Monthly Archives: August 2010

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello earthlings.

Our “bonus” edition of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

This week we conclude our earnings coverage with in-depth earnings reviews of Pinnacle, AIr Canada and WestJet.

We also take a look at the June DOT Airline Travel Consumer Report. Yep, three hour tarmac delays were much lower — but cancellations were not up. They were flat.

But hey, like we said last month, one month does not a trend make. Nor does two for that matter.

We take a look at these numbers as well as all the usual DOT consumer moaning and groaning reports, lost bags, and on-time performances.

Of course we also give you the scoop on the LAN/TAM deal. LAN’s acquisition of TAM will create the largest airline in Latin America. Big news!

Then there is the new United livery, Delta’s upgrade at JFK (about time), Spirit’s latest swipe at a competitor (they never miss an opportunity to do so), and more.

All in this week’s “bonus” issue of PBB.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

And with that, we are all officially on vacation!

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 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.

The Dog Ate the PON Card: Why PBB Is Still Not Posted

Verizon.jpg Hello.

See this truck?

This is the truck that the Verizon FIOS service repair person drove to the Worldwide Headquarters this morning at 10 AM.

This visit was in response to my call to Verizon on Tuesday after a new router that they sent did nothing to solve the problem. Their customer service person at that point assured me that the problem was in the Verizon “box” on the wall.

This was after customer service at Verizon had told me Monday that we had lost connectivity because of a bad router.

But remember, I installed a new router on Tuesday — and nothing changed.

So today, at 10 AM, a live person shows up to “change out” the bad Verizon box on my wall. However, in an ominous sign, he tells me before he does it that this will probably not solve the problem. He’s been down this road before.

Live person changes out the box.

He was right.

Nothing changes.

For the next four hours he and I keep testing. Ethernet only. Router on, router off. Hard reboots. On and on. He keeps telling Verizon techs the same stories over and over and over. I can’t go anywhere else and try to get this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter completed – as I have to stay and test with my laptop.

Because I am the customer. Because the Verizon tech can’t stay here by himself.

By this time, after six days of this — and a huge issue sitting half completed — I feel like I have been put through a pasta machine. Over and over and over again.

Finally, at 2:38 P.M., after test number 268, the pages magically load. The connections don’t hang. I can finally upload pages to the website again.

And post this blog post.

See that truck?

The one that is marketing Verizon’s “blazing fast internet.” What you don’t see is the small print that reads,

*Most of the time. And definitely not when your PON card is bad.

You IT geeks will understand.

For all the rest of you — Monday’s issue of PBB will be posted later today.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello all.

Live and direct from the PlaneBusiness Worldwide Steaming Hot Headquarters, we bring you a 150 plus-page issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.

Yes, this is, without a doubt, the mother of all earnings issues.

We have full transcripts and PlaneBusiness Banter earnings summaries for Southwest Airlines, AirTran, JetBlue, Alaska Air Group and Allegiant Travel this week.

Not only that but we give you the numbers that were just reported from Air France/KLM, Lufthansa, British Airways, ANA and Singapore Airlines.


All of this plus our take on the more “newsworthy” topics from the past week including the meltdown at Mexicana (and no, we’re not talking about the FAA’s downgrade of the Mexican aviation safety rating) and the showdown between the pilots and management at Philippine Airlines.

So what do you think? Do you think the pilots and flight attendants at Mexicana should have taken up management’s offer to buy the airline?

Or — should they have cut their pay and benefits essentially in half?

As we were posting this issue, the news came down: Mexicana has filed for bankruptcy.

One thing that will do — it will stop airline leasing companies from taking their aircraft back. Apparently at least three of the airline’s aircraft had already been snatched back by their owners.

Aside from all this turmoil, we then have the latest attempt by the U.S. government to “make the airline industry a better and safer place.”

Yes, from the same folks who brought us the Three-Hour Tarmac rule, the Senate and the House passed a bill last week that will see the minimum number of flight hours required for a regional airline pilot position jump to 1500.

Needless to say, I can understand why members of Congress want to look like they are making the industry a safer place — but is a 1500 hour flight time minimum the way to do it?

One of our regular contributors gives us his take on the potential ramifications of this legislation in this week’s issue.

One thing that is a constant in this industry is that it always has a lot of debt.

But while most of the airline’s debt ratings are in the “junk” category, shrewd investors know that investing in airline debt can be quite profitable.

This week I assemble the latest credit and debt comments on the major airlines from Mark Streeter — the man who does this for a living for JPMorgan Chase. I think Mark is the sharpest guy on the Street when it comes to airline debt.

As for airline stocks — a Foreign Flyer took the first place nod last week in terms of gains. Overall, it was a good strong week for the sector.

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

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

Mexicana Labor Unions Say No: Airline Files for Bankruptcy Protection


I am sitting here waiting for the final edits to be completed on what is, without a doubt, the largest earnings issue of PlaneBusiness Banter we’ve ever had. More on that in a bit.

But in the meantime, an update on a story we talk about in this week’s issue. Mexicana Airlines just filed for bankruptcy.

The airline had given its unions a kind of “the worse of two evils” ultimatum last week and the unions didn’t bite. As a result the airline is now in bankruptcy, and we have been told by more than one PBB subscriber that the airline has already had a handful of planes repossessed. One thing the bankruptcy filing will do is prevent additional aircraft seizures.

This news comes just days after the FAA dinged the Mexican aviation safety rating to a number “2.”

The FAA action means two things. One, until it changes, it means that Mexican airlines cannot expand their service into the U.S. But secondly, it means that existing codeshare agreements between U.S. carriers and Mexican carriers are now on the shelf.

Delta Air Lines currently codeshares with Aeromexico and American Airlines has a codesharing agreement with Mexicana.

But we can’t forget Southwest Airlines, which was, at some point in the future, slated to start a new codesharing agreement with Volaris, yet another Mexican airline.