Monthly Archives: May 2014

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Good evening everyone! How was your Memorial Day weekend? Mine was spectacular! I hope you had a great start to summer as well.

This week we have somewhat of a hodge podge in PlaneBusiness Banter.

First, we have a great analysis this week by Brett Snyder, aka Cranky Flier. This week Brett, who moonlights as a contributing editor for PlaneBusiness, looks at American Airlines and how it has been performing out of its home turf — DFW — over the last several years. In a nutshell — not well. But he dives into the data and tells us just how poorly. In addition, he stumbled upon a little nugget of information about Spirit and one particular American route that we think subscribers will find particularly interesting.

Bottomline? There’s a lot of opportunity here if American can get its act together. (And given the track record of the new management team at American, we’re betting this is going to be the case.)

We also talk a bit more this week about the situation in Dulles, and give you an extensive review of how the combined market looks out of DCA and IAD for both American/US Airways and United Airlines. Oh, there are lots of interesting things to look at here.

Meanwhile, out in the Northwest, Delta Air Lines and Alaska Air Lines opened up yet another round of artillery fire last week with a series of announcements (within hours of each other) concerning new service out of Seattle.

I’m not so sure how this story is going to end. But in the meantime, it’s certainly interesting to watch.

Delta and Travelport announced their new deal last week — the one that will see Delta taking control of its PSS development and management from Travelport. But Travelport will continue to host the system. I’ll tell you why I think this is a good deal for both sides.

Ryanair announced its fiscal year and fourth quarter earnings last week. While results were down, on a year-over-year basis, analysts are apparently convinced that the airline will be successful in its easyJetrification process. Ahem.

All this, and much, much, more, including a great week for airline stocks, in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter. 

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Good evening boys and girls! This week’s edition of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted!

This week we take an in-depth look at the recent earnings calls from both Air Canada and WestJet. We also take a summary look at the recent earnings reported from the big three GDS players — Amadeus, Travelport, and Sabre. 

Bottomline — Sabre and Travelport still have too much debt on their balance sheets. Travelport said in comments after their earnings call that they may sell their piece of Orbitz. I think that would be a great idea, as I’m not sure an IPO would go over that well right now. I mean, look at how underwhelmed the Street was with the Sabre IPO.

As for Sabre, they bent over backwards to emphasize to investors as part of their call that they are working to reduce the level of debt on their balance sheet. But it’s still too high.

That’s the not-so-good part of leveraged buyouts.

As for the Air Canada/WestJet results, I can’t say I was that overwhelmed or impressed with much of anything I heard from either airline. Clearly the big loser here was Bombardier, as Air Canada announced it has decided not to replace its Embraer 190s. Most people had assumed they would place an order for the new Bombardier CSeries aircraft. Nope.

In other news, the City Manager of Dallas finally did what he should have done originally — given what the Department of Justice said he needed to do. As a result, Virgin America now has two gates at Love Field.

The new routes that Southwest will start flying after the Wright Amendment goes away in October seemed to have been leaked over the weekend. No updates on what flights or service may be modified or cut to accommodate the new service. We expect all of this to be announced Monday.

Meanwhile, last week was a fairly flat one for the airline sector, with stocks evenly split between winners and losers.

And what did you think about the news that the new ULCC-version of Frontier Airlines is taking over the Z gates (the ones that are easily accessible) at Dulles? We like it.

We talk about all of this and much, much, more in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter. 


PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Hello everyone. Another week. Another issue of PlaneBusiness Banter jammed packed with more in-depth earnings reports that you know what to do with. This week we have full 1Q14 reports on Allegiant Travel, Spirit Airlines, Republic Holdings and SkyWest. We also give you a brief rundown on the recent 1Q14 results reported by IAG, parent of British Airways; Lufthansa, and Air France-KLM.  Short and sweet? All three European airlines saw much improved numbers over those of 1Q13.

Next week we will wrap up 1Q14 earnings with full reports on WestJet and Air Canada. We’ll also take short looks at the earnings from Travelport, Amadeus and Sabre. Ah yes, the GDS folks.

But it’s not all RASM, CASM, and yield this week. Oh no.

I got to crawl around inside one of only four Airbus A350-900s XWB’s last week as the aircraft made its first appearance in the United States. What a beautiful airplane. We’ll even show you a cool close-up of the aircraft’s very sleek and oh-so-sexy curved wingtips. We really liked this airplane. A lot.

We’ll also get you up to date on the Virgin America-Southwest-Delta-DOJ-DOT-Dallas City Council-Love Field-Dallas City Manager Soap Opera. Short and sweet? There was still no decision as of late Friday night. If the city manager is smart, he will allow American to sublease the two gates involved to Virgin. That is the only airline the Department of Transportation has deemed “appropriate” for the gates per the DOJ’s American Airlines/US Airways merger agreement parameters.

If not — then I guess we can get ready for a long legal fight.

It was a strange week on Wall Street last week. While the Dow hit a new all-time high Friday, the Nasdaq continues to struggle. For airline stocks, it was not such a great week. We’ll go over the details.

Finally, as we discussed in last week’s issue, it does appear that JetBlue’s CEO Dave Barger is on his way out. A story that Bloomberg did last week seemed to confirm the Board has made the decision — we’ll give you the details on how we see all this finally playing out.

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


PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Hello everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Us? We were busy little elves this weekend. Earnings Elves. Yes, this week we give our usual thorough treatment to the recent earnings results (and calls) from Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Air Group. 

Of the four, Alaska clearly outperformed on margins, while Hawaiian posted a loss that was much less than expected, which made analysts happy. Southwest posted good numbers, while JetBlue did not.

Speaking of the Blue Crew, we also talk this week about last Monday’s seismic executive shifts that occurred at JetBlue, just four days after the airline reported anemic 1Q14 earnings.

Rob Maruster, COO, has now left the building, as have three other former VPs, including Jenny Dervin, VP of Corporate Communications. There were a laundry list of job changes announced at the airline, most of which took place on the operational side, although Marty St. George was promoted to SVP Commercial, up from SVP of Marketing and Commercial Strategy. Essentially he took Robin Hayes’ old spot. (Hayes took over as President on Jan. 1).

Lots of things going on at JetBlue. Remember the airline is scheduled to roll out its new Mint trans-con product in the not-too-distant future as well.

Oh, and about Virgin America’s claim the week before that getting the okay from the city of Dallas to take over possession of those two gates at Love Field was a mere formality? We didn’t think so. Last week it was a parade of consulting studies, letters, rebuttals and rebuttals to rebuttals as Southwest Airlines trotted out its study that showed — surprise! — that it should be given the use of the gates. Virgin responded. Southwest responded again. Then Delta Air Lines kept its argument alive about why it should be given the gates. (I’m not sure why Delta continues to fight this fight, as the DOJ has said from the beginning that the gates would be awarded to a “low cost” competitor.

Monday (tomorrow), Sir Richard Branson rides into town in an attempt to lobby, smooze and cajole the locals.

I still think when all is said and done the DOJ will prevail. This means Virgin will get the gates.

But hey this is North Texas. We all know that aviation works in mysterious ways around here. (Did someone say, “Wright Amendment?”)

It was a good week last week for the airline sector, no complaints there.

Energy prices also behaved for the most part last week. Again, no complaints.

Oh, and those Alan Mulally rumors? You know. The ones that say he is going to be the next CEO of United? Get a life guys. It ain’t happenin.

It is a long issue this week. Lots to keep you occupied.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter here.