Archive: July, 2010
More airlines are reporting excellent second-quarter results today. Continental earned $233 million on a big jump in revenue, a complete reversal from last year. JetBlue Airways said it had a profit of $30 million in the quarter. AirTran Airways' profits suffered, however, because of bad bets on fuel costs.,
The story of a United Airlines flight that ran into severe turbulence over Missouri on Monday night, resulting in injuries to 21 people, has been widely covered by the media. The followup reporting is just as important, reminding travelers that there are good reasons to stay seated when the fasten seatbelts sign is on, and to strap down whenever you're seated. Several times over the last year or so I've posted reports of similar midair incidents caused by turbulence in which passengers were injured. Here's a good story, with a repeat of that admonition to buckle up, from USA Today.
Please note I put "study" in quotes, because this is a story about what the Department of Transportation has to say about a study of one month's statistics of the effect of the new tarmac-delay rules. DOT fired back after two consultants concluded that airlines canceled far more flights in May than they did in May 2009 because of the new rules, which call for heavy fines if a plane is stranded on an airport ramp for more than three hours. This was just the kind of unintended consequence critics of the new regulations (i.e. airlines) warned us about -- it it's true, of course.
But DOT retorted with a statement, pointing out that one month's record for flight cancellations is not a good measure of the effect of the rules on airline operations. The consultants may be right, but they can't prove it -- yet. Wait for the end of the summer, and into the fall, and a serious analysis can be done. Read more about this here.
Today's airline industry second-quarter earnings reports start with US Airways, which had its second-highest quarterly profit since 2005, and American, which lost just a little, a big improvement compared with a year ago. Here is the preview of the industy's earnings season from today's Inquirer. Staffer Linda Loyd's story on US Airways is here. It includes mentions toward the end of earnings of AMR Corp. and AirTran's parent AirTran Holdings.
In the first full story on the wires, here's a report on how AMR, American's parent., narrowed its loss.
Here is another story from late last week that is likely to influence the cost of trans-Atlantic air travel. The European Union, after a long study period, approved the partnership of American Airlines and British Airways, allowing them to set schedules and fares jointly and share revenue -- a good thing for their bottom lines, perhaps a helpful thing for frequent long-haul travelers, and an uncertain thing for the prices the rest of us will pay as long as airlines in this and other alliances with antitrust immunity exist. Read more from a British publication about the "tie-up."
UPDATE: The U.S. Department of Transportation approved the partnership on Tuesday. Here's that story.
This is an important news story from last week, when I was on vacation. Congress and its Government Accountability Office are taking a close look at how fees charged by airlines are a serious source of customers' complaints. Read on here ...
In the airline business, what the economy taketh away, management decisions made during the recession and the ever-present need to travel, giveth back. We're seeing that in heaps in the U.S. airlines' second-quarter earnings reports, which began this week and will proceed through next week.
Delta was the first major carrier to report a hefty profit, a much-needed turnaround from a year ago. United followed this morning, reporting its best quarterly profit in three years. Airline consultant Bob Herbst of www.AirlineFinancials.com, estimates that when all reports are in for the nine largest U.S. carriers, their 2Q profits will be about $1.77 billion. Yes that's billion with a B. US Airways reports Wednesday and Southwest next week.
In another development, United and Continental said their pilots reached a transition agreement for the planned merger of the two carriers.
Posting on the Winging It blog resumes today after a week off. First up, today's column that appeared in print this morning looks at a topic that's fascinated me for years: How should business travelers (and vacationers, too) behave in other countries if they want to go beyond being simply observers? Start with knowing basics of etiquette and cultural habits of the country or countries where you're doing business, as explained by the Philadelphia-area authors of the leading guide on the topic. Read the full column here.