Monthly Archives: June 2008

Holy Smokes…..Bad Day For Airline Stocks on Wall Street


After a week in which airline stocks managed to hold their own — shares of many airlines were beaten into the ground today, as oil picked up 1.04, closing at 136.40.

Look at some of these one-day double digit drops: Continental ended the day down 16%, closing at 11.96; Delta ended down 12%, closing at 5 bucks even; US Airways lost 19%, closing at 2.54; Northwest lost 17%, closing at 5.51; Mesa was down 14%, ending the day at 48 cents; and United Airlines lost 15%, closing at 6.09.

Horrible day on Wall Street for the things with wings.

R.I.P. George Carlin

“In the unlikely event…….”

This is a very suspect phrase, especially coming, as it does, from an industry that is willing to lie about arrival and departure times.

“In the unlikely event of a sudden change in cabin pressure…”


“..An oxygen mask will drop down in front of you. Place the mask over your face and breathe normally.”

Well, I have no problem with that. I always breathe normally when I’m in a 600 mile-an-hour uncontrolled vertical dive. I also SHIT normally! RIGHT IN MY PANTS!

-George Carlin “Jammin in New York” 1992


Mesa Gets Official Delisting Letter From Nasdaq


Mesa Air Group filed an 8K with the SEC today, in which it said:

“On June 20, 2008, Mesa Air Group, Inc. (the “Company”) issued a press release announcing that it received a Nasdaq Staff Determination letter (the “Notice”) on June 18, 2008, indicating that the Company fails to comply with the minimum bid price requirement for continued listing set forth in Marketplace Rule 4450(a)(5) (the “Rule”). Therefore, in accordance with Marketplace Rule 4450(e)(2), the Company has been provided 180 calendar days, or until December 15, 2008, to regain compliance. If, at anytime before December 15, 2008, the bid price of the Company’s common stock closes at $1.00 per share or more for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days, the Company will have regained compliance with the Rule.

The Notice also states that if the Company does not regain compliance with the Rule by December 15, 2008, Nasdaq Staff will provide the Company written notification that its securities will be delisted. In the event of such a notification, the Company intends to request a hearing before a Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel to review the Staff Determination. There can be no assurance the Panel will grant the Company’s request for continued listing.

The Notice arises as a result of the fact that for the last 30 consecutive business days, the bid price of the Company’s common stock has closed below the minimum $1.00 per share requirement for continued inclusion under the Rule.”

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Why Not? It’s Friday….Michael O’Leary Says Ryanair to Offer “Beds and Blow Jobs”

Just another Michael O’Leary story for a Friday afternoon.

O’Leary, the always chatty and usually controversial Chairman and CEO of Ryanair recently gave an interview in Germany where he talked about how Ryanair might set up a new trans-Atlantic operation. He said that the new service would definitely be two-class, as there would always be a market for those higher-priced seats.

So in “Economy [class] it will be very low fares, but in business class it will be beds and blow jobs,” O’Leary calmly explained.

His German translator, clearly somewhat unnerved, then explains that she can not come up with a proper German equivalent of “blow job.” Whereupon O’Leary makes a crack about how the Germans must have a terrible sex life.

Hey, as I said, it’s Friday. I think we all need a cold beer. Or two. Don’t you?

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Midwest Airlines To Ground MD-80 Fleet

Yet another heavy shoe hit the floor today as Midwest Airlines announced that it is grounding its entire MD-80 fleet.

The Business Journal of Milwaukee reports:

“Midwest Airlines will be grounding its entire fleet of MD-80 aircraft — used largely for long-haul flights to the West Coast — and lay off an undetermined number of employees as part of its planned restructuring efforts, airline spokesman Michael Brophy said Friday.

The Oak Creek airline will stop flying about a dozen of the less-efficient MD-80 planes in its effort to counter the skyrocketing cost of fuel. Brophy said the number of affected employees, which would include pilots, have yet to be determined.

The aircraft are used largely for long flights to West Coast destinations like Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. Brophy said the airline has not yet determined whether it would eliminate some of those destinations or reduce the frequency of some of those flights. Midwest has the option of serving those cities with the other airplanes in its fleet, Boeing 717s, from its Kansas City hub.”

