PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello airline fans and fanatics.

This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. Subscribers can access the latest issue here.

This week we have a real mixed bag of goodies to go through. First, we had the first “suspended” agreement between a union and an airline that I have ever heard of. Then, north of the border we had an airline IPO yanked at the last minute. Porter Airlines says it was because of “volatile market conditions.” I suspect those weak first quarter numbers from the airline didn’t help much either.

We talk a lot this week about the DOT’s latest attempts to make the airline industry more consumer-friendly. Needless to say I think this whole exercise by the DOT is overly political and, for the most part, unnecessary.

And if the DOT thinks that the rules they have suggested are going to improve “customer service” in the industry, well, that just isn’t going to happen.

What really ticks me off though is the fact that, overall, the airline industry in the U.S. is turning in some of the best operational performances it has seen in a very long time.

Apparently no one at the DOT is aware of this. Or care that this is the case. Oh no, it’s more important to pay passengers if their bags arrive late.

In other news, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling in the USAPA/Former America West pilot lawsuit last week. I was surprised. Word is that the former America West pilots are going to ask that the entire 11 member court re-hear the case. A three-person panel issued the ruling last week.

Not sure if you have been keeping up with what is going on with UPS, but the company just furloughed the first 50 or so of what it says will be as many as 300 pilots.

Yes, this was the first furlough in the history of the cargo carrier.

Meanwhile. over at American Airlines, the TWU said late last week that it has “suspended” its latest tentative agreement with the airline. This was the agreement with the fleet service workers and the baggage handlers that the TWU negotiating committee had already advised members not to vote for. It’ll be interesting to hear what the back story is on this one. There are all kinds of stories floating around.

We talk about the latest DOT Airline Travel Consumer Report this week as well. Another great overall month for Alaska Airlines and another less-than-optimal month for American Airlines.

Airline stocks had a slow week. The top gainer for the week were ADRs of Ryanair — which was a result of that airline’s better than expected earnings numbers it released last week.

Lots of letters this week — most of which talked about my column last week concerning American Airlines and its merger prospects. I may post that column on a delayed basis for everyone to read. I’ll post a link here if I do.

A little of that, a little of this. And more. In this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.