Tag Archives: delta air lines

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1Good evening earthlings. Our last summer “kitchen sink” issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. Alas. We were supposed to already be on vacation. But then the Department of Justice decided to sue American Airlines and US Airways last week.

So we bumped our three remaining 2Q13 earnings call reviews to this week. We also had a feeling that we’d hear more important information in regard to the DOJ’s machinations — which we did on Thursday.

So this week we wrap up 2Q13 earnings, including a look at break-even load factors and operating margins, we update you on the latest between the DOJ and American and US Airways, we take a sneak peek at how the bigger players are doing in terms of on-time performance in August, we muse about whether or not an airline should be named “Vanilla” and we go through a lot of mail.

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

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello everyone! It’s that time again. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

Fourth quarter and year-end earnings reports began to roll out this week, as Delta Air Lines reported on Tuesday and US Airways reported record breaking results on Wednesday.

The two airlines continue to lead the major U.S. airlines in any number of financial metrics. Looking forward, both airlines also gave analysts good guidance for 1Q13.

As we usually do, we will have full earnings call reviews of US Airways and Delta Air Lines in next week’s issue. We will also cover the results from Southwest Airlines and United Airlines — both of whom are on tap for tomorrow.

In other news, we update subscribers on the latest news concerning the battery problems with the Boeing 787 that have kept all of the aircraft grounded. The NTSB is scheduled to hold a press conference Thursday, but the latest news late Wednesday is that there was damage to all of the cells in the battery that caught fire on the JAL aircraft when it was parked in Boston.

Boeing’s not happy.

But neither are Boeing’s customers.

Meanwhile those planes aren’t going anywhere until the reason for the problems are found and the problems are solved.

American Airlines? Oh, yes. American decided to forge ahead and roll-out a new livery and branding effort last week. I talk a great deal this week both about what it says that management at the airline decided to do this — at this time. And how god awful the new design is. Or as the article in Vanity Fair titled its story on the new livery, “Something Lousy in the Air: Analyzing American Airlines‘ Disastrous Redesign.”

Needless to say, the airline failed on all fronts.

We also update you on our latest merger timetable — and I remind all of the stakeholders in this bankruptcy of what will happen if the current management team at the airline manages to kill a merger in some form or fashion. But I am not the only one sounding this warning. So did a Wall Street analyst last week.

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

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Good evening sports fans, airline fans, and Boeing 787 meltdown fans.

No, it has not been a good evening for the 787, as both Japan Air Lines and ANA have now grounded their 787 fleets after yet another “battery” incident that necessitated an emergency landing by an ANA aircraft earlier this evening in Japan.

Before this latest development, we had already devoted a fair amount of ink this week to the Boeing 787 problems — including the investigation into the systems and design of the aircraft, which was announced Friday by the FAA.

We also update readers on the NTSB investigation of the fire last week on the Japan Airlines 787 in Boston. And no, those pictures of the burned out Lithium battery are enough to scare the you-know-what out of you. Especially when you factor in the news that it apparently took 40 minutes for fire fighters to finally put out the fire.

Other than continued scary moments with the 787, we also talk a bit this week about the American/US Airways merger — which seems to be inching forward, although we hear the diehards at AMR refuse to give up on the misguided idea that a standalone deal would be preferable, so an announcement may not be as close as we had estimated.
Some people just refuse to accept the fact the world has changed.


Meanwhile we all know how this works. Giving up valuable turf is never easy.
Just ask the guys at APA who are obsessed with what their seniority number is going to be. Nothing else matters.

On the international front, Alitalia needs money again, and Kingfisher continues to operate. Kind of.

Meanwhile, German authorities say that Ryanair has been cheating it out of lots of money, by under-reporting landing weights. This one should be interesting to see how it plays out.

We have the November DOT Air Travel Consumer Report this week, plus December traffic and RASM estimates (what the hell happened to Spirit in the fourth quarter, speaking of RASM) and we tell you why we think 2013 is going to be one heck of a good year for the industry.

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

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Good evening everyone!

The first issue of PlaneBusiness Banter for 2013 is now posted. And yours truly is sick as a dog. As a result, it’s going to be a short summary tonight.

I am desperately in need of more tea, more medicine, more chicken soup, and more sleep. Bleech.

However, before I crawl away and climb under the covers, here’s a peek at what we are talking about in this week’s issue.

