PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted

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Hello everyone.

This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

First up this week is an in-depth look at the third quarter results posted by Southwest Airlines last Thursday.

While I considered the airline’s numbers to be in the “mixed” category, the airline saw its debt rating dropped yet another notch last week by S&P, and late last night JP Morgan analysts Jamie Baker and Mark Streeter issued a research note in which they downgraded the stock. And upgraded shares of AirTran.

The two minced no words as they wrote, “Investors aren’t likely to confuse Southwest with AirTran, as only one offers the combination of lower costs, higher profits, better current liquidity, a severely battered share price and cheaper valuation. If you still aren’t sure which, here’s your last hint: it’s the one with assigned seats. Our equity rating on AirTran moves from Neutral to Overweight, while Southwest equity drops from Neutral to Underweight.”


That one hurts.

Great news for AirTran though. Can’t say I disagree with the reasons behind the dynamic duo’s downgrade or their upgrade.

In other news, the United Airlines‘ ALPA MEC made history this week. The pilot group elected a woman to be its new chairman. Captain Wendy Morse was elected Chairman and Captain Garry Kravit was elected vice chairman of the MEC. Yes Steve Wallach was sent packing. The vote was close, according to reports.

On the international front, it looks like the Japanese government is going to bail out JAL. No other choice. The airline’s creditor banks refused to go along with a restructuring plan presented to them.

American Airlines’ pilots were picketing in Washington last week. Why?

Good question.

And our final question for the week — who is buying up shares of ExpressJet?

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