Tag Archives: unions

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello everyone.

For those of you who are subscribers and print out PBB, I warn you — this one is probably going to be more than 150 pages. Yes, it is a return of the “Killer Earnings Issue.” (Insert screams here.)

This week we’re looking at the recent earnings calls of Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, US Airways, and JetBlue Airways. Only one of the four made a profit. Do you know which one?

The laggard in the bunch was definitely United Airlines. The airline’s 1Q revenues clearly showed the effect of the airline’s SHARES cutover. The problem? The airline still has a number of cutover issues that have yet to be resolved — and these issues directly affect the ability of the airline to capture additional revenue and/or they concern upgrades.

Between all this and the usual problems that any merger comes with — this year is looking more and more like a transitional year for United.

Delta AIr Lines, on the other hand, produced excellent revenue during the quarter, as did US Airways and JetBlue.

As we also note in our comments about US Airways’ results, the airline continues to be a great poster child for our “Just Say No to Fuel Hedging” campaign.

The airline posted a relatively small loss for the quarter — with no fuel hedges in place.

This week, Delta Air Lines announced that yes, it is going to purchase an oil refinery. When you stop snickering, I’ll tell you why I like the move.

Hawaiian Airlines‘ shares had a nice gain last week — the result of better than expected earnings results and strong guidance. Meanwhile. shares of US Airways picked up even more ground last week. For the year, our favorite trading stock (per our comments in January) has picked up more than 103%.

Of course no issue of PBB would be complete now without the latest addition of the AMR Bankruptcy Follies. This week we talk a little about Harvey Miller — the ex-Lorenzo attorney who is AMR’s lead restructuring counsel. We also tell you how much he is charging AMR by the hour. After you recover from that nugget, you can read our take on the airline’s attempt to negate the significance of the airline’s three unions and their signed term sheets with US Airways, and we talk about some of the comments that came out of last week’s court testimony.

Yes, apparently AMR did have another strategy besides the ‘Cornerstone Strategy.” It was the “Limp-Along” or “Kick the Can” strategy.

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

American Airlines Bankruptcy Proceeding Begins


It’s a packed house in Manhattan this morning as U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane opens up the airline’s Section 1113c hearing.

Apparently the crowd is so large, they have opened up two “overflow” rooms.

I am not in New York. I am in the lovely confines of Slidell, LA, just outside of New Orleans, where my Dad is now in the hospital, awaiting transfer into a physical rehabilitation program, after suffering three falls in one week.

But fear not.

The intrepid Terry Maxon, reporter for the Dallas Morning News is on the ground there, as is Scott Mayerowitz with the Associated Press.

Scott is the more prolific tweeter of the two. Terry — he’s still getting used to the Tweetie thing.

Scott can be followed at @globetrotScott

But I would strongly recommend you follow Terry’s blog posts. You can find them here.

We also have a couple of folks on the scene (our stellar cast of PlaneBusiness undercover correspondents) and if we hear any particular tidbits of note, we will tweet them. If you don’t follow us on the Tweetie yet, our account is @planebusiness.

Speaking of, what do you think Captain Dave Bates, president of the Allied Pilots Association, thought, when he realized Terry was on the same plane to New York as he was on Sunday?


You can read Terry’s comments about their short “leaving the aircraft” interview here.

Good read. I continue to be impressed with Dave Bates and the way in which the APA has handled themselves over the last few weeks. No histrionics. No union/management posturing. No “looking toward the past.” Just a very methodical and business-like way of approaching the options in front of them.

What a refreshing and, I would add, much needed change.

Captain Bates and I spent some time together when we were both at the recent Phoenix Sky Harbor Airline Symposium . I came away impressed with his take on the situation then. I remain impressed.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello earthlings. I would say good morning, but I’m not ready to concede that fact yet.

This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. This week we’re talking about airlines that are bankrupt, airlines that want to merge with airlines that are bankrupt, airlines that are trying to figure out how to merge with their partners who used to be bankrupt, and then there is the airline that wants to buy a refinery and produce its own jet fuel.

Never a dull moment in this industry.

This week we take a break from our American Airlines’ Bankruptcy Follies as we give you instead a summary from a panel discussion we participated in on Monday. The subject? “The Future of American Airlines.”

PBB subscribers are pretty familiar with most of what was discussed, which is more than I think was the case for most of the folks assembled at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth.

Stand alone? Go belly up? Enter into a merger with another airline? Stand on the sidelines while their last chance at a major airline merger is snatched out from under their nose?

Trust me — there are a lot of scenarios here.

Twelve months out, those of us who participated on the panel will be able to see if our suggested thesis for the business case study –“Missed Opportunities” is still the case. Or if the long-term trend changes.

In other news, we talked to the folks at United Airlines last week about their continued cutover hangover. There does seem to be progress being made — and we’ll talk about that. We also talked to them about why the cutover had to be done on March 3 — and not after the new SHARES GUI was completed in nine months. We also ask the question that we were pushed to ask by subscribers — namely — was the airline motivated to do the cutover because there were management incentive payments in play?

We got answers to most of our questions. By next week, hopefully we’ll have the rest.

Meanwhile, down in Houston, Southwest Airlines wants to start flying internationally out of Hobby Airport. Needless to say, United, which is in the middle of a $700 million international terminal upgrade at IAH is not too happy about this idea. But it sounds like Houston is very happy about the thought of increased service, more money, and more jobs.

Let the fight begin.

Airline stocks had a pretty benign week last week — with one glaring exception. That of course was Pinnacle. Shares of the airline sank 60% after the airline filed for Chapter 11 protection.

And of course, we preview first quarter results, as they are just around the quarter. Long and short — we will have more airlines lose money for the quarter than post a profit.

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

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello all. It’s that time again. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. Yes, this is the pre-earnings issue. Before the madness begins later today as Hawaiian Airlines starts off the third quarter earnings parade with its earnings release. By the time the week is over, we will have heard from all the major U.S. domestic players.

It’s going to be a strong quarter for the industry. We could even see some record profits posted by a number of denizens. And, yes, for the first time in two years, American Airlines will, finally, post a quarterly profit, although most analysts don’t expect the profit to be much more than $110 million.

On the other side of the cha-ching-o-meter Delta Air Lines is forecast to post the largest profit for the major airline group, as it should post a profit in excess of $730 million dollars for the quarter. Not bad. Not bad at all.

But before all those big numbers start to roll in later this week, we are talking this week about the recent ALPA national election of officers. To say that the largest pilot union in the U.S. just made a rather notable change in its leadership would be an understatement. We talk this week about why I like the fact that Lee Moak is the organization’s new President and why his outlook and approach to labor/management negotiations is so different from what we have seen historically from other labor leaders, not just at ALPA.

And yes, we think this is a good thing.

For those of you who are not familiar with Lee, you can catch a public posting of a PBB Lounge Lizard interview we did with him last January over on our Planebusiness.com site.

The DOT issued its latest Airline Consumer Travel Report numbers last week. Which airlines performed well and which ones didn’t? We talk about all that, and we take another look at the number of reported tarmac delays and cancellations. Is there a discernible trend here or not? It depends on how you interpret the numbers.

We also talk about the situation in France this week. To put it simply, if you don’t have to fly there, don’t. Why? Unhappy French workers. Everywhere. Including airports and air traffic control towers.

We had two new airline marketing campaigns hit the airwaves last week. What do we think of those? We’ll let you know.

Lots of mail in this week’s email bag too.

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