Monthly Archives: July 2012

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1.jpg This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

It’s been a busy week in Airlineland as both Southwest Airlines and American Airlines reported their 2Q2012 earnings last week. In addition, the Global Business Travel Association opened up its yearly convention Sunday night.

Monday, Virgin America, JetBlue and American all rolled out new product announcements as part of the convention.

We review the news, including American’s plans to put both first and business class lie-flat beds on their new Airbus A321 transcon flights (say what?) in this week’s issue.

Speaking of American, no, the airline did not make a profit as it touted in its press releases. The airline posted a loss. One has to be careful listening to the airline tout its performance in the 2Q, as a lot of that year-over-year improvement is because the airline is working from such a low starting point in 2011. Operating margin was improved, for example, but it’s still not exceptional.

As for Southwest, while the airline reported better than expected 2Q numbers, guidance for the third quarter was a bit softer than had been forecast. We have our new “lite” version of the Southwest Airlines earnings call coverage in this week’s issue.

One thing is for sure — one topic dominated the airline’s earnings call. That topic was the airline’s divestiture of its AirTran 717 fleet. We still say this was the Deal of the Century for Delta Air Lines.

Meanwhile, United Continental shook up the markets Tuesday when it said its previous 2Q PRASM estimates were higher than they should have been. Say what?

So now that we know revenues are going to be even less than forecast, are we taking bets that costs are going to be higher? I’ve not seen an airline with lousy operations post “better than expected” cost numbers, have you?

On the AMR Bankruptcy Follies side of the house, we talk this week about the ridiculous “Oatmeal Summit” and we talk about what Doug Parker had to say up in Washington last week at the National Press Club.

And yes, we give you our take on how we would vote — if indeed we were able to vote — on the APA tentative agreement.

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

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1.jpg Good evening everyone. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

This week we have a big, jam-packed issue — and it’s not even earnings yet!

First, we award our Wild Turkey Award for Airline Management Excellence to a very worthy recipient — Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines.

We’ve only given out four of these in our 15 years of publishing PlaneBusiness Banter, but we tell you why we think Richard is more than deserving of the honor.

As part of the award, Richard will also be receiving a case of Wild Turkey Rare Breed whiskey, compliments of the person for whom the award is named — former Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Herb Kelleher.

Yep, Holly was in Atlanta last week.

I got to tour the new International Terminal at the Atlanta Airport, I got to crawl around one of Delta’s newly upgraded 747s, I met with almost every top member of the airline’s management team, and then there was a terrific dinner with some of the folks from Corp Comm — complete with green fried tomatoes and fried chicken.

What more could anyone ask for?

Meanwhile, while I honor the best in the business this week, in terms of airline CEOs, we still, unfortunately, have to talk about AMR and its CEO.

In this week’s AMR Bankruptcy Follies column, I take a look at the statement last week from the airline in which it says it is now going to look at “merger alternatives.”

We present a timeline of comments from the airline’s CEO Tom Horton for you to consider as we ask the question — is Horton really serious about doing this or is this just a ploy to placate the UCC?

We take a look at the June traffic numbers, and we’ll tell you why shares of SkyWest shot off the charts last week.

Oh, and yes, Boeing locked down the order with United. The FAA also proposed a $13.2 million fine against Boeing — for its slow response to fuel tank modification design work.

We take a look at the latest DOT Air Travel Consumer numbers from May — yet another bad month for United — and we talk about British Airways, Kingfisher, Qantas, Virgin Australia, and a whole lot more.

All — this week — in PlaneBusiness Banter .

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1.jpg Hello everyone. A very short preview of this week’s issue tonight. I have a good reason. I have to get on an plane early in the morning. And I have to be coherent when I get off the plane. The clock is not my friend at this point.

So — here is a quick overview. American Airlines and its bankruptcy? Check. United’s new 787 livery? Check. United’s continuing operational problems? Check. Delta, Southwest and Boeing finally make the 717 deal official and Delta gives more details on how the aircraft are going to be configured and how they are going to be deployed. Check.
Then there is Farnborough. Will United go with Boeing or Airbus? I think the answer is pretty obvious. Not a very well-kept secret.
I attended the recent Association of Travel Marketing Executives Conference in Chicago where I spoke about the current state of the airline industry. This week I give you an overview of the opening presentations and why I thought the conference was a worthwhile event.
Five years? Really? American is hanging banners in airports talking about how it is working on giving passengers the industry’s youngest fleet ….in five years?
Airline stocks had a pretty good week last week. We’ll tell you who picked up the most ground and who dropped back.
All this and much, much, more in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter!

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1.jpg Hello everyone. Happy Fourth of July! This week’s holiday issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

This week we take a look at the latest news from American Airlines bankruptcy, including the extension for exclusivity that the airline and the Unsecured Creditors Committee have agreed to. Does this change anything? We think not, and we explain all the fine print of what it does mean.

Meanwhile, as expected, the board of directors of the Allied Pilots Association voted to send out the last best tentative agreement with the company to the rank and file for a vote. All of that will take us into August — one of the main reasons the exclusivity date was pushed back.

The “intensive” two week closed doors locked-down negotiations between the pilots at Continental, United, and the airline came to a close last week. But no contract was to be had. We are still optimistic, and we think the timing of the announcement concerning the results of the Delta Air Lines‘ pilot contract had a bit to do with what happened here as well.

Meanwhile, while all this was going on, Holly was in Chicago last week, attending and speaking at the Association of Travel Marketing Executives conference. More on all that in the our next issue. While I was in Chicago, I also got to take a tour of the United Airlines new network operations center. Wow. What a trip that place is. More on all that in this week’s issue as well.

In our AMR Bankruptcy Follies column this week, we tip our hat to our customary “Ode to a Hot Dog” column and give it a new twist, as we explore the top ten reasons American Airlines’ CEO Tom Horton doesn’t like hot dogs.

And oh, then there were the first quarter earnings that Virgin America issued on Tuesday afternoon. Yep, that’s right. The old “Vanguard” method. You know how that works. You issue bad earnings news on a day when no one is paying much attention. Like on the afternoon before July 4th.

That’s okay. We were paying attention, as were some of our subscribers.

The numbers were, in a nutshell, horrible. We ask — how long can this operation continue?

All this and more, including our second quarter airline stock performance review (in which US Airways handily took top honors) in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.