Tag Archives: NYSE:UAL

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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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.

Not good.

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.

PlaneBusiness Banter Posted!

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Greetings earthlings. Gotten a text message from Brett Favre lately?

Okay, I’ll behave.

Which is more than I can say for Mr. Favre.

The latest edition of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

This week we take a look at, what else? The Southwest/AirTran deal. Lots of chatter going on about just why it was that AirTran decided to sell. We talk about that, and I answer a lot of email questions about my comments from last week concerning the deal as well.

American Airlines was all over the newswires this past week. We talk about all the airline’s news, the latest missive from the Allied Pilots Association, and we wonder just where the airline is going to get all the metal to fly all this new flying it is talking about.

Oh, and yes, the airline also recalled 800 employees. Wonder how many of those former TWA flight attendants will come back and fly? I’d be interested to know.

Meanwhile, over at United Airlines (under new management), the pilots on both sides there said this last week that they have decided to keep direct negotiations going for at least another two months — rather than ask the National Mediation Board to step in. Good. If they asked the NMB to step in it would be months before anything got done.

Five years from now — how will the industry look? What will be different? I do my best Karnac imitation this week. Complete with turban.

Then there is the strange tale of British Airways’ Captain Peter Burkill. Burkill was Captain of British Airways flight 38, the Boeing 777 aircraft that lost power in both Rolls-Royce engines during final approach to Heathrow. He and his co-pilot were hailed as heroes after they managed to land the plane safely just short of the runway.

But things turned awry for Burkill pretty quickly. When all was said and done, he quit the airline, was unable to find another job as a pilot, and found himself on welfare.

We talk about his journey this week, and the strange twist to it that just occurred.

We have all kinds of other goodies, including a rather nifty way to look at regional airline profitability that was published in a research note last week by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analyst Glenn Engel, and the usual hot YouTube videos that made their appearance this week. We’ve got foul-mouthed furry puppets, more cartoon union negotiation stories and dancing flight attendants.

It’s just a never ending party.

All this and more in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter. Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

PlaneBusiness Banter Posted

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Hello everyone. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

Last week was one huge week in Airlineland as not only did it mark the end of the third quarter, but the United/Continental deal closed on Friday. All of this came on top of the big news from Monday — Southwest Airlines was buying AirTran for $1.4 billion in stock and cash.

Not surprisingly this week’s issue of PBB is very heavy on U.S. domestic airline analysis. Who could be hurt by the Southwest news? Who could be helped? We go down all the scenarios.

And no, unlike a lot of industry observers and at least one analyst, I don’t think Delta Air Lines is going to take a huge hit as a result of the move by Southwest into Atlanta. More on why I think that is the case in this week’s issue.

Continental reported its traffic and RASM estimates after the close of trading Friday. The airline’s RASM estimate for September came in much higher than analysts had forecast. Will United’s follow suit? Yes, this marked Continental’s final traffic report as a swinging single.

The feeling before this announcement was that the U.S. domestic industry has experienced a drop-off in revenue during September. But now we know that at least one airline didn’t see a drop-off.

Thursday marked the end of the third quarter. And wow — was it a great one for the airline sector. So great in fact that we even had one airline stock post a triple-digit gain for the quarter. A gold star if you can guess what stock I am talking about.

But even without that stellar performance (which was, arguably merger-driven), the rest of the group enjoyed an extremely strong quarter. We run down the winners and the handful of losers.

For that matter, last week was a good week for the sector as well — as the Southwest/AirTran merger moved stocks higher. Especially shares of AirTran, which took the weekly honors for the group.

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

Subscribers can access this week’s issue of PBB here.

It’s Official: United Airlines (Under New Management) Takes to the Skies

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When someone you know who works at Continental Airlines sends you an email and his email address has suddenly changed to John Smith@united.com.

Yep. The deal is done. Today United and Continental officially became one entity, the largest airline in the world, with both airlines operating under the umbrella of parent United Continental Holdings, Inc. Shares of the new company also began trading this morning under United’s old ticker on the NYSE, UAL.

(I for one am very glad to see the airline stop trading on the Nasdaq exchange under that annoying UAUA ticker.)

Which reminds me. I need to go in and reconfigure our airline stock ticker widget over there to the right.

Pardon me while I go try to remember how to do this.