Monthly Archives: June 2012

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Good evening earthlings. This week’s edition of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

While yours truly enjoys her digs in Chicago this week, as I hang with the folks at the American Travel Marketing Executives Conference and United Airlines, there is a lot going on in my usual environs down in the DFW Metromess.

This week I tell you why I think the board of the Allied Pilots Association will vote this week to send a contract proposal between it and American Airlines out for a vote. I explain why this does not mean that the APA no longer supports a merger deal with US Airways. And, I also talk about why, if you are a drama queen, you will certainly like July. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet folks.

In our AMR Bankruptcy Follies column this week, I take a look at two recent articles/editorials in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. We are not impressed when people who should know better treat a complex bankruptcy situation with such obvious disregard for the facts.

Meanwhile, downunder, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce was yelling loud and clear last week about the dangers of Etihad buying into Virgin Australia. While usually I listen to these types of complaints with a very skeptical ear — in this case Joyce may have a good point. Etihad could, if it wanted, purchase 100% of Virgin Australia. But Qantas is limited in how much foreign investment it can accept.

No doubt about it. Australia has become a hugely competitive market — both in terms of its international routes and on the domestic front.

In our email bag this week, we’re talking about whether or not yet another suitor could come out of the woods for American Airlines, and we discuss the potential for further changes in the United Airlines‘ C-Suite.

On Wall Street last week, airline stocks frolicked, as the price of both crude oil and jet fuel dropped dramatically. Who were the biggest gainers? We’ll let you know.

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

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello everyone. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

In this week’s issue we give you our take on what we think Ryanair is up to with its announced deal for Aer Lingus, we talk about the recent North Texas visits of US Airways executives, and we share what we think is the Kodak Moment of the Week from the recent US Airways’ Annual Meeting in New York.

Meanwhile, the 1113 process continues in the American Airlines bankruptcy. We think we’ll hear about a deal between the airline and the pilots this week — and it’s now up in the air as to whether Judge Lane will rule on Friday or not. He could rule on all three contracts, although APA has now formally requested a stay. Or, he could delay his ruling if he believes there is a chance for one, if not two of the unions to come to terms.

No, we don’t think the APFA will come to terms. Their contract will be abrogated.

Remember — all of this is part of the bankruptcy process. The 1113 proceedings have to come to a conclusion before the bankruptcy process can move forward, i.e., a US Airways plan be formally presented to the UCC.

As our Kodak Moment of the Week clearly shows, union leadership at the airline still solidly supports a merger with US Airways.

In other news, Delta Air Lines held its annual meeting in New York last week as well and CEO Richard Anderson talked a bit more about the airline’s refinery project. We talk a bit about that. And yes, to answer some recent questions — we like the idea a lot.

Airline stocks had a sloppy week last week, with the exception of LAN and GOL. The merger between LAN and TAM is now expected to become official on Friday, after an unexpected hold-up involving TAM shareholders. As we explain, this is no big deal, and after Friday, the largest airline in the world, per market capitalization, LATAM, will be based in Latin America.

The DOT April Air Travel Consumer Report was issued last week. All and all, a pretty good month for the airlines — particularly in terms of on-time performance and lost bags. But there were some airlines that did not fare quite as well as the others — and we’ll let you know both the good and bad news from the report.

As always, all this and more in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.

PlaneBusiness Banter Posted!

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Hello all.

This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

This week we have a little bit of this and a little bit of that. First, we look at the latest effort by American Airlines to present its view of the world, i.e., its “truthiness” regarding its future prospects as a “Standalone” airline. Now the airline has resorted to asking business partners for what amounts to a reference letter.

Amazing what a company has to do when it can’t find one independent Wall Street analyst to say they endorse the plan you say is your best option coming out of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, oneworld partner Qantas just lost $1 billion in market capitalization as investors clearly are not happy with the fact the airline is now slated to post its first annual loss since the stock went public in 1995. The stock dropped to such low levels last week that the airline has been forced to hire an advisor to help keep potentially hostile takeover bids away. But I doubt that the hiring of such a firm will be of much use. Former CEO Geoff Dixon is supposedly heading up one such group.

Meanwhile, Emirates said this week it remains on track to enter into a “commercial” agreement with the airline — but not as an equity partner.

U.S. major airlines seem poised to begin slapping $25 fees on oversized carry-on bags. We like the move — and don’t think passenger rights groups should be upset over all this. All the airlines are doing is leveling the playing field and stopping the abuse of the carry-on rules as they exist now. So everybody — just chill. The fees that are being considered are for “oversized” bags. Not normal bags.

Airline stocks had a fairly good week last week — while the rest of the markets stumbled. Again — the more fuel prices decline the better it is for airlines.

At the IATA Conference in Beijing this week the IATA set out an ambitious goal — to bring peace to the fight between airlines and GDS companies. We’ll see how all this shakes out.

Meanwhile China and the EU stepped up their game of chicken over China’s unwillingness to participate in the EU’s carbon emissions scheme.

Singapore Airlines launched its low fare long-haul “Scoot” last week. Not a product I am jumping up and down to fly on — but it’s yet another attempt by a major Asian airline to tap into the low fare market.

All this and more, including a ton of reader mail, in this week’s PlaneBusiness Banter.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Good evening everyone.

This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted!

We are a bit late in posting this week — the result of PlaneDad move-related duties. I am happy to report that he is now in his new home in Texas, but the whole process took more time this week and last than I had anticipated.

Hopefully we’ve gotten the most time-consuming issues behind us.

Meanwhile, this week in PlaneBusiness Banter, there are two main stories we’re talking about. One — the reaction of United Airlines to the city of Houston’s decision to allow Houston Hobby to expand — allowing Southwest Airlines and other airlines to fly internationally from Hobby. While we knew this was going to be the city’s decision, even we were somewhat taken aback with some comments made by the airline and its CEO, Jeff Smisek after the city council vote took place.

We talk about what the airline could have done — as opposed to what it did do – in this week’s issue.

We have a new edition of AMR Bankruptcy Follies this week. This week’s we’re talking about Chinese food and mystery meat. I’ll let you guys figure it out.

We also heard from a number of our subscribers about the “Town Hall” meeting AMR CEO Tom Horton conducted last week at the airline’s headquarters. Funny. The entire presentation, particularly the Q&A session contents are not all on the official “Scrubbed” version of the session that the airline has posted for public consumption.

But essentially, I think Mr. Horton needs to be reminded that he is not the one who is going to decide whether American merges with another airline or not, or who that airline may be. That responsibility lies with the bankruptcy court, particularly the Unsecured Creditors Committee.

Etihad broke out the checkbook again last week, while David Neeleman’s Azul bought out rival Brazilian airline TRIP. This also means that SkyWest, which had invested in TRIP will get a payout. Over time.

Will Pinnacle Airlines move back to Minneapolis? Yes — if the folks in Minneapolis have anything to do with it. I also tend to think it will probably happen, as Delta continues to downsize its presence in Memphis.

Oh, and that big sell-off in airline stocks Monday? Don’t pay any attention to it. If you are a savvy investor you saw it for what it was — an overreaction to the Delta May PRASM estimate numbers. But Delta is an exception to the rule. We’ll tell you what two analysts had to say about the situation.

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