Tag Archives: Glenn Tilton

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted

home-typewriter copy 1.jpgThis week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. Subscribers can access the latest issue here.

This week we are talking about ….what else? The latest chapter in the United Airlines/Continental/US Airways mating dance.

Do we think anything has changed? What do we think is going to happen?

We also talk about the press release that Southwest Airlines issued Friday pertaining to its now-dead codeshare agreement with WestJet.

As our PlaneBusiness Brown Bag Analyst told PBB subscribers two weeks ago — this was all about New York. More on all that in this week’s issue.

Then, of course, there is that little problem of all that volcanic ash that is now making its way slowly over the UK and much of Europe. Volcanic ash and jet engines — not a good combination. For much of Europe, and all of the UK, air travel has effectively stopped altogether, although there were a few “test” flights that went up today — in an attempt to “measure” the level of ash in the atmosphere.


Meanwhile today Pratt and Whitney issued the following statement:

“Volcanic ash can damage aircraft and engines in several ways. P&WC encourages operators to refer to their airframe OEMs guidance on a potential volcanic ash encounter for additional information.

While P&WC acknowledges that the Local Regulatory Authority has the final determination of whether flight operation is to be conducted, we want to inform you, our customers, of potential hazards.

P&WC does not recommend operation in conditions where volcanic ash is present. Let us explain why.

Volcanic ash may clog air filters of turbine engines, block cooling air passages, erode the gas path components, and erode the protective paint on casings. Volcanic ash entering the engine can also melt in the combustor and then re-solidify on the static turbine vanes, potentially choking the turbine airflow and leading to surging and an in-flight shut-down. It is also noted that there is a high level of acidity associated with volcanic ash, and this may also lead to deterioration of engine components.”

Airline stocks had a pretty good week this week, but oil was positively volatile. Then there was the news of the SEC fraud case against Goldman Sachs. Oh boy. This is just the small tiny piece of what is going to be a very ugly iceberg. We tell you why.

And finally, in addition to all the other things we talk about this week — there is this major news.

This week we award, for only the second time in 14 years, a PlaneBusiness Wild Turkey Award to an airline CEO who we think has done an outstanding job in leading his employees and managing his airline. No hints. You’ll have to go find out who it is somewhere else.

And yes, the award is named in honor of you know who.

United Airlines’ CEO Glenn Tilton’s Post Merger Role Key to Eventual Merger


Just as anticipated, it was reported today that Continental Airlines and United Airlines are supposedly talking about a potential merger, “according to media reports that cite people familiar with the matter.”

In answer to a few emails from some folks today, here’s our take on this “news.”

One, just as the news about a potential US Airways/United deal was clearly “leaked” last week by those on the United side of the potential deal in an attempt to gauge the market interest in such a match-up, the news today that has Continental and United talking another potential merger is no different.

Here’s the deal: United Airlines wants to do a deal with somebody. It may be Continental. It may be US Airways.

I could talk at length about the potential plusses and minuses of either deal.

But frankly, those details are not going to be the determining factors in terms of which airline United ends up doing the merger dance with.

Just as was the case with both failed potential merger deals last year involving the same three players, an eventual deal will depend heavily on the role current members of upper management at United Airlines take in any deal.  Particularly United Airlines Chairman and CEO Glenn Tilton. As I wrote this week in PlaneBusiness Banter, one of the big factors in the failure of the Continental deal, and a complicating factor in a proposed US Airways’ deal was Tilton’s insistence upon keeping control in both deals.

But at the same time, Tilton knows that both US Airways and Continental would like to link up with United. And pressure is building on Tilton to get a deal done. He’s only been talking about doing one since he took his position with the airline in 2002.

Frankly, I think Continental would be better off to sit and wait out the current matchmaking attempts. Unless Continental CEO Jeff Smisek and his management team can take control of the new merged entity. Continental already has an advantageous partnership agreement with United, and both airlines are in the Star Alliance. (As is US Airways.)

With US Airways, sources who are involved with the deal tell us that CEO Doug Parker appears willing to let Glenn Tilton stay on in the role of Chairman, with Parker taking the CEO position. But would Tilton be willing to give Parker the control he would need to put together a new management team?

One thing is for sure. This deal, when all is said and done, will be all about ego. Forget routes, forget aircraft compatibility. Forget which deal the markets finds more appealing.

At the end of the day, United Airlines Chairman and CEO Glenn Tilton and his desire to retain control of United is what is going to make or break any new attempt at a merger.

Glenn Tilton Just Lost His Next Job


It was not much of a secret that United Airlines Chairman and CEO Glenn Tilton had been treading water for much of the last year, while he awaited the opportunity to be handed his next dream job — the CEO of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Chicago.

That is, if the city were awarded the Summer Olympics.

Too bad for Glenn.

It was just announced that the International Olympic Committee has chose Rio de Janeiro for the site of the 2016 Summer games.

By popular demand, I repost what has to be one our favorite shots of Mr. Tilton from the archives, as he explains, well, I’m not sure what he is trying to explain. Make up your own caption.

More Jake Brace Captions

typewriterA008blog-754097.jpg Yes, there are more!

Here are just a few of the creative Jake Brace Captions you sent to me Friday. I haven’t even gleaned through all the Saturday offerings as of yet.

1. “We were this close to finishing the Continental merger when Big-Mouth Glenn blurts out he wants to manage the new company!!! I mean, BAM! it was just Glenn and me sitting in a room with 6 other empty swivel chairs a spinning…”

2.”Tell them that the idea is to not necessarily kill the golden goose but to squeeze every last….oh, that’s been used?”

3. “What a bunch of saps! I can’t believe how United’s employees let me get away with filling my saddle bags with all this loot at their expense — freaking unbelievable how they just stood there & took it lying down! A sucker is born every minute!”

4.“No, it was Glenn who dropped the ball.”

5.”I am not a criminal.”

6.”No, I’m ‘retiring’.”

7.”Believe you me, Glenn, crude oil will never be more than $50 a barrel.”

8. “See this brown spot on the end of my nose?”

9. “Yes, I have to admit, we’ve succeeded in making our financials so hard to understand, nobody even understands how much money we’re losing.”

10. “Listen, I was surprised as you when Glenn said he would groom Doug instead of me.”

My favorite of this bunch? Number one. And number ten. Stayed tuned for more!

Jake Brace To (Finally) Leave United Airlines

Interesting news crossing the wires this morning as United Airlines has announced that Jake Brace, long-time CFO, is “retiring” from the company on Nov. 1. AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/

A couple of things. One this is great news. Should have happened a long time before now however.

Secondly, Kathy Michaels, the former head of IR at United, is going to succeed him. That is also good news.

Of course, no news like this is what it appears to be on the surface, and the obvious question hitting my email box this morning more or less runs around this theme — did CEO Glenn Tilton finally push Jake out, in an attempt to put a lid on mounting calls for Glenn’s dismissal?

Could be.

Or it could be that Jake has come to the conclusion that his days at United are numbered anyway — and he might as well get out now, with a fat retirement/consulting package, before things get much worse.

Speaking of that no-doubt bloated “retirement/consulting” compensation package — we, along with everyone else will be awaiting the details –when the company outlines the deal in an SEC filling.