Monthly Archives: June 2013

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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

This week we talk a bit about the newly-approved Delta Air Lines/Virgin Atlantic JV. The two airlines begin codesharing next week. We’re now officially also taking bets on how long it will be before the “Virgin” brand is more or less “melded” into the Delta brand.

As I’ve mentioned before, feedback from my corporate business travel groups continue to indicate that the Virgin product is “tired.” I’d say the main reason: lack of money to spend.

One thing’s for sure. Virgin does have nice slots at Heathrow.

In other news, we’ve been monitoring the operational performance of the major players this month — to see how they are coping with the busy summer season. Last year United Airlines fell down on the job. This year — American Airlines is turning in abysmal operational performance numbers.

This week we also wade through what was an incredibly overflowing group of feedback letters from last week. Subscribers are talking about everything from missing United Airlines‘ fight attendant uniforms (what happened to the COOL blue dress?) to the TWA 800 documentary to visual proof that the new American livery definitely looks even worse on an A319.

The Paris Air Show also wrapped up last week. We’ll have the final testosterone tallies for you from there as well.

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

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Good morning earthlings! Yes, it’s a tad late here in the U.S. time zones this evening. So I’ve decided to say good morning to the really early risers on the East Coast. Then again for our friends in Europe, it’s just a normal Thursday. Go back to eating your  delicious hard rolls and those wonderful preserves.

This week’s edition of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. It’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that this week as we talk about everything from the new documentary that will air next month on the TWA 800 crash, to the latest Air Travel Consumer Report numbers from the DOT. (Hint: American Airlines and American Eagle had one lousy April.)

Representatives from US Airways and American, along with critics of the proposed merger, were all in Washington Wednesday, testifying before Congress as to why (or why not) the merger is a good idea.

One interesting tidbit from today — we’ve all been wondering when the Department of Justice might rule on the antitrust part of the pie. Today, sources told Bloomberg that the DOJ will not rule on the merger until AMR leaves bankruptcy.

That is now scheduled to happen sometime in August. Could be as early as August 15. Or there could be a couple of things that push the date back a bit.

So that is good information to know. According to one source Bloomberg talked to, because the DOJ has not said anything about the merger or possible slot divestitures yet should not be read as a negative. They simply are not going to get involved until the bankruptcy is finalized.

Cool. We can live with that.

In other news, British Airways is moving closer to taking Spanish LCC Vueling private. I think the  ownership stake in Vueling that IAG originally picked up with its Iberia acquisition could turn out to be the most valuable part of that deal. Iberia may well not exist in three years. Or if it does, it’s going to be a shadow of its former self.

FYI: Vueling saw the biggest increase in the number of passengers of any global airline between 2011-2012.

Delta Air Lines had two very positive pieces of fan mail go viral this week. The best kind of marketing and PR a company can hope for — well-crafted testimonial letters from happy customers.

Oh — yes. There is an Air Show this week A rather soggy one over in Paris.

Airbus is clearly leading the show there this year — in more ways than one. We update you on the largest orders that opened the show, and yes, the A350-900 took it first flight last Friday. Pretty airplane. It took its second flight this week.

Boeing announced the launch of its 787-10 on Tuesday — right after Airbus announced a mega-order of airplanes.

Yep, the “mine is bigger than yours” mentally is very much alive and well in Paris this week.

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


PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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

This week we talk about the new American Airlines‘ management team. As we had anticipated, the team was announced this week — and we tell you what we think of the choices.

We also talk about an arbitration that recently ended between JetBlue and a group of its pilots. Bottomline — the arbitrator found in favor of the pilots. This could not only prove to be a sizable expense for the airline, but it creates all kinds of other issues as well. Meanwhile the airline remains tight-lipped about what it intends to do.

Guess what’s supposed to fly on Friday? Yep, that’s right. Oh to be in Toulouse. The Airbus A350 is scheduled, weather permitting, to make its first flight. Raise your hand if you are surprised. Yeah, I didn’t think so. Paris Air Show, here it comes!

It was a decent week for airline stocks last week, with Air Canada leading the group and shares of GOL once again losing ground.

Ancillary revenue? Which airline do you think made more ancillary revenue per passenger in 2012? Hint: This includes revenue from frequent flyer miles sold.

We have lots and lots of letters this week. And much, much more.

All in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.


New American Airlines Management Team Announced

The news this morning from American Airlines and US Airways re: the new management team held no surprises.  The line up is what we had expected and had discussed at length last week in PlaneBusiness Banter. 

The majority of the top positions at the new American will be filled with current executive team members from US Airways with three exceptions.

·        Doug Parker, CEO (Doug will assume Chairman position after first board meeting post-close; current American Chairman and CEO Tom Horton will be acting Chairman until that time as previously disclosed.)

·         Scott Kirby: President

·         Elise Eberwein: Executive Vice President, People and Communications

·         Bev Goulet: Chief Integration Officer

·         Robert Isom: Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer of US Airways, Inc. post-close

·         Steve Johnson: Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs

·         Derek Kerr: Chief Financial Officer

·         Maya Leibman: Chief Information Officer

·         Will Ris: Senior Vice President, Government Affairs

We had expected that current SVP of Government Affairs for American, Will Ris, would be staying on with the new company. This is good news. He will now report to Steve Johnson, EVP of Corporate Affairs.

We would guess that Bev Goulet, who is currently working with US Airways COO Robert Isom on the integration process, will stay in her role as Chief Integration Officer until the integration process has been completed.

Also good news — Maya Liebman will be CIO of the new company.

The company also announced that Dan Garton will be leaving his position with American Eagle later in the year. No replacement for him was announced.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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

This week we are talking about a lot of things. First, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane okayed the AMR Disclosure Statement and Plan of Reorganization this week. No surprise here. The next step? The vote of the unsecured creditors on the Statement and the Plan. Trust me, they are going to vote yes.

After that, everyone is expected back in court on Aug. 15 when, hopefully, most of the legal mumbo-jumbo involving the bankruptcy will be hashed out and from that point — it won’t be that much longer before the process is wrapped up.

The one big outstanding piece of business? The Department of Justice review of the merger.  Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the DOJ does not make this a difficult process. I think all parties want this thing to be signed off on as soon as possible.

In other news, we talk about the IATA AGM that took place this week in Cape Town, we are happy that the TSA came to its senses and decided not to allow knives onboard aircraft again, and we talk about why we still feel the new American Airlines management team will look, and should look, very much like the one we recently saw on stage at the US Airways Leadership Conference.

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