Good afternoon earthlings. How is everyone today?
As of right now, things here at the Worldwide Headquarters are hunky-dory. However, as you can see by this lovely graphic, that is about to change. Sigh. Enough already.
This is how the weather map looks now.
This is what is forecast for tomorrow morning.
However, before the ice and snow arrives once again and we have to perhaps endure more rolling blackouts, it’s time to talk about this week’s issue of …PlaneBusiness Banter! Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.
This week we take our usual in-depth look at the recent earnings calls and results from both Hawaiian Airlines and Allegiant Travel Co. Our overall assessment of both carrier’s results? Both airlines are in “transition” modes. Translation? I wouldn’t jump into either stock right now. Too many costs on the horizon.
We also talk about the Raymond James Growth Airline Conference, which was held last week in New York. The conference welcomed two newcomers to the fray — Delta Air Lines and Alaska Air Group.
As most of you know by now, Delta Air Lines took the opportunity to talk about its decision to reduce its capacity — a decision that was universally cheered by the Wall Street community.
However, as of today, we have not heard any news from any other airlines in regard to them doing the same — a situation that one airline analyst finds quite frustrating. So much so that he slashed his estimates on most of the legacy airlines last week as a result.
As Jamie Baker, analyst with JP Morgan wrote, given the rise in the price of fuel and the apparent “push back” that airlines may now be feeling as a result of a fare increase that fell apart last week, reductions in capacity are the answer. Sooner rather than later.
Speaking of those fare increases, while the across the board fare increase attempt sputtered last week, this morning United/Continental decided to stop abusing the leisure class, and instead they announced fare increases for both first class and business class passengers. The increases were matched almost immediately by competitors American and Delta Air Lines.
This fare increase has a much better chance of “sticking” because Southwest does not compete with the first class and business class fare buckets — so unlike last week when Southwest proved to be the spoiler, this increase will probably hold.
In other news, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz) tacked on an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill last week that would effectively kill the Essential Air Services program. Was this just a political play for headlines? Or is he serious?
On another front, the American Eagle ALPA MEC Chairman, Tony Gutierrez, issued a letter last week outlining where the regional carrier is in terms of its relationship to AMR. We had a number of AE-related emails this week and this is why. We talk about this a bit this week, and oh yes, public kudos to Tony. This letter that he wrote to the AE pilots was one of the most thorough letters of its type I’ve ever read from a union leader to his troops.
All this and more…in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.