Good evening everyone.
This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. This week we’re talking a lot about the two airlines that call Dallas-Ft.Worth home — American Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
Last week Southwest Airlines rolled out its fourth quarter earnings results — making the airline the first to report for the quarter. Overall the airline posted numbers that were just a bit better than expected, although the “noise” from the airline’s merger with AirTran will continue into 2012. The airline also updated its list of AirTran cities it is keeping and those it is putting on the “Don’t fly there no mo” list.
Were there any surprises here? Yep. On both sides.
Meanwhile, the bankruptcy continues at American Airlines. Monday Human Resources SVP Jeff Brundage sent out a letter to employees trying to reassure them that even if their pensions were terminated or frozen, they would still get almost the same payment from the PGBC. Only problem — that is not true if you are a pilot. Or a member of upper management. Why? The pension payouts for those two groups are higher — and the payouts would exceed the maximum levels allowed by the PBGC.
Brundage’s letter was issued, I believe, as a result of the airline’s failure to pay the roughly $100 million it was scheduled to pay into its pension plans last week. News of the airline’s minimal payment it did make was not received well with labor leaders of the airline’s employee groups. The move, coupled with the publicly vocal sparring between the airline and PBGC over the last several weeks succeeded in raising the angst level of employees considerably.
Brundage’s letter was followed by a missive to the troops from CEO Tom Horton. But all Horton’s note said was that the airline was going to make changes in its executive ranks, its management “layers” and that it was going to be the airline it used to be — again.
Again — no details.
Meanwhile, out in Phoenix, US Airways’ President Scott Kirby and his revenue management team are hard at work putting together a network restructuring plan for American Airlines. Or so said a report in Bloomberg last week.
Let’s just say the obvious!
Of course US Airways’ President Scott Kirby has his minions working on a plan that will increase American’s revenue performance.
We may not get to hear the details until much later in the year — after American has had its chance to impress the bankruptcy court and the unsecured creditor’s committee with its restructuring plan. But I assure you — yes, US Airways is working on a proposal.
Oh my gosh. And this is just the start of this week’s issue.
All this, and more in this week’s edition of PlaneBusiness Banter.