PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Good evening everyone. Last week I warned that we would be publishing on Friday so that we could, hopefully, wrap up our summer on a high note before we took a much needed three-week hiatus. We had assumed that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane would approve the AMR Plan of Reorganization on Thursday and a closing would be scheduled in the not-too-distant future.


This week I gutted our planned wrap-up of 2Q13 earnings to concentrate instead on the only real story of the week — the DOJ lawsuit against the planned merger of American and US Airways. A lawsuit that seems to have caught all parties on all sides completely by surprise.

As a result, much of this week’s coverage is devoted to the DOJ suit. I may, in fact, repost one of my columns in this week’s issue in PlaneBuzz over the weekend.

There was other news this week including a rather abrupt shift in CEOs at Sabre, we get readers updated on the July traffic numbers (and yes, PRASM estimates came in better than expected pretty much across the board) and we also talk a bit about Air Canada. There’s a reason that shares in the airline exploded last week. The airline posted much better-than-expected numbers for 2Q13.

Oil prices remain stubbornly high — we’ll tell you why we think that is — and we also take a look at the June DOT Air Travel Consumer Report numbers. In a nutshell? American Eagle is still running a horrible operation, United Airlines once again garnered the most complaints (although the trend is certainly improving) but remember last month when I pointed out how the metrics for Southwest, and particularly AirTran were starting to slide? Wait until you see the numbers for June.

For those of you who are subscribers, you may also recall that Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said in the airline’s recent earnings call that operations were not being affected by merger issues. I said in PBB then that the last month’s DOT numbers did not agree with that assessment. They really don’t agree this month.

Oh, and on the new JetBlue trans-con product — one analyst thinks the airline’s new product poses a real threat to United out of JFK. Remember, JetBlue has traditionally given the big guys fits on the lower end of the price scale. This new product however, provides a nice “medium” level of upgraded service, and you can bet the price is going to be compelling.

This means this time next year United could be fighting off Virgin America out of Newark and JetBlue out of JFK.

Never a dull moment in this industry. That’s for damn sure.

Next week, I’ll will, finally, wrap up our coverage for the summer. Stay tuned.

Have a great weekend everyone!