PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello everyone.

This week’s 100-plus page issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. Subscribers can access it here.

This week we take a very detailed look at the earnings calls and earnings reports from US Airways, Alaska Air Group, United/Continental and JetBlue.

And yes, as far as we can tell, PBB is the only place, aside from the usual top end financial websites that charge $50-$75 a shot, that you can find earnings call transcripts for both Alaska AIr Group and United/Continental.

Not only that, but you get selected analyst comments on each airline and our take as well.

So what was our take on the results? I’ll give you just a taste. I think the Five-Year plan at Alaska Air Group has been a huge success as the airline posted an outstanding quarter and a great year. US Airways also posted an excellent quarter and year — and remember US Airways is the only major airline that does not hedge its fuel purchases. I think this is phenomenal. But when you listen to the airline’s President Scott Kirby explain the decision, and how expensive it is to hedge fuel these days, and you look at the money the airline made last year and last quarter, well — hey, I like it.

UAL/Continental had a good quarter, and guidance for January was outstanding. We expect continued revenue improvement here as the Continental folks begin to optimize the airline’s network and its aircraft. But as we all know, this is now the latest industry rehabilitation and improvement project. Just as we did with Delta and Northwest, it will be awhile before we know just how those “synergies” are going to shake out.

Then there was JetBlue. Yes, the airline did not have a great fourth quarter. But I don’t see this as a major indicator of any overriding problem. However, because so much of the airline’s business is based out of Boston and New York — the more snow and weather events that hit the East Coast in the first quarter — the more the airline will be tagged.

But we have lots more to talk about than U.S. airline earnings. We also talk about Singapore’s numbers which were released last week, as well as LAN Airlines‘ quarterly results.

Oh, and subscribers can also enter our “Retro Quote” Contest this week. Tell me what industry person said the quote and in what year they said it — and a geeky airline-related present will wing its way to you.

For those of you in the Chicago area, please be careful out there tonight and tomorrow. We are getting subscriber reports tonight that sound rather ominous.

For us in the DFW Metroplex, ice, sleet, and snow welcomed us this morning. Tonight? We’re headed to 7 degrees.

So much for all those swanky Superbowl events that have been scheduled for the outdoors. A number of the large “party tents” that various groups had put up to house events were brought down by ice and snow today, and I think the guys here for ESPN are going to go out and buy electric handwarmers, long johns and ear muffs before they go back outside to their glorifed “tent” environs in downtown Ft. Worth tomorrow.

Flight cancellations? Last check says that more than 8000 flights have now been canceled on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday across the U.S. But that number is going to go up tomorrow.

Yee haw. Where’s that damn groundhog?