Tag Archives: Herb Kelleher

PlaneBusiness Banter Posted!

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Hello everyone. This week in PlaneBusiness Banter we’re talking about the second quarter earnings season that begins next week. We also give you the complete rundown of the current airline stock target prices — compliments of the usual airline industry analyst contingent.

We also look at the most recent DOT Airline Consumer Travel Report for May. This month was a real grab bag of results — with airlines the usually doing well not doing well in certain measures, other doing better than expected — and then there was American Airlines. And American Eagle. The not-so-dynamic duo were clearly the worst performing airlines of the group. We were so impressed, we were moved to unanimously award the two airlines a tandem “Goat” award for their industry-lagging performance.

That reminds me. You know how airline executives always pepper their comments about how their particular airline has such “industry-leading” performance in this and that? When was the last time you heard someone say their airline is an industry laggard?

The EU is convinced that all the airlines of the rest of the world need to participate in its Emissions Trading Scheme. Needless to say the Air Transport Association, the IATA, and U.S. airlines don’t agree. The shrill cry against adding airlines to the list of ETS participating companies rose sharply last week — along with threats of an all-out trade war.

Last week airline analysts lined up to initiate coverage on shares of Spirit Airlines. Without exception they were all bullish on the shares. Their enthusiasm helped push shares of Spirit up 11% for the week.

Speaking of Wall Street, jet fuel posted a sharp uptick of more than 6% last week, even though the price of crude oil was only up a little more than 1%.

United Airlines pulled out the stops last week as it feted its most traveled frequent flyer. They even named a 747 after him.

On the merger front the proposed LAN/TAM deal is on hold as government regulators take more time to look at possible antitrust implications. I find this rather amusing, since LAN basically owns the Chilean market.

Pinnacle’s new CFO used to work for Pinnacle’s CEO when he was CEO at Frontier Airlines, Lufthansa is going to start flying passengers on biofuel on Friday, and more.

All in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter .

PlaneBusiness Wild Turkey Award for Airline Management Excellence

Next week — for only the third time in 14 years — I will award an airline CEO with the PlaneBusiness Wild Turkey Award. This award is given to an airline CEO in recognition of their excellence in airline management.

Yes, the award is named in honor of Herb Kelleher, former Chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines.

What does it take to grab one of these (and the case of Wild Turkey Rare Breed whiskey personally delivered compliments of the award’s namesake?)

*A dedication to a strong balance sheet.

*An emphasis on a company’s employees and the importance of their contribution to the company.

*A position of leadership within the airline community.

*A willingness to take risks — in an effort to improve an airline’s financial and operational success.

*Above all — a commitment to “do the right thing” in regards to the airline, employees, shareholders, and customers.

That’s next week — in PlaneBusiness Banter.

Kelleher Measure On Dallas CIty Council Agenda Wednesday


A heads-up for all DFW based readers who might want to do something different, yet still airline-related Wednesday morning.

On the agenda tomorrow morning at the Dallas City Council Meeting is a proposal that would see the council rename Cedar Springs Road from Mockingbird Lane to the Dallas Love Field Terminal.

The new name that is going to be proposed? Herb Kelleher Way.

We hear that Mr. Kelleher, the irrepressible ex-CEO of Southwest Airlines, is expected to attend the meeting, which starts at 9 A.M. Location? Council Chambers, City Hall.

No word on whether or not Wild Turkey will be served at the event.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Greetings to all you turkey lovers out there.

It’s Monday. It’s time for this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.

Speaking of turkeys, yes, we’re talking about the TSA this week. Isn’t everyone?

But we’re also talking about Deutsche Bank analyst Mike Linenberg’s rather gushing research note on Republic Holdings. Also — where does Mike think the industry now has too many competitors?

We’re talking union stuff too. Two more thumbs down employee votes at Delta Air Lines, a thumbs up from the Southwest Airlines’ flight attendants on their contract ratification and a thumbs up ratification from the AirTran pilots on their new contract.

However — there is one part of the new AirTran pilot contract that we are curious about. Can you guess what part that is?

Then there is the picketing this week by the Continental and United pilots. Pahleez. Is this really necessary?

