Hello to everyone on what is a gloriously beautiful day here in the DFW Metromess.
Today I bring you another luxuriously long issue of PlaneBusiness Banter posted for your reading pleasure. Or as someone said to me last week at a conference I was speaking at, “I LOVVEE these issues. It gives me something to read during my entire flight!”
Yes, well. I’m so happy we can be of help.
Earnings season is finally winding down. We talk about three airlines in depth this week – Air Canada, WestJet and SkyWest. We also have earnings summaries for the last two reportees for the quarter — Republic Holdings and Pinnacle. We’ll talk more about them in next week’s issue.
But hey, there was a whole lot going on this last week besides earnings.
Shares of AMR, parent of American Airlines, had a great week, after Jamie Baker at JP Morgan Chase picked the stock as his current favorite. Kind of a no-brainer considering how badly beaten up the stock is — compared to its peers. According to Jamie, the company should start to see some improvement to its lagging margin performance as the British Airways joint venture kicks into gear. He said a lot of other stuff as well. More in this week’s issue.
On the labor front, the flight attendants at Delta Air Lines just said “No” to union representation last week. After 16 years and three elections, the Association of Flight Attendants couldn’t get it done. The AFA said it is going to protest the election on grounds the airline interfered.
Negotiations have clearly bogged down between the pilot unions at United and Continental. Sounds like pay scales for the United Boeing 747 is a major sticking point but that sticking point runs parallel to the other bigger problem — seniority.
As I say this week, you guys should not attempt to negotiate a contract unless the seniority agreement has been completed.
Meanwhile, in Dallas, the Allied Pilots Association has hired a professional negotiator. I think I said the union needed to do this about four years ago. Glad they finally took my advice.
The man they hired, Seth Rosen, is affiliated with the Air Line Pilots Association.
Interesting. I sense a thaw developing in relations between the two pilot unions.
Some notable tidbits from across the pond this week as well, including the fact that privately-held Virgin Atlantic confirmed it has hired Deutsche Bank to look at its “strategic opportunities.” This comes as reports also say Sir Richard may be ready to sell his interest in the airline. That would make sense. He would never be able remain at the helm as he is now if the airline were to be sold. He could never accept not being in charge.
But the most disturbing things we talk about this week have nothing to do with unions or earnings.
The first one — the uncontained failure of a Rolls-Royce engine on a Qantas A380 last week and the fact the airline says it has found other A380 Rolls engines with unacceptable levels of leaking oil.
The second one — my first experience with the new TSA “extended” pat-down procedure.
Not good either.
More feedback on the TSA’s changed procedures from yet another pilot union this week — and we couldn’t agree more.
Speaking of “more,” — all this and more in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.
Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.