Monthly Archives: December 2012

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello everyone. I know, long time no see. Or hear.

I was originally going to publish our last issue for the year late last week anyway, as a result of both Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines issuing updated 2013 guidance to investors last week.

But as Friday morning rolled around, and I began to put together the information Southwest had issued, the Twitter feed began to go nuts with reports of a shooting at a school in Connecticut.

It didn’t take too long before it was clear I was not going to publish PlaneBusiness Banter on Friday.

So, here we are.

This week we have a quite extensive end-of-year issue of PlaneBusiness Banter to share with you as we cover the news of the Delta/Virgin Atlantic proposed JV; we give you our take on the announced (and some not announced) changes in the management structure at United Airlines; we discuss the latest problems with the Boeing 787; we talk about how the proposed valuation of the American Airlines/US Airways deal could portend a rather nice jump in the price of US Airways stock; we talk about just what is going on with the American Airlines/US Airways merger discussions; we let you know how badly Sandy impacted the U.S. airline industry’s operational performance in October, and we give you the details of what both Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines told investors and analysts last week.

Oh, and yes, I was in New York last week as well. I presented at the BTN Corporate Travel Management Conference and I also attended the BTN Hall of Fame dinner. Great time to be in New York. It was great to see Bob Crandall, Herb Kelleher, Gordon Bethune, and a who’s who of the corporate travel community at the St. Regis.

But that was then. This is now.

Now it is time for us to take our usual holiday hiatus. A trip to see PlaneDad is on the agenda, as well as taking the time to reach out to those people who were an important part of my 2012.

Those are just some of the things I’ll be doing the next couple of weeks.

Oh, and I point subscribers this week to a great recipe for potato latkes — compliments of a dear friend and spectacular artist, Sandy Sallin.

Just because I am in the holiday spirit, I’ll share the link with you as well! These things really do rock!

One final note. If something dramatic develops in regard to the US Airways/American Airlines merger, I will check in here. I’ll be hanging out over on Twitter as well. Handle is easy to remember: @planebusiness.

Have a great holiday everyone!

Talk to you again next year!

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Good evening everyone.

What a lovely birthday today has been. Even though I have been slaving over a hot issue of PlaneBusiness Banter all day. Tomorrow I shall celebrate properly.

In this week’s issue we talk about what may be the next big deal in the U.S. airline industry. No, I’m not talking about the anticipated merger between US Airways and bankrupt American Airlines. (Although we obviously talk about that again this week as usual!)

No, I’m talking about the reports that say a deal that would see Delta Air Lines purchase Singapore Airlines’ stake in Virgin Atlantic is …back on.

Astute observers of the industry may recall that rumors about this same deal were hot and heavy about two years ago. But from all reports at the time, Sir Richard had an overly inflated idea of how much his prized possession was worth in terms of a “branding” fee.

Yes, well, times change.

As long as Delta doesn’t overpay for the stake, I have no problem with the deal. It would give Delta a much better presence at Heathrow, which it needs to keep its top tier corporate travel clients happy.

The big news closer to home is the pilot contract vote at American Airlines. On Friday, it will all be over, except for the expected screaming and yelling that we anticipate will occur no matter which way the vote goes. And yes, I still say it is too close to call. We’ll see.

Voting is now underway on the United Airlines’ ALPA tentative agreement as well.

I’m sure you all saw that AMR has asked to extend its exclusivity period during which it can present its restructuring plan to the bankruptcy court. No surprise. Considering that not much can be done in December anyway, and considering that the UCC, American, and US Airways are clearly working to put together a merger proposal — this is nothing to get excited about. It does, however, mean that a “merger announcement” has probably been pushed back a bit from what I had originally estimated.

So no hostile bids on the horizon. At least not yet.

Lufthansa finally decided it had best look for a partner to expand its Asian access. Guess who it is?

A merger between Qatar and Emirates? According to Qatar’s CEO, it almost happened.

The situation at Iberia is a mess. IAG has sued the pilot union. British Airways probably wishes it had never gotten involved with Iberia in the first place. Iberia has said it needs to cut 4500 jobs. Meanwhile, employees at Iberia vote to hold a series of strikes later this month.

Merry Friggin’ Christmas!

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