Between Maddog groundings at American Airlines and Midwest, Allegiant is going to have a bevy of MD-80 beauties from which to pick their next aircraft.

More Details on Continental-UA Deal Per Tilton

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United Airlines’ Chairman and CEO Glenn Tilton went into more detail in his email to employees today.

In addition to the basics we mentioned earlier, Tilton also said:

“In addition to the network and customer benefits, we’ll work with Continental to find sources of cost savings and operational efficiencies that can be gained through cooperation in areas such as common technology, procurement, the use of facilities, including lounges. Within the limits of our agreements, we will explore opportunities to reduce spending by pursuing common contracts with suppliers and combining our considerable purchasing power. We will leverage shared information technology capabilities to develop world-class systems more cost effectively, and investigate the possibilities to standardize and optimize our real estate and lounge systems across the world. There is tremendous potential for both cost and operational efficiencies and new revenue, and we plan to explore every opportunity.”

That is an interesting paragraph. “Shared information technology capabilities…”

Well we all know that EDS just signed a huge contract with Continental not too long ago. So we would have to believe that perhaps this means United will join in this same effort to build a new res system in tandem with Continental?

Going through a couple of notes from you, one person suggested that this really does look like a “trial marriage” and that we should see a full-blown merger between the two airlines within 12-24 months. Sounds about right.

Another reader suggested that US Airways is not necessarily the biggest loser in this deal — but that American Airlines is, as American and British Airways were both courting Continental in an effort to give the oneworld alliance a nice kick in the pants.

What do you think?

Amusing Observation from CAL-UAUA Press Release


From the official PR Newswire release:

“Continental Airlines and United Airlines Announce Comprehensive Plan for Global Cooperation; Continental Plans to Join Star Alliance Thursday June 19, 2:10 pm ET”

“Global Cooperation?” Oh for goodness sakes. Why didn’t they just say what they really meant….”Global Domination!”

Continental Airlines To Join Star Alliance; “Partnership” with United Airlines Also Announced


Continental and United Airlines made it official today. Continental is going to join the Star Alliance.

Funny, but the week after the United/US Airways merger died, I told readers of PBB that I believed we’d hear shortly that Continental was going to join Star. I had quite a few subscribers write me and debate the issue pretty heavily.

But more important than the Star link-up, Continental and United also announced the long-rumored new “partnership” between the two airlines. The deal is a bit different, depending on whether you are looking overseas, or at the two airlines domestically.

Internationally, Continental says that it is going to seek antitrust immunity from the DOT to form joint ventures on trans-Atlantic flying with United and Lufthansa, and eventually on flights to Latin America and Asia.

But domestically, the “partnership” will be limited to codesharing between the two airlines.

Where does this leave US Airways, which is still a member of Star?

According to a message that the airline sent out to employees, it doesn’t change anything.

“Q. Does this change our codeshare relationship with UA?

A. No. As part of the process to invite CO into Star Alliance, we reaffirmed our relationship with UA and our position in Star Alliance. The US-UA codeshare program will remain one of the largest codeshare programs in the industry.

Q. Isn’t Star Alliance already the largest global airline alliance? Why do we need another North American member?

A. Each member of the alliance brings unique value. The CO route network brings new destinations and additional service in important markets that have limited service by current Star Alliance member carriers. CO customers will gain access to additional services not available to them today, including airport lounge and frequent flyer benefits.

Q. Will US reduce flying as a result of United’s new relationship with CO?

A. No, today’s announcement will have no impact on the level of US operations. Codeshare programs, frequent flyer cooperation and other aspects of an airline alliance help to increase the number of passengers US Airways carries.

Of course the next question would be — does this mean that Continental Airlines and US Airways could enter into a potential codesharing agreement?

According to the US Airways internal missive, “We haven’t had discussions yet on a possible codeshare or potential bilateral relationship with Continental.”

Ticker: (Nasdaq:UAUA);(NYSE:CAL); (NYSE:LCC)

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