Monthly Archives: December 2010

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello everyone.

This week’s issue PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. Actually, this is our last issue for the year, as we take our usual publishing hiatus through the Christmas holidays.

But not before a rather long issue this week.

And we are talking about a lot of different things this week.

In terms of meat and potatoes, we talk about the recent presentations given at the Hudson Securities Airline Investor Conference in New York. The big U.S. players were there, in addition to Pinnacle and GOL.

Two presentations stood out for us, and we talk more about those as a result. The first was the one from JetBlue’s CFO Ed Barnes. One big reason this one was on the radar. The airline announced that it’s previous fourth quarter revenue guidance was going to come in just a tad lower than expected. Why? And is this just an airline specific thing? A route specific thing? An industry thing?

Second, US Airways’ President Scott Kirby took the opportunity to give investors a very complete and concise overview of how he sees demand and revenues shaping up. When Scott speaks, people listen. And with good reason — Scott is seen as one of the industry’s best revenue trend analysts. In fact, Dan McKenzie, analyst with Hudson pointed out at the conference that Scott “nailed” actual 2010 industry RASM performance at last year’s conference.

Naturally those in attendance wanted Scott’s take on 2011. We give it to you.

In our most enjoyable part of this week’s issue, we talk once again to our Mole at the North Pole — Clyde the Elf.

Every year Clyde “borrows” the letters from airline CEOs to Santa Claus, copies them, and then sends us copies via FedEx. We got the valuable package last Friday.

Let’s just say this: WikiLeaks has nothing on PlaneBusiness when it comes to classified airline industry documents.

In other news, it looks like the folks over at USAPA, the pilot union at US Airways, can’t read numbers correctly again. Dunno what’s with these guys, but this is not the first time we’ve had to call the union out for posting numbers concerning US Airways that were way out of line.

Oh gosh, we’ve got all kind of things we’re talking about this week including: Southwest Airlines’ want ad for an ETOPS manager (think this pretty much confirms those Hawaii whispers); an update on the negotiations with the flight attendants and American Airlines; a new damning report on how just easy it is to fool the TSA’s backscatter machines; a great first-person account of what it was like to be in the cockpit of Qantas Flight 32; union angst at Philippine Airlines; DOT numbers from November, and a whole lot more.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue of PBB here.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello to all on what is a drop-dead gorgeous Tuesday morning here in the DFW Metromess.

This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. Subscribers can access it here.

So what are we talking about this week? Well, considering we are headquartered in that hotbed of aviation, Dallas Ft. Worth, we talk a lot this week about the recent British invasion. Oh, that’s right. Virgin America is, er, an American company.

It was easy to forget that last week as Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin marketing machine touched down in DFW.

Yes, Virgin America launched its new service to DFW. We give you our take on the festivities.

In addition, in my column this week I take a long look at two similar and intertwined airlines — JetBlue and Virgin America.

In other news, we have a copy of the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau’s preliminary report on the Rolls-Royce uncontained engine failure on Qantas Flight 32. Let me put it this way — if there were any doubts before, it’s pretty clear Rolls-Royce has a big problem with the Trent 900 engine. Particularly the version Qantas is using on its aircraft. And yes, that particular flavor of 900 is a different configuration than the one Singapore and Lufthansa uses.

We include two of the photos from the report in this week’s issue. Not a pretty sight.

In other news, the International Air Transport Association announced that Cathay’s CEO will be taking over the helm there next year. This means we’ll have two new mouthpieces at the helm of the two biggest airline trade groups in 2011.

Fallout from the national election continues to trickle down through the industry. This week we saw shares of FedEx lead the group as analysts upgraded shares. Granted, one of the reasons shares were upgraded is an increase in industrial productivity — but the fact that proposed legislation that would have made it easier for FedEx drivers to unionize is now probably toast — a result of the changes in Washington — certainly is at play here as well.

Speaking of Wall Street, oil prices hit their highest point in more than two years on Friday. Monday, they were up again.

Not good news for those things with wings that drink millions of gallons of jet fuel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And what about those Spanish Air Traffic controllers? Did you folks see how much these guys make on average? Trust me. It’s more than 99% of what airline pilots make.

It’s hell when the gravy train stops.

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