Taking the top spot of course are the problems with the Boeing 787. The week began with a fire on a Japan Airlines 787 in Boston, and it’s pretty much continued to go downhill ever since. I think it would be safe to say it’s not been a good week for our friends at Boeing.

Since we did just end both a year and a quarter, we have all kinds of airline stock charts for you to peruse this week. Taking the top spot for performance in 2012 were shares of US Airways. The shares picked up a cool 166% for the year.

On the American/US Airways front, we expect we should hear something formal in terms of a merger agreement before the end of the month. My bet is the announcement is made before US Airways releases its earnings. Stay tuned.

This week we talk a lot about Southwest Airlines. Taking the cue from analyst Bob McAdoo from Imperial Capital, we revisit the information the airline released at its recent investor day in December — and we note the airline has already been forced to backpedal on some of its announced increases in fees it made that day.

Like I say, we talk a long time this week about the airline. And not a lot of it is overly enthusiastic.

We also bring you a super secret list of New Year’s resolutions. That’s right. We have the New Year’s resolutions from a number of airline CEOs — both current and past.
As for the AMR Bankruptcy Follies — this week we dissect the “Bob Crandall” video that had so many people talking while we were on Holiday Hiatus.

An American Airlines‘ exec leaves to become CEO of Virgin Atlantic, we give you a look at the messages several airline CEOs sent to their employees at the end of the year, and we even update you on Pinnacle, which, as everyone had assumed, is going to exit bankruptcy as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.

All this and more (cough, cough) in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Good evening earthlings! It’s that time again.

This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted!

It got a little busy earlier this evening after Reuters went public with the contents of a letter that one of the more well-known groups of AMR bondholders sent to the President of the Allied Pilots Association earlier this month.

As we talk about in this week’s issue, if this group wants the AMR board replaced and management gone, I don’t think Tom Horton and company have much of a leg to stand on.

Nothing surprising here.

I also assume that APA sent out the letter to its membership in an effort to persuade them that an “affirmative” vote is the way to go.

In other news, we talk at length this week about the BTN 2012 Airline Survey. Corporate travel managers and agencies participate in this survey, which measures an airline in ten different categories. Short and sweet? Delta Air Lines blew away the rest of the group.

PBB subscribers should not be surprised — given the feedback we’ve provided over the last several months from our various corporate travel group presentations.

We tell you how everyone else fared and why a US Airways/American merger should not scare the hell out of the corporate travel community in DFW — even though it does!

It was a fantastic week on Wall Street this week for the Things with Wings. Shares of Republic and US Airways led the group.

We also tell you what we’ve heard Delta Air Lines has told management at Pinnacle Airlines. Hint: It has to do with the Pinnacle pilot contract.

The AMR Bankruptcy Follies returns this week — we’re talking loose seats, the airline’s failed attempt to stop the passenger service union representational election, and we have Scene Five from a One Act Play.

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

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 Now Posted!

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Good evening everyone! This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. We are a bit long this week, but not surprising. There is a lot of stuff going on, including the continued operational issues at American Airlines.

Then again, the American story took another turn over the last week, after the airline suffered at least three incidents in which seats on an American 757 came loose while in-flight.

We talk at length this week about how the airline botched the handling of the story, how the airline continues to get beaten up in the press, and why all of this just validates what we already knew –the management team at the airline needs to change.

I’m not sure how much longer all of this is going to continue, but apparently Tom Horton has dug in his heels and is committed to walking away with what some folks have estimated could be as much as $60 million in bankruptcy exit payouts.


Meanwhile, United Airlines has quietly rolled out is new easy-peasy customer service GUI that alleviates the need to go back to the green screen. Everything we hear about the switch has been positive. Would have helped if the airline had done this six months ago, but what the hey.

Speaking of United, CEO Jeff Smisek was on CNBC last week talking about the airline’s new 787s, er, the “game-changer.” I have officially banned the use of that word again. I think it’s become a parody. I don’t want any United execs to use it again.

Time to come up with a new marketing tag. That one has gone stale. Causes acute rolling of the eyes of customers and employees alike.

Delta, United, and US Airways all updated their September PRASM numbers and their 3Q results over the last week. US Airways and Delta should still post a small uptick in PRASM for September, but the increase is going to be less than forecast. As for United Airlines, the airline looks like it continued to underperform its peers by a significant margin in September — and it looks like the airline will do the same for the quarter.

