PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

Hi guys. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now available for your perusal. Or you can read it if you prefer. But only if you are a subscriber. Otherwise, I’d prefer that you don’t peruse it. Or read it.

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This week we have a pretty good issue, if I do say so myself. Obviously we are talking about the latest over at American Airlines as the TWU formally requested to be released from the NMB last week.

But the situation at British Airways is much more serious — as the labor laws in the U.K. are very different than they are here. There, the union that represents the cabin crew for the airline — Unite — has already set strike dates against the airline. The first walk-out is scheduled to start this Saturday and run for three days. Unless something happens between now and then.

This dispute has turned into a first class political fight — as there is a general election coming up in the U.K. and what happens with British Airways has now become a political hot potato for the Labour government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The Labour party, you see, has been heavily supported by the Unite organization in the past.

But most of U.K residents do not want a strike.

So you can see the problem here — not to mention the fact that the Conservatives are now running a couple of points ahead in the current polling.

Yes, it’s just one bloody mess, as our friend the Brits would say.

Back on this side of the pond, there is a lot of action in Washington these days concerning our beloved things with wings. First, Congress is attempting, one more time, to finally pass an FAA Reauthorization Bill. I’ll update you on where all that stands after two major breaks in the logjam were made last week.

The FAA Forecast Conference was held last week in Washington as well — and yes, NextGen was top of mind with FAA administrator Randy Babbitt — but there were other things talked about as well. Including high-speed rail.

Then there is the upcoming resumption of negotiations between the EU and the U.S. on a new “Open Skies” agreement. The EU is still saying publicly that there will be no new agreement without a change in the current U.S. airline ownership laws.

The U.S. has not been able to agree to this in the past.

If no agreement is reached here before November — then the EU has some retaliatory things it can do — and it would not be pleasant.

The DOT issued its Airline Consumer Travel Report for January last week. We have the numbers. Alaska Air Group had a terrific month overall.

Two Wall Street analysts chimed in with their take on Allegiant’s 757 aircraft announcement. We talk about that. We also take a look at an interesting research note that Dan McKenzie, who is with Hudson Securities put out last week on why he thinks a United/Continental deal needs to be done sooner rather than later.

And guess who pops up in the discussion? That’s right. Southwest Airlines.

All this and much, much more including the new airport outside of Tokyo that has one flight a day currently scheduled.

It’s that Japan Airlines way of looking at the world, I guess.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.