Airways, which is, as we all know, the the result of a merger between America West and US Airways two years ago — officially became one airline in the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration today as the FAA granted the airline a single operating certificate.

Yee haw.

Good news for the airline. Would be even better news if all employee groups at the airline were now working under single contracts.

But we all know that road is one with a huge ugly “Slow: Road Work Ahead” sign blocking speedy progress.

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New Spirit Livery

One of our readers just sent me a copy of an artist rendering from, which is supposedly the new Spirit livery.

As our reader noted, “Ugly, boring, hideous.  I am not sure if that is the correct term but I don’t think I like it.”

I think the correct term might be….”Blecccch.”

What do you think?


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Has Murnane Become Mesa’s Sacrificial Lamb? Porn Usage Given As Excuse By Mesa Defense

You know, we all knew this Hawaiian-Mesa trial was going to be fun to watch from the bleacher seats, but little did we know just how much.

Yesterday, we finally got to hear the Mesa defense side of just why it was that CFO Peter Murnane seems to have deleted lots and lots and lots of material from more than one computer. Some of it, according to Hawaiian attorneys, was information that would prove that Murnane and Mesa used confidential material they obtained from Hawaiian — as part of their Hawaiian regional airline start-up planning.

The reason? Peter apparently likes naked girls. (Or boys — they were not specific.)


In what has to be one of the more creative, er, desperate, defense strategies I’ve heard in a long time, Mesa defense attorneys yesterday argued that the reason Murnane erased bulk amounts of material from a number of computers is because he had been cruising porn sites and his computer (s)? had become infected with a virus.

Yes, apparently Luscious Lips Linda is the real cause of this problem. Not Rosemary Woods.

I don’t know whether to laugh or throw up.

But, as we all know, nothing is ever as it seems, or as one reader commented to me today, “You know Peter knows where the skeletons are at Mesa, so you can be sure if he is now “taking the rap” for this — in an attempt by Mesa to avoid being found guilty of the bigger offense — Murnane is not going to be left out in the cold — penniless. Ain’t going to happen.”

Good point. And I would agree.

Which makes the whole thing even more sleazy.

Speaking of porn, that reminds me. A couple of years ago I was told that Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein was part owner of a “gentlemen’s club” in Phoenix. Anyone know if that is still the case?

I mention this because, as we’ve seen Mesa do in the past, often the airline can be its own worst enemy — and once again I’m not sure they have thought out the potential bigger picture ramifications of accusing its CFO of sitting around accessing porn sites all day.

I think it’s called, “Digging the hole deeper.”

Meanwhile, you can read the latest creative storytelling from the Hawaiian courtroom here.

Ticker: (NYSE:HA), (NYSE:MESA)

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Spirit Looking at Potential Colombian Linkup


Getting caught up on my Flight International reading tonight (this morning) and I saw an interesting tidbit from Monday about Spirit Airlines. Actually I was looking for a pic of the airline’s new livery.

Does anyone have one?

Instead of new livery pics, I found out instead that the airline is apparently in talks with Aires, the Colombian airline about a potential deal that would see Spirit take an ownership position in the Latin American airline.

According to the post, Colombia’s recent award to Aires of daily flights from Bogota to Fort Lauderdale prompted the talks.

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Feedback on ATC Outage This Afternoon


No firm numbers on how many flights were affected by the problem in Memphis today, but it sounds like the after-effects are still being felt from one side of the country to another.

From a reader — an American Airlines’ pilot:

“Yea we were just north of PHL when we got our reroute.  EWR to DFW via AEX (Alexandra, LA).  We came down through ZDC, ZTL and ZHU airspace which tacked on about 20 minutes to the total time.  Other then the additional flight time the controllers work load didn’t seem any greater.

About thirty airplanes on the east side of DFW on the ground stop at 3:00 pm but I didn’t see what the west side looked like.”

So what caused the ATC outage in Memphis in the first place?

Several reports say the problem was caused by a cut in the main fiber optic cable leading into the center.

Which begs the question….is the cable going to the ATC operations not important enough to make sure this does not happen?

Or as one person said on another airline-related message board, why wasn’t the fiber run in a SONET ring. What is a SONET ring?

According to this cable person, “It is a self-healing fiber optic ring that has the ability to send the same data in 2 directions. If the fiber gets cut somewhere, the light passing through it is instantaneously redirected around the other side of the ring and no one (customer wise) knows that there is a problem. The damaged fiber is repaired and the ring is ready to take another hit.”

Memphis ATC Down?

Reports say that the Memphis Center ATC lost all frequencies about 2 hours ago and that its airspace was shut down.

The Fox television station in Memphis reports that FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said a ground stop had been in place for any flight that would transition through the airspace. “We held them on the ground wherever they were, whether it was Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston,” she is quoted as saying.

The airspace was completely cleared at 1:30 ET.

The reason being given for the shutdown?

“Equipment failures.”

Southwest Says Costs on the Rise Due To Employee Buyout Plan

Group In Front Of Plane

Monday the markets took shares of AMR, parent of American Airlines to the woodshed, after the airline issued revised downward guidance for the third quarter. Actually the market took shares of most airline stocks along for the unpleasant ride.

Today, Southwest said that it now expects CASM to rise between 4% and 5% for the third quarter. This is up from a previous estimate of 2%.

So why are shares of Southwest only down 1.5% as of now — instead of the 14% beating AMR shares took on Monday?

Because in the case of Southwest, the airline says that most of the additional cost is a result of the airline’s recent “buy out” deal that attracted more than 600 employees. The airline said it will be taking a $25 million pretax charge as part of the buy out deal.

Southwest guidance suggests a third-quarter profit below both our own estimate and that of consensus,” said JP Morgan analyst Jamie Baker in a note this morning.

He lowered his third-quarter earnings estimate to $0.20, down from $0.23.

Ticker: (NYSE:LUV)

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China Route Decisions Announced by DOT


Who wants to go to China?

We do, we do! Please. Please! PLEASE.

Today the DOT, in a rather timely fashion for a change, announced which airlines are the latest to have been given new rights to fly between the U.S. and China.

All six of the legacy carriers scored new service.

Delta Air Lines notched its first China route as it was given permission to fly Atlanta-Shanghai on a daily non-stop basis.

Almost simultaneously with the announcement, Delta said ti will begin flying the route March 30.

United Airlines has been granted the authority to begin daily non-stop service between its San Francisco hub and Guangzhou. This will mark the first non-stop flight between that city and the U.S. by a U.S. carrier.

US Airways was successful with its bid to fly its daily non-stop service between Philly and Beijing (the first China route for them); Continental got the nod for daily non-stop service between Newark and Shanghai; Northwest received the okay for non-stop daily service between Detroit and Shanghai and American was given the okay for daily non-stop service between Chicago and Beijing.

Ticker: (NYSE: AMR), (NYSE:LCC), (NYSE: DAL), (NYSE: CAL), (Nasdaq: UAUA), (NYSE:NWA).

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