PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Hello everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Us? We were busy little elves this weekend. Earnings Elves. Yes, this week we give our usual thorough treatment to the recent earnings results (and calls) from Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Air Group. 

Of the four, Alaska clearly outperformed on margins, while Hawaiian posted a loss that was much less than expected, which made analysts happy. Southwest posted good numbers, while JetBlue did not.

Speaking of the Blue Crew, we also talk this week about last Monday’s seismic executive shifts that occurred at JetBlue, just four days after the airline reported anemic 1Q14 earnings.

Rob Maruster, COO, has now left the building, as have three other former VPs, including Jenny Dervin, VP of Corporate Communications. There were a laundry list of job changes announced at the airline, most of which took place on the operational side, although Marty St. George was promoted to SVP Commercial, up from SVP of Marketing and Commercial Strategy. Essentially he took Robin Hayes’ old spot. (Hayes took over as President on Jan. 1).

Lots of things going on at JetBlue. Remember the airline is scheduled to roll out its new Mint trans-con product in the not-too-distant future as well.

Oh, and about Virgin America’s claim the week before that getting the okay from the city of Dallas to take over possession of those two gates at Love Field was a mere formality? We didn’t think so. Last week it was a parade of consulting studies, letters, rebuttals and rebuttals to rebuttals as Southwest Airlines trotted out its study that showed — surprise! — that it should be given the use of the gates. Virgin responded. Southwest responded again. Then Delta Air Lines kept its argument alive about why it should be given the gates. (I’m not sure why Delta continues to fight this fight, as the DOJ has said from the beginning that the gates would be awarded to a “low cost” competitor.

Monday (tomorrow), Sir Richard Branson rides into town in an attempt to lobby, smooze and cajole the locals.

I still think when all is said and done the DOJ will prevail. This means Virgin will get the gates.

But hey this is North Texas. We all know that aviation works in mysterious ways around here. (Did someone say, “Wright Amendment?”)

It was a good week last week for the airline sector, no complaints there.

Energy prices also behaved for the most part last week. Again, no complaints.

Oh, and those Alan Mulally rumors? You know. The ones that say he is going to be the next CEO of United? Get a life guys. It ain’t happenin.

It is a long issue this week. Lots to keep you occupied.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter here.