PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Good evening everyone. Long day here today, made even longer by the distressing news this evening concerning the Malaysian Airlines 777-200 that has simply disappeared somewhere between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. Not a good sign when an aircraft such as the 777 is at cruising altitude and just drops off the radar screen. No call for help. No more transponder. No nothing.

Thirty minutes ago Malaysia Airlines Vice President of Operations Control Fuad Sharuji said on CNN’s “AC360”, “At the moment we have no idea where this aircraft is right now.”

I’m sure we’ll know more tomorrow. Er, rather, later today. (It’s already Saturday.)

In the meantime, we have lots to talk about in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.  This week we go in-depth to look at the 4Q13 earnings of Republic Holdings. Interesting call. But no surprise that a lot of the call dealt with larger industry issues — not the airline’s results.

Related to the future options for Republic’s regional operations, Friday the American Eagle ALPA MEC did a 180 degree turn and decided it was going to send out the last proposal that was made by American Airlines to the pilots directly — so that they can vote on the proposed deal.

Smart move.

Especially considering the airline, as it said it was going to do, had already sent out RFP’s to a group of regional carriers, including Republic, to operate the 60 Embraer jets promised to the American Eagle pilots if they accepted the proposal presented by the airline.  As you may recall, the ALPA MEC decided not to accept the proposal. Now, American Eagle pilots will have an opportunity to vote on the proposal. As it should be.

The boys at USAPA were up to their old tricks again this week — filing law suits and denying jumpseats to American Airlines‘ pilots. It’s that Real Men of Genius gene. Can’t be altered.

We talk about all of that, and the joint letter that the president of APA and USAPA sent out on Friday in regard to both the seniority squabble and the unfortunate jumpseat incidents.

Boeing apparently has another problem with its problem child — the 787. Jon Ostrower had the story first Friday in the Wall Street Journal. Wings. Cracks. We’ll update you on all that.

We also review a lot of earnings this week — not just Republic. We talk about the recent results from IAG, parent of British Airways; Travelport; Amadeus; Embraer, and Volaris. 

Oh, and how could we forget Delta Air Lines. The airline rolled out its new award chart this week for its revised SkyMiles program it announced the week before. You may recall the airline said it was going to do this “later this year.” Yes, well, that didn’t sit well with a lot of people. I have to say, I agree. The airline should have rolled out everything at once.

But the award chart really doesn’t answer a lot of questions, including those dealing with international travel. In addition, the airline has not said how it is going to increase or decrease award availability in each tier of the new program.

So — still very much a work in progress.

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