Monthly Archives: March 2014

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Hello all great friends and fans of the airline industry. It’s that time again. That’s right. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

This week we pick up where we left off last week with our take on this year’s ISTAT Americas Conference.  Factoid of the week: Bet you didn’t know there is an airline leasing company that only leases one kind of airplane — Airbus A380s. But there is.

Speaking of Airbus, is the manufacturer going to build an A330neo? We’ll tell you what Air Lease founder and CEO Steve Hazy had to say about this. Among other topics.

Meanwhile, it was a busy week in terms of labor pains.

First, pilots at American Eagle voted down the proposed tentative agreement with American Airlines.  We can now all watch as Eagle, aka Envoy, ends up becoming a very stagnant entity as the airline will in all probability move forward with the RFP process involving third party providers regarding new E-Jet flying.

Interestingly, we had been hearing that the vote on the TA between Republic Holdings and its pilots had been trending negatively as well. Both groups were scheduled to announce the results of the votes today.

Eagle did, but the Teamsters, who represent the pilots at Republic posted a note on their website after the Eagle vote went public, saying that voting had been extended until next Friday, as a result of a “high number of replacement ballot requests.”


Meanwhile, strikes by airport workers in Germany are making travel in that country difficult this week and pilots at Lufthansa announced they plan to hold a three day strike against the airline next week — after negotiations between the airline and the pilots union broke down. These negotiations have been going on for more than 2 years.

We have two earnings reports this week to talk about — GOL and Virgin America. GOL posted a loss for 4Q13 and Virgin America posted a profit. How ’bout that?

Look for a Virgin IPO this year.

And what about Etihad? The airline is to failing airlines what Emelda Marcos was to shoes. The airline looks like it may be writing big checks for a stake in both in Air Berlin and maybe…maybe….Alitalia? 

Meanwhile, yours truly was hanging with the big boys in New York last week as I spoke at a meeting of Tzell Travel Group. I shared the platform with Tom Klein, CEO of Sabre, and Ed Bastian, President of Delta Air Lines. Had a blast. Met some great people. Thanks to Jerry Behrens at Tzell for the invite.

Oh, and no, we don’t talk about Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 this week. If you want more speculation, you can watch CNN. 

But while we don’t talk about Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, we do talk about lots of other things in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter! 


PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. I know. We need to stop doing this in the middle of the night.

What can I say? Had a very compressed writing schedule this week, as I was in San Diego earlier this week attending the ISTAT Americas 2014 Conference. I’ll tell you about some of the juicy tidbits we heard earlier this week. Next week — even more.

In other news, the DOT issued its January Air Travel Consumer Report this week. Horrid. We’ll tell you which airlines posted the best of the worst, and which airlines simply fell apart.

Meanwhile, pilots at American Eagle continue to vote on the TA in front of them. We talk a lot about the proposed contract in this week’s issue and tell you what we think the Eagle pilots should do.

In other news, will someone please just turn off CNN now? We talk about the positively awful continued joke that seems to be the norm now in terms of covering anything aviation related on cable news.  Especially when no one knows what really happened — but they still have to talk. About something. Even if they don’t know what in the hell they are talking about.

There were some intriguing tidbits that came from the ongoing legal fight between US Airways and Sabre this week. Thanks to our friends at TheBeat, we let you in on what those arguments were that made us perk up our ears. Or rather open our eyes. Or is it perk up our eyes and open our ears?

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




PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Hello everyone. Wow. What a day. Just as we posted this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter, new important information has been published concerning the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.  No surprise that the latest news comes yet again from Jon Ostrower and Andy Pasztor at The Wall Street Journal

Jon and Andy, who have been the ones to break the story on this situation almost all week, just did it again as we published PBB. They have gone with a story in which they report,

“Officials suspect two different systems were shut off after the plane took off last weekend, one shortly after the other, people familiar with the investigation said. About an hour into the flight, the plane’s transponders stopped functioning, making it much more difficult for air-traffic control personnel to track or identify it via radar.