Meanwhile, analyst 3Q estimates for US Airways were raised substantially today as the airline forecast lower fuel prices and lower maintenance costs than expected.

We answer a number of subscriber questions this week on AMR — subscribers can send us any question they want to have answered. We’ll try and print as many as we can each week.

Some labor news from the last week: We’ll talk about both the flight attendants and the pilots at US Airways.

We also run down the 3Q airline sector stock performance results this week — as well as our normal weekly look at which stocks fared well last week and which ones took a vacation.

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

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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

This week we have a big, jam-packed issue — and it’s not even earnings yet!

First, we award our Wild Turkey Award for Airline Management Excellence to a very worthy recipient — Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines.

We’ve only given out four of these in our 15 years of publishing PlaneBusiness Banter, but we tell you why we think Richard is more than deserving of the honor.

As part of the award, Richard will also be receiving a case of Wild Turkey Rare Breed whiskey, compliments of the person for whom the award is named — former Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Herb Kelleher.

Yep, Holly was in Atlanta last week.

I got to tour the new International Terminal at the Atlanta Airport, I got to crawl around one of Delta’s newly upgraded 747s, I met with almost every top member of the airline’s management team, and then there was a terrific dinner with some of the folks from Corp Comm — complete with green fried tomatoes and fried chicken.

What more could anyone ask for?

Meanwhile, while I honor the best in the business this week, in terms of airline CEOs, we still, unfortunately, have to talk about AMR and its CEO.

In this week’s AMR Bankruptcy Follies column, I take a look at the statement last week from the airline in which it says it is now going to look at “merger alternatives.”

We present a timeline of comments from the airline’s CEO Tom Horton for you to consider as we ask the question — is Horton really serious about doing this or is this just a ploy to placate the UCC?

We take a look at the June traffic numbers, and we’ll tell you why shares of SkyWest shot off the charts last week.

Oh, and yes, Boeing locked down the order with United. The FAA also proposed a $13.2 million fine against Boeing — for its slow response to fuel tank modification design work.

We take a look at the latest DOT Air Travel Consumer numbers from May — yet another bad month for United — and we talk about British Airways, Kingfisher, Qantas, Virgin Australia, and a whole lot more.

All — this week — in PlaneBusiness Banter .

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

home-typewriter copy 1.jpg Hello everyone. A very short preview of this week’s issue tonight. I have a good reason. I have to get on an plane early in the morning. And I have to be coherent when I get off the plane. The clock is not my friend at this point.

So — here is a quick overview. American Airlines and its bankruptcy? Check. United’s new 787 livery? Check. United’s continuing operational problems? Check. Delta, Southwest and Boeing finally make the 717 deal official and Delta gives more details on how the aircraft are going to be configured and how they are going to be deployed. Check.
Then there is Farnborough. Will United go with Boeing or Airbus? I think the answer is pretty obvious. Not a very well-kept secret.
I attended the recent Association of Travel Marketing Executives Conference in Chicago where I spoke about the current state of the airline industry. This week I give you an overview of the opening presentations and why I thought the conference was a worthwhile event.
Five years? Really? American is hanging banners in airports talking about how it is working on giving passengers the industry’s youngest fleet ….in five years?
Airline stocks had a pretty good week last week. We’ll tell you who picked up the most ground and who dropped back.
All this and much, much, more in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter!

Southwest Airlines Finally Announces What We Told Subscribers in March: 717s Going to Delta


In March, we reported in PlaneBusiness Banter that Southwest Airlines was going to offload its Boeing 717s to Delta Air Lines.
The company subsequently hemmed and hawed around the topic, but they never denied it.
Last week, I then reported that the 717 flying had been addressed in the tentative agreement between Delta Air Lines and its pilot union.
Finally, today, Southwest Airlines announced that yes, it has agreed to a deal that will see all 88 of the former AIrTran 717s go to Delta Air Lines.
This negatively impacts those AirTran 717 pilots who had been the beneficiary of a “carve-out” as part of the seniority agreement with the Southwest pilot group. Their “preferential” treatment will end — when those 717s depart. The carve-out was only applicable as long as Southwest Airlines flew the aircraft.
On the flip-side, this is good news for Southwest Airlines’ pilots — as it will move them up in terms of seniority.