Monthly Archives: October 2007

US Government to British Airways: Don’t Be So Quick to Launch New Airline

You may remember that British Airways has announced its intentions to launch a new airline that would fly from continental Europe to JFK.  Well…not so fast.  With the FAA trying to reduce congestion at JFK, they plan to ask foreign carriers to alter schedules to alleviate the late-afternoon rush at the airport.  This move would certainly hamper BA’s plans to add many additional flights to the airport.  Newark isn’t in good shape either, so this could spell the beginning of the end for the unlaunched airline.

Mesa to Pay $80 Million to Hawaiian Airlines

A judge has ordered Mesa to pay $80 million to Hawaiian Airlines after finding that Mesa engaged in unfair competition with the island carrier.  In short, it was alleged that Mesa feigned interest in the then-bankrupt carrier to gain information that they then used to launch their own intra-island airline (Go!).  Mesa, which has placed their CFO on administrative leave because of the case, says they will appeal.

Singapore Airlines: Please Don’t Have Sex in Our Beds…and the 2000th Post!

First off, this is the OTR’s 2,000th post, which seems crazy to me.  Think of everything else I could’ve been doing over the past few years.  Sheesh.

Singapore Airlines has gently suggested that passengers who have booked their first class suites (that include a double bed) on their A380s not have sex in the bed.  Says a spokesperson, "if couples engage in inappropriate activities we will kindly request them to stop.  There are acceptable and unacceptable things in an airplane."  I’d hate to be the person who has to ask them to stop.

Air China: Fish Farmers

An odd little tidbit from this month’s ATW Magazine (sorry, no link).  The article is all about the new head of the airline, but almost as an aside it mentions that back in 2000 Air China had more than 100 subsidiaries.  Those associated companies included a carpet factory and a fish farm. 

(Similarly, in a very past life, I worked on the merger of Dow Chemical and Union Carbide (me? huh?), and some of the Carbide old-timers told us about how the company owned a fleet of shrimp boats in Malaysia for a short while because someone in Malaysia did not have the cash to pay them.  In lieu of cash, they paid Carbide with a fleet of shrimp boats.)

25,000 Continental OnePass Miles Equals 3 Free Southwest Flights

(Thanks to Upgrade Travel Better for this:)

You can read the original post for the details, but basically you can now convert 25,000 Continental OnePass miles (which is worth 1 r/t domestic flight on Continental) into 3 free flights on Southwest by converting the miles into Choice Hotel points (and then moving them around from there).  You can also transfer the OnePass miles into American and a number of other airlines using the same technique.  As I said, see the post for the details.

SAS to Pull Q400s from Service Permanently

After a series of crash landings (without major injuries), SAS has decided to remove their 27 Q400s from service permanently, an unprecedented move (as far as I know).  The decision came after SAS suffered its 3rd crash landing involving Q400s in a month.  The Q400 has been hailed as a quiet prop plane with great economics.  It’s seen far more success overseas than in the US, where Americans are prop-adverse. 

SAS has had to cancel more than 50 flights because of the decision.

US Airways: Our Philadelphia International Flights Were “Very Bad”

It’s rare to hear airline execs (or executives anywhere, really) talk openly about problems they’re experiencing, which is why this is rather refreshing:  A US Airways president said that the operation of their international flights from Philadelphia have been "very bad" because of congestion at the airport’s gates.  Sure, he was saying it because the airline is annoyed at airport officials for not helping them expand their (profitable) international operations there, but still – rare to hear someone say that they provided terrible service.  On the plus side, US Airways had a great quarter.

EasyJet to Purchase GB Airways

Not much to write about today, so I’ll pass on something you won’t care about:  EasyJet is purchasing former British Airways partner GB Airways.  The small carrier primarily flies to leisure destinations in Europe and North Africa, and EasyJet will use the purchase to strengthen their holiday flights out of Gatwick (the purchase does not include GB’s slots at Heathrow).  Imagine JetBlue buying Comair and you’ll get the point.

Pilot Quits Job Because He Hates Going Through Security

A pilot with the Norwegian airline Wider√łe has quit because he said he was tired of the "security madness" in the airports.  Pilots on the short hops flown by the airline may pass through security 10 times a day.  A different pilot for the carrier caused a flight delay last week when he refused to take off his shoes when he passed through security, shouting, "I’m not a terrorist." (or likely however you’d say that in Norwegian.)  In any case, the pilot who quit said he took an early retirement because he couldn’t deal with the crazy security situation in airports and he preferred not to work than to endure it any longer.  Well done.

JetBlue to Drop 2 Cities

After posting a surprisingly nice profit last quarter, JetBlue announced that it was dropping all flights to Columbus and Nashville.  The airline said that its loads on the flights were OK (if slightly below average) but that the yields (average fares) weren’t acceptable.  JetBlue has dropped cities before (Atlanta very early on, and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), but has recently been on an expansion streak (though one that has slowed in the past few months).  It bodes will for the airline that they’re looking to maximize profits from each flight, rather than just sticking with what they’ve always done – that strategy, which was employed by virtually every airline in the 1990s and early 2000s, doesn’t work anymore.  It’s a good sign that they’re thinking about optimizing their assets (or, in English, making themselves profitable).