Hello everyone. It’s that time again. Time for the first issue of PlaneBusiness Banter in 2011.
What topics are front and center for our first issue of the year?
Which airline stocks outperformed the group for 2010? I’ll say this — it was a great year for those who took the plunge and invested in the sector. We had four stocks we cover post gains of more than 100%, with one almost hitting a 200% return mark. The vast majority of stocks we track posted double-digit gains for the year. Only a handful ended up in the negative category.
We also talk about fourth quarter stock performance. Looking at the quarter, we had a somewhat different picture — as lo and behold — a US regional airline took top honors for the quarter. Which airline pulled off that feat?
But we are not just talking stocks.
No, we are talking a lot about American Airlines and its efforts to single-handedly dismantle the distribution system that the airlines have used since, well, American Airlines and its then subsidiary Sabre, developed the first GDS system. Many years ago.
Over the Christmas holidays, there were a number of happenings on this front. We’ll update you on those, and give you our take on what is eventually going to happen, and why we also think the timing of American’s push to put its Direct Connect system in place might have been, well, ill-timed.
Then again, throw in the planned merger of Google and ITA — and maybe it isn’t that badly timed.
I know. It’s confusing. That’s what makes it so interesting to talk about. There are way too many angles to consider — depending on whether you are an airline, a passenger, or a travel agent.
But make no mistake about it — airlines want more control over their inventory, they want to know who is buying its inventory, and they don’t want to pay a third party to facilitate the sale of that inventory.
American Airlines got its hand slapped last week by the NTSB, after someone in Tulsa apparently downloaded the contents of the flight recorder that was on the Boeing 757 that slid off the runway in Jackson Hole.
The NTSB was not happy.
Meanwhile, the airline and its flight attendants met last week with the NMB — in an attempt to get contract negotiations back on track. Both sides left unhappy.
I don’t think this union is going to be happy unless they go to a strike.
And then — there is the weather. Airlines are already putting out estimates of how much the rotten weather in December cost them. This week? Another winter storm is causing mayhem across the South and in the Northeast.
Oh, you know. We talk about all this — and more — in this week’s issue.
Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.