Monthly Archives: May 2013

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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

This week I take you inside Delta Air Lines‘ rollout of their new T4 terminal at JFK in New York. What’s the best part of the airline’s new JFK experience? What’s not so good? How did the airline handle the actual roll-out from a PR perspective?

In addition, we tell you about a wonderful Delta Air Lines’ flight attendant we met on one of our flights last week — Jewel Van Valin. She gets passengers to create art at 35,000 feet. You can read more about her here.

This week I am very happy to announce a new contributing editor to PlaneBusiness Banter. Brett Snyder, who many of you know as CrankyFlier, joins us this week. Brett will provide contrarian analysis concerning routes, schedules, and networks, in addition to joining me in our joint fascination with the airline distribution wars.

This week? Brett explains why Phoenix could turn out to be a very important hub for the new American Airlines — contrary to what many people think is the case.

Good news on the fuel price front — more economic news from China indicates that the country’s economy continues to contract — not expand. This means lower demand for oil, which then means lower jet fuel prices. We are very happy about this.

In this week’s issue we also review the break-even load factors and operating margins for the 1Q13, now that all the carriers have reported their results. (Including Virgin America.)

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


PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Hello everyone. This week we come to you from the wonderful comfy confines of Manhattan. My old stomping grounds.

Yours truly is in town for Delta Air Lines’ roll out of their new Terminal 4 at JFK Friday. Today, I made my way over to the Wings Club, where Delta Air Lines’ CEO Richard Anderson spoke to a packed house.

And yes, we’re all drinking Coca-Cola. And eating moon pies.

Well, maybe not.

This week in PlaneBusiness Banter we take an in-depth look at the recent earnings calls from Air Canada and WestJet. Ryanair also announced record annual earnings (through Mar.31) this week.

Meanwhile, this week United Airlines re-launched the 787 into passenger service. And, just in case anyone had forgotten about their operation in Newark, (as a result of the media onslaught involving the Delta T4 rollout this week) United also announced a $150 million upgrade to its Terminal C facility at Newark.

SkyWest announced a new aircraft order this week. The airline announced it firm orders for 40 76-seat E175 aircraft with two-class cabins. The aircraft will fly under new 12-year contracts for United Airlines.  

We also take a look at the March DOT Air Travel Consumer Report. We had a lot of hot competition in many of the categories this month — was fun to dissect.

The airline sector had a pretty good week on Wall Street. And those shares of bankrupt AMR just keep going and going and going. We give a shout out this week to the JP Morgan dynamic analyst duo of Jamie Baker and Mark Streeter. They made the AAMRQ call more than two months ago — and the shares have, for the most part, never looked back.

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






PlaneBusiness Banter Is Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. Yes, we ran into some difficulties last night as we were working back and forth with our editor, while nasty weather rolled through the DFW Metromess. Sometimes it is wise to just unplug the machine.

I hope none of our readers were directly affected by the 10 or more tornadoes that ripped through DFW Wednesday evening. Ugly stuff.

This week we bring you yet another earnings packed issue, as we take an in-depth look at the recent earnings calls from Spirit, Republic Holdings, and SkyWest. 

We also bring you another column in which we take you once again to the recent Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airline Symposium. This time the subject is: Labor.

On the international front, Emirates reported blockbuster earnings last week, while IAG lagged. Can we say “Iberia?”

Meanwhile on the US Airways/American Airlines front, we had two labor things of note to talk about this week. One, the TWU and the IAM have joined forces to represent roughly 30,000 employees at the new airline. While this “joint” representational effort is not the first of its kind (there is already one in place at US Airways involving another employee group) it is certainly the largest.

While out in Phoenix, federal district court judge Roslyn Silver basically told the pilot group from America West and the pilot group from the old US Airways this week to go to their respective rooms and come up with a seniority agreement. In seven days.

Hey, if God could do it in seven days, they should be able to, right?

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


PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Hello everybody. It’s that time again. This week’s edition of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted!

And it is gigantic.

This week we take an in-depth look at the recent 1Q earnings reports from Southwest Airlines; Alaska Air Group; JetBlue; Allegiant Travel Company, and Hawaiian Airlines. 

What caused the big uptick in costs at JetBlue this quarter? Are the guys at Hawaiian crazy — or really smart? Allegiant management rolled out a new earnings call format, and Wolfe Trahan analyst Hunter Keay got involved in a rather spirited “discussion” about hedging with the folks at Alaska Airlines. 

As for Southwest, they are almost three years into the AirTran merger and they have just come to the realization that flight schedules at AirTran need to be optimized? Codesharing just began? There’s been some serious money left on the table there over the last several years.

In addition we give you our take on the US Airways Leadership Conference that we attended in Scottsdale last week. No, I don’t think the the invited guests from American quite knew what to think about all of it.

Meanwhile, up in Chicago, we update you on some rather ugly goings-on in United’s flight ops department. Ex-Cons out, United legacy folks in. The moves are not sitting well with many of our subscribers. We’ll tell you why.

It was a great week for airline stocks last week, and this week both the Dow and the S&P 500 have set new records.

All this and much more in this week’s 125-page plus edition of PlaneBusines Banter. 

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Hello everyone. How is Wednesday treating you? It’s been pretty frenetic here at our Arizona version of the Worldwide Headquarters. This week we have a mega-earnings issue for you, as we take an in-depth look at the recent 1Q earnings announced by Delta Air Lines, United Continental Holdings, and Delta Air Lines. 

Both Delta and US Airways had very good 1Q results, but United …not so much. The grand experiment continues. And yes, to answer a number of notes from readers, remember that United’s recent RASM increases, which the airline has been touting,  are really due to two big factors — a sharp drop in capacity this spring at the airline and easier comps compared to the other players. In other words the good thing about running a really lousy operation — a year later your comps are very easy!

We heard more about the Pinnacle/Delta deal in Delta’s call. The more we hear, the more we like it. We think it could serve as a model for what a major airline/regional airline partnership should look like going forward.

But we’re talking about a lot more this week. First we talk about the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airline Symposium that was held last week in Phoenix. Then we discuss the US Airways Media Day, which was held in Scottsdale to an overflow crowd that included  American Airlines‘ employees,  US Airways’ management, union leaders from both airlines, and an overflow crowd of nosy journalists.

Yes, it was one hell of a busy week.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.