Cranky on the Web (June 14-18)

American, BNET, Continental, ExpressJet, Labor Relations, Mergers/Finance, Spirit, United

ExpressJet’s New CEO Targets Costs to Fix the Airline. DuhBNET
ExpressJet’s new CEO is trying to make his mark by focusing on costs. Shouldn’t this have been the case all along?

Spirit’s Pilot Strike: Management Is Winning the PR BattleBNET
Regardless of how the strike is going, management is easily winning the PR battle, even though they probably shouldn’t be.

Continental and United: This “Merger of Equals” Isn’t a Great PlanBNET
They keep talking about a merger of equals, but I’m not a fan of that plan. There are better ways to do this.

When Airports Should Subsidize AirlinesBNET
Usually, airport subsidies fail miserably in attracting sustainable airline service, but every so often, they work.

Good Move: American Protects Its Elite Members From the Unwashed MassesBNET
American rolls out “Your Choice” and it’