Not sure if you have been keeping up with the fight north of the border, but Canada and the UAE are about to go to blows over the issue of giving Emirates more access into Canada. I mean, this is getting serious.

We have a lot more information this week regarding exactly what happened when that Qantas A380 had an engine suffer an uncontained failure. The laundry list of items that were affected on the aircraft is not pretty.

Meanwhile, as has been the case since the beginning, most of the information coming out concerning the problems with the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine is not coming from Rolls-Royce.

Then we had Boeing running around, telling websites they had to remove photos of the damage to its 787 test aircraft. Lovely. I do so love it when a company thinks they can make a problem go away by removing the evidence in a rather heavy-handed manner.

On the GDS front, American Airlines seems more determined than ever to cause mayhem and madness in the travel agency business. More on their latest moves in this week’s issue as well.

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

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

Airline Execs: Pretty Scary Stuff

It’s Halloween. BOO!

For at least two airlines — that means it is time to get scary.

Especially for some of the airlines’ top executives.

Friday over on Denton Drive here in Dallas, it appears that Southwest Airlines‘ former Chairman and CEO Herb Kelleher decided to go with the Willie Nelson/Biker combo look, while current Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly pranced down the Yellow Brick Road as Dorothy.

I don’t know what it is with Gary and his cross-dressing tendencies, but ever since he turned out as Edna Turnblad a couple of years ago — we’re almost afraid to look. (Last year Gary and two associates were attired as ZZ Top.) Early betting this year had Gary dressing as Julia Child.


But here’s the one that got me. Anyone know who that is?

That’s US Airways’ COO Robert Isom. I tell you what — that boy has the Barry Gibb thing going, doesn’t he? I hear he hit some pretty high notes Friday as well — as the US Airways’ executive team, aka the Bee Gees, entertained airline employees at the airline’s headquarters in Tempe.

Gotta love that hair.


ISTAT 2009: The First Time I’ve Heard Universal Gloom and Doom


One of the best airline industry conferences around is the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading. ISTAT for short.

Don’t let the long name confuse you. This is the group you join if you sell airplanes, lease airplanes, want to lease airplanes, appraise airplanes, you name it.

As I have told PBB subscribers for years, it never matters what the U.S. airline industry is doing at any given point in time — you come to one of these conferences and these are the guys who make money whether the economy is up or down. Most recently, the downturn after 2001 didn’t particularly hurt their pockets either — as aircraft sales continued to soar internationally, even if U.S. airlines more or less stopped ordering aircraft.

But this year, for the first year that I have ever experienced –and I have been coming to these for more than 10 years — the tone is definitely different. Scottsdale is still gorgeous, but the mood here this week is definitely not what one usually encounters at an ISTAT function.

This year, as one person told me this morning, “It’s scary.”

Adam Pilarski, Senior Vice President with Avitas summed it up by saying, “It sucks. That’s an industry technical term by the way.”

Fred Klein, President of Aviation Specialists told me before his stint on the ISTAT Appraiser’s Forum, “I can’t believe that a handful of U.S. financial entities have managed to bring down the whole fucking worldwide financial system.”

I asked, “Fred, can I quote you on that?” Fred, “Yes, damn it.”

That kind of gives you a feel for the mood of the crowd. Deals are not getting done. Financing has dried up. Many aircraft values are down 20% since this time last year.

I have to hand it to the guys who put on the conference this year though. Is that an off-the-wall backdrop on stage or what? Doug Runte, Managing Partner with Piper Jaffray did look a bit uncomfortable when he was asked to come through the center of the turbine to the sounds of Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” though. Doug moderated the Appraiser’s Panel. Doug’s a good guy. And an art history major to boot.

Big Catch for Tomorrow: The Leeham Report’s Scott Hamilton will be interviewing ILFC’s Steve Hazy tomorrow on stage. Will not want to miss that.

Tuesday Night: Robert Crandall, former Chairman and CEO of American Airlines will be honored by ISTAT with a lifetime achievement award. And guess who else is supposed to be in the house? Yep. Herb.

I would bet money we are going to have a little roast of Bob before the evening is over tomorrow night — compliments of Mr. Kelleher.