Hello everyone. We’re back from our August hiatus. Perfect timing too, as today airline execs took their turns talking to investors at the Deutsche Bank Aviation Conference. And what did most of them say? Demand has not slowed.
In addition, remember that the airlines were the beneficiary of that nice FAA tax collection snafu in August, which fattened their bank accounts with a little unexpected spending money. Tuesday a number of airlines gave more precise guidance as to just how much their bank balances were fattened, as a result of Congress being unable to act like adults.
All of this positive news caused the markets to reward the flailing airline sector with a huge turnaround today.
The depth and strength of airline exec comments today really did seem to be in direct opposition to how we, and everyone else on the planet, perceive the macro economic landscape. I was surprised at some of the PRASM estimates for September that were floated today. Much better than I had anticipated.
This week is also “catch-up” week as we update subscribers on what went down with the Southwest Airlines/AirTran pilot seniority list integration proposal in August. Essentially the AirTran ALPA MEC refused to send the proposal to the AirTran pilot rank and file for a vote.
As of now, both sides are supposedly “talking” but there is already a “drop-dead” date established with the negotiations. If nothing is resolved by that date — the matter will be arbitrated.
We also talk this week about the situation at American Airlines. The airline had 111 pilots opt for retirement on Sept. 1. This is an abnormally high number, (the average monthly total is 11) and it appears the airline may have a similar number, if not more, opt to retire the beginning of October.
We talk about whether this is an “insider sentiment” that indicates the pilot group believes a bankruptcy is around the corner — or if it is simply a reflection of the sharp downturn in the value of AMR shares over the last quarter. (There is a look-back period in terms of what date and stock price is used in calculating benefits.)
Of course, we talk about how the airline sector performed both last week and while we were on vacation. We also go over the July DOT Air Travel Consumer report.
Then there is the usual hodge podge of goodies including an update on Stelios and his latest attack on the EasyJet board of directors, Moody’s cut in Travelport’s debt rating, the update in the case between American and Sabre, the skinny on the person who bit the Alaska Airlines first officer, and much, much more.
Subscribers can access this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter here.