PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Hello everyone. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

This week we take a deep dive in the recent earnings calls at both WestJet and Hawaiian Airlines. We also give you earnings summaries for SkyWest and Air Canada. More on them in next week’s issue.

But clearly the big story this week concerns pilots. Regional airline pilots. Mainline airline pilots.

With the roll out of the new FAR 117 regs the duty regs are not the problem — it is the minimum 1500 hours needed in hand before a regional can hire a pilot that is the problem. The impact of a change in regs that was intended to improve the safety of regional airline flying has cast a very ominous light on a system that has been broken for years.

Layered over this is the news this week that the American Eagle ALPA MEC has refused to accept the tentative agreement put forth by American Airlines. The deal will not go to the general membership for a vote.

What’s next at Eagle and American? We talk about that more this week.

The company had already warned that a turn down of the deal would lead to American cutting back on the flying at the airline to the extent that American Eagle would become “Comair II.”

The American Eagle MEC pilots have drawn the line in the sand, saying they are not going to make any more concessions, and there are other jobs to be found in the industry.

Pulling back up to the 35,000 foot level, as I said previously, could the FAR 117 regs end up finally bringing massive change to a business model that never has been based on sound business practices, i.e., the regional airlines provide feeder service to the mainline airlines at low cost?

It’s a serious problem.

In other news, the airline sector enjoyed a pretty good week last week, Morgan Stanley analyst John Godyn ponders whether airlines need to hedge fuel or not (subscribers know where I stand on this) and Norwegian Air just obtained its operating license for its international operation in Ireland.

Then there are the December DOT numbers. As we alerted PBB subscribers to last month, Southwest Airlines suffered a systemwide operational meltdown in December. The DOT report for December merely affirmed this. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines continued to lead the big boys pretty much across the four major DOT metrics in December, as well as for 2013.

All this, and much, much more, in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.