In the ensuing minutes, a second system sent a routine aircraft-monitoring message to a satellite indicating that someone made a manual change in the plane’s heading, veering sharply to the west. Such a turn wouldn’t have been part of the original authorized route programmed in the flight-management computer that controls the autopilot. Those system-monitoring messages are suspected to have been disabled shortly afterward, according to some of these people.”

This news comes after it was Jon and Andy who broke the story that there was evidence the aircraft had deviated from its original course and veered sharply west, after communications ended with civilian authorities.

I’m proud to call Jon a friend.

That’s a long way of saying — if you really want to know what is going on with this situation listen to Jon and Andy when they are on television being interviewed or read their stories. They are working the story like stories should be worked.

Okay, I’ll shut up now.

Speaking of stories, this week a lot of airline CEOs were in New York telling their stories to investors as JP Morgan held their annual airline, transportation, and industrials conference. Unlike years ago, however, they were anything but sob stories.

The biggest news for us out of the conference? No other major airline is guiding to a substantial reduction in revenues as a result of the winter weather cancellations. Except for the one we already knew about — United Airlines. 

Delta Air Lines, in fact, upped some of their guidance. American Airlines says RASM should come in between 2% and 4% as they had already guided.  Southwest said their quarter is still on track.

So the question remains — what’s the problem with United?

Speaking of, this week we welcome back contributing editor Brett Snyder, who returns with yet another Cranky Analysis. This week he looks at the Denver market. We know that Southwest now has the largest market share in the market, but have they been able to snatch any of United’s higher yielding revenue? The answer, and our look at a number of routes out of Denver surprised us.

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

If you will excuse me now, I am off to San Diego for this year’s ISTAT Conference. Can’t wait to see some of our subscribers there. Have a great weekend everyone!


PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Good evening everyone. Long day here today, made even longer by the distressing news this evening concerning the Malaysian Airlines 777-200 that has simply disappeared somewhere between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. Not a good sign when an aircraft such as the 777 is at cruising altitude and just drops off the radar screen. No call for help. No more transponder. No nothing.

Thirty minutes ago Malaysia Airlines Vice President of Operations Control Fuad Sharuji said on CNN’s “AC360”, “At the moment we have no idea where this aircraft is right now.”

I’m sure we’ll know more tomorrow. Er, rather, later today. (It’s already Saturday.)

In the meantime, we have lots to talk about in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.  This week we go in-depth to look at the 4Q13 earnings of Republic Holdings. Interesting call. But no surprise that a lot of the call dealt with larger industry issues — not the airline’s results.

Related to the future options for Republic’s regional operations, Friday the American Eagle ALPA MEC did a 180 degree turn and decided it was going to send out the last proposal that was made by American Airlines to the pilots directly — so that they can vote on the proposed deal.

Smart move.

Especially considering the airline, as it said it was going to do, had already sent out RFP’s to a group of regional carriers, including Republic, to operate the 60 Embraer jets promised to the American Eagle pilots if they accepted the proposal presented by the airline.  As you may recall, the ALPA MEC decided not to accept the proposal. Now, American Eagle pilots will have an opportunity to vote on the proposal. As it should be.

The boys at USAPA were up to their old tricks again this week — filing law suits and denying jumpseats to American Airlines‘ pilots. It’s that Real Men of Genius gene. Can’t be altered.

We talk about all of that, and the joint letter that the president of APA and USAPA sent out on Friday in regard to both the seniority squabble and the unfortunate jumpseat incidents.

Boeing apparently has another problem with its problem child — the 787. Jon Ostrower had the story first Friday in the Wall Street Journal. Wings. Cracks. We’ll update you on all that.

We also review a lot of earnings this week — not just Republic. We talk about the recent results from IAG, parent of British Airways; Travelport; Amadeus; Embraer, and Volaris. 

Oh, and how could we forget Delta Air Lines. The airline rolled out its new award chart this week for its revised SkyMiles program it announced the week before. You may recall the airline said it was going to do this “later this year.” Yes, well, that didn’t sit well with a lot of people. I have to say, I agree. The airline should have rolled out everything at once.

But the award chart really doesn’t answer a lot of questions, including those dealing with international travel. In addition, the airline has not said how it is going to increase or decrease award availability in each tier of the new program.

So — still very much a work in progress.

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