Tag Archives: alaska airlines

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello everybody!

This week’s insanely long and informative earnings issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted! At last!

This week we take an in-depth look at the recent 3Q earnings results from: Delta Air Lines, US Airways, United Airlines, Alaska Air Group and JetBlue. We also have earnings summaries for Hawaiian, Allegiant and Spirit. We’ll get caught up with those in our next issue. Meanwhile, Republic Holdings announced earnings today.

Is it five-o-clock somewhere? Please?

Overall, it was a great quarter for the U.S. airline industry, although two of the big boys definitely came in with results that underperformed their peers — United Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

Here’s a riddle for you. Which airline posted an unbelievable 21.3% EBIT margin for the quarter? (FYI: That is four times what Southwest posted for the quarter.)

PlaneBusiness Banter Subscribers, your massive issue awaits. Along with the answer to that question.

Speaking of Southwest — we noted last week the airline had not mentioned Atlanta at all in its last two earnings calls. But Delta Air Lines had no problem responding to a question about Southwest and Atlanta in its earnings call this quarter. The response seems to confirm what we had suspected: Delta is seeing an uptick in market share out of Atlanta at the expense of AirTran/Southwest.

US Airways had a great record-breaking quarter, as did Alaska Air Group.

The laggard of the bunch this week? United Airlines.

We’ll also tell you about the latest strategic moves by Virgin Australia, we have great industry Halloween pics for you to peruse, we wonder why Boeing was late in delivering the second 787 to United, and we have some pics of our awesome flight on Row 44’s Grumann Albatross last week off the coast of California. We went to play with the company’s new streaming video product. We left in love with a very unusual airplane.

Like I say, a huge, huge issue this week.

Subscribers can access the monster here.

PlaneBusiness Banter Is Now Posted!

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Hello earthlings.

Another rough night of weather here in the DFW Metromess. But have no fear. This week’s issue of PBB is now posted and a great issue it is. This week we announce the 2011 PlaneBusiness Wild Turkey Award recipient. Drum roll please.

This year the award goes to Bill Ayer, Chairman and CEO of Alaska Air Group.

While PlaneBusiness Banter subscribers are all too aware of the excellent job Alaska is doing on the financial side of the house, very few people know that much about the airline’s Chairman and CEO. That’s because Bill Ayer wants it that way. He is not one to bask in the spotlight. He prefers his employees do that — in recognition of their work.

But this week Bill has best be prepared to bask in the spotlight, or at the very least he had best prepare for the delivery of a case of Wild Turkey Rare Breed, compliments of the man for whom this award is named. That’s right. Herbert D. Kelleher.

Better known in most circles simply as… Herb.

In addition to our Wild Turkey award column, we have a very active letters section this week in which our subscribers talk about everything from Steve Hazy’s business model at ILFC to the TWA pilots lawsuit against ALPA. Oh, and yes, my rant last week on airline marketing and branding, or in most cases, the lack thereof. I post a few of the comments I received this last week on that column, but there are still more coming in. We might have to revisit the topic.

There was some chatter this week concerning the United/Continental pilot negotiations, but as I report tonight, I don’t see any positive progress on this front. Later this week ALPA President Lee Moak will be meeting with a joint meeting of the MEC’s from both airline pilot groups. How I would love to be a fly on the wall of that session.

On the American Airlines labor front, some good news this week. It sounds like the negotiators for the TWU, which represents the mechanics, and the airline, had a productive mediated session last week, and they have scheduled another meeting for two weeks from now in Dallas.

American and the Allied Pilots Association, also appear to be finally making some headway in their unmediated discussions. Again, good news.

Shares of Air Canada led the airline sector to its first positive week in a long time last week, as shares shot up 15% after the strike against the airline by its customer service employee group came to an end.

Oh. Yeah. There is an air show in Paris this week.

We give you our four quick takes this week on some of the more interesting tidbits we’ve heard coming out of Paris, and next week we’ll wrap up with a full rundown of who announced what. And maybe even…why.

One thing that is certainly clear — Boeing has best get off its you-know-what and come up with either a replacement aircraft design or an upgrade to its existing 737 product. Airbus now has banked almost 600 orders for its A320neo. Ryanair announced this week it has signed a “design” agreement with Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac, to help the company design a Boeing 737 replacement aircraft.

