PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1We’re back! Hello my friends. Yes, the holidays are finally over and it’s time to get back to business. PlaneBusiness.

This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

This week we try to regroup from the last three weeks of too much food, too much food, and well, too much food. Meanwhile, over the last week the airline industry has tried to recover from too much cold, too many passengers, and too much snow. Yes, it’s been a tad nasty out there. For those of you who live in Chicago, our deepest condolences. When the fuel and the glycol freezes, there just ain’t a whole lot else you can do but wait it out. At least the city has great restaurants.

This week we do, of course, talk about the weather-related issues that affected the industry over the last week. In addition the new FAA FAR 117 regs went into effect on Jan. 4. There was some whining from some airlines this week claiming that the FAR 117 changes were making recovery that much more difficult — and I’m sure that is true to an extent. But most airlines did a pretty good job at getting their operations back up and running. With one glaring exception.

That exception of course was JetBlue. The airline was forced to essentially shut down operations on the East Coast this week, as the airline’s operations collapsed under the weight of, well, having a route structure that is heavily weighted to the East Coast.

Some airlines did better than others helping passengers with cancelled flights, and once again, the importance of Twitter and its place as a “go-to” way to directly connect with someone at an airline who can help a passenger is becoming more and more obvious.

Phone lines to most airlines were jammed — but some airlines did much better than others at helping passengers directly using social media. We talk more about that this week.

Of course, this week is our big year-end issue in terms of airline stock performance as well. We look at the three airline stocks that notched triple-digit gains in 2013, we look at the winners from the fourth quarter, and of course, we pay homage to the bankrupt shares of AMR Corp. When trading was finally halted in the shares in December, prior to the switchover to AAL shares, the gain for the year exceeded 1300%.

History was made. We’ll never see anything like this again. Not in any other bankruptcy. (And I’m not just talking airline bankruptcies).

We go over the latest DOT Air Consumer Travel Report Stats for the month of October that were released while we were on hiatus. Short and sweet? Delta Air Lines maintained its position as king of the legacies, and Southwest and AirTran continue to struggle as the two airlines attempt to merge their operations.

What will we see happen in 2014? We put the Karnak hat on and give it a shot. This week we talk about the three big guys. Next week — we’ll tackle the rest.

Meanwhile, it’s crunch time at American Eagle. The regional carrier of American Airlines, which is now just one of the regional airlines serving American Airlines announced in December it is changing its name and its logo. Meanwhile, this was all announced as pilots at the airline and management continue to attempt to negotiate a new tentative agreement.

Negotiations were scheduled for this week but as of now, I have not heard any news yay or nay. We know the playbook here. Too many regional airlines chasing too few opportunities means the major players are now calling the shots. Same here. Management says it has to have more concessions to bring costs in line with other regional providers.

All this, the 100th anniversary of commercial air travel, our opinion on the “tail vote” at American and much, much, more in this week’s issue.