PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello earthlings.


Yes, I know. We’re one day late this week.

As PlaneBusiness Banter subscribers know — sometimes our publication times are, er, flexible.

Besides, I have a good excuse.

This week we’ve got the latest on the continuing and somewhat stranger-by-the minute tale of the Southwest/AirTran 717s, and the airline’s response to the report we posted last week about the airline selling some if not all of them to Delta Air Lines.

We also, unfortunately, talk about the JetBlue Captain who apparently went nuts at 35,000 ft. yesterday. The Feds have released the formal complaint and affidavit on the incident. Makes for some chilling reading.

From a personal perspective, it’s very sad and troubling. The pilot was one of the airline’s most senior pilots, a Check Airman — and, as I realized when I read the complaint, he had been a recent subscriber to PBB.

How did the airline handle the situation? We’ll talk a bit about that.

Shifting gears, last week was a huge week here in the Valley of the Sun where I am still happily hitting the computer keys. First it was the ISTAT Conference. Then Wednesday it was US Airways Media Day. Did CEO Doug Parker give us all the juicy details about what they want to do with American Airlines? Not hardly. But it was a worthwhile day nonetheless. I’ll tell you why.

Thursday and Friday, the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport held its annual International Airline Symposium and this year the airport, along with Oliver Wyman, put together an impressive list of participants, including IAG Chairman and British Airways former CEO Willie Walsh.

American Airlines’ Will Ris brought the house down Friday afternoon as he called out to Willie from his place on the platform, “So Willie, is that your checkbook in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?” Surprisingly, Walsh began waving a checkbook around for all to see.

Later on, during the CEO panel, Walsh commented, “It’s one thing when a competitor is in bankruptcy, but it’s another thing entirely when it’s your partner.”

Yes, isn’t it?

The event also was the first public appearance of former ALPA President and former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. Randy gave an excellent speech Friday, wearing one of his legendary Hawaiian shirts, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Randy is one of our favorite people. We’re glad he’s back. And we’re glad he wasn’t in a shirt and tie.

I hung out with Nick Calio and Jean Medina from Airlines for America last week. In fact I hung out with them a lot. All three events during the week. And cocktails. And dinners. And lunches.

I like Nick. I think he is a much needed breath of fresh air in an organization that has needed it for a very long time.

ALPA President and PlaneBusiness Banter Lounge Lizard Interviewee Lee Moak was also in attendance at this year’s Symposium. We got to spend some time with him, as well as APA’s President Dave Bates. Yes, there were, as you can tell, more than a few pilots in the house.

In addition to all this, we have a great PBB Brown Bag Analyst Guest Column this week. The question he poses: Is Air Canada too big to fail?

We also have this week’s edition of the American Airlines‘ Bankruptcy Filing Follies.

Yes, the mega-issue of PlaneBusiness Banter from the desert is posted. Finally! Next week we can get back to normal!