As I reported in PBB after the recent Southwest Airlines annual meeting press conference, I don’t think I’ve seen Southwest CEO Gary Kelly respond as tersely as he did that day in answer to the inevitable “any news from Boeing about a 737 replacement aircraft” question.

Earth to Boeing….come in.

Finally, a big thank you to Brett Snyder, aka CrankyFlier . Brett gave us a very nice shoutout this week in his blog about the rant I went on last week concerning the importance of brand, and how some airlines get it, but most do not.

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

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello everyone.

This week’s 120-plus page earnings issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. Yes, it’s that time again. This week we have our in-depth analysis of the first quarter earnings results and earnings calls from American Airlines, Alaska Air Group, Southwest Airlines and United/Continental. Oh, and we have a PlaneBusiness Earnings Summary for JetBlue as well. We’ll do our in-depth look at them next week — along with US Airways, Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines.

Short and sweet? The worst performance last week was clearly posted by AMR. Best overall performance was turned in by Alaska Air Group.

No wonder AMR announced it was going to hold its annual shareholder meeting in Los Angeles next month. That’s right. The airline doesn’t want to hold it in Dallas — because they know there will be a huge turnout of unhappy employees.

I bet there are a fair number of unhappy employees who turn up in L.A. anyway. But let’s face it — LAX is not a huge American Airlines operation. The turnout will undoubtedly be much smaller than if they held it here in the DFW Metroplex.

But we talk about other stuff this week as well. The NTSB issued an update on its investigation of the Southwest Airlines‘ aircraft that popped its top. Interesting reading that was. Are misshapen rivet holes a production issue, or some kind of metal fatigue problem? Either way — it looks like Boeing has some problems here.

Then there is the ongoing air traffic control mess with the FAA. As expected the agency has responded to a spate of recent sleeping controller incidents by issuing some typical knee-jerk reaction responses. This is not a knee-jerk problem.

The deep-seated FAA/air traffic controller problems have been there for years. This is not about naps.

Can FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt finally do the hard work and solve the problems? We know he can. He’s got the labor negotiation background to pull it off. But does he want to?

US Airways filed a lawsuit against Sabre last week — the latest salvo in the airline/GDS wars. We have a copy of the actual filing for subscribers to peruse. Interesting reading.

In our “Retro Moment of the Week” we take a look at comments former airline analyst Sam Buttrick made about consolidation in 2000. How do they stack up in hindsight?

We also look at Rodman and Renshaw analyst Dan McKenzie’s latest capacity analysis. Which airlines are moving capacity out of what markets — and which airlines are looking at more competitive capacity moves in the second quarter?

Oh, and what airline merger does Dan think is a strong possibility?

All of this and more in this week’s large and unwieldy issue of PlaneBusiness Banter. Subscribers can access the issue here.

Airline Stock Winners for 2008: Allegiant (ALGT) Gets Top Performance Nod


When all was said and done, and the crystal ball descended in Times Square Wednesday night — I know that you were, just as I was, chomping at the bit to know the answer to one burning question.

Which airline stock was the top performer in 2008?

Against all odds, including floods, snow, sleet, testy employees and the darkness of oil (prices), which airline stock still managed to shine brightly against the setting sun of demand?

I am very happy to report that the airline stock that posted the highest return to shareholders in 2008 was one of our favorite airline stocks here at PlaneBusiness.

That stock was — Allegiant Travel Company. The company is the parent of Allegiant Airlines.

The airline, which managed to continue to post profits in 2008 — even though it was flying fuel-guzzling MD-80s, saw its shares climb a whopping 51% for the year, ending 2008 at 48.57 a share.

Not surprisingly, this year was one of the worst on record in terms of yearly gains and losses for the things with wings, collectively speaking.

Of all the airline and airline-related stocks we track, only four managed to post a gain for the year.

Those four were:

Allegiant 51%

Hawaiian Airlines 25%

JetBlue 20.3%

Alaska Air Group 17%

*Alaska and JetBlue are also two PlaneBusiness favorite stocks.

To see how your favorite (or not-so-favorite) airline stock performed in 2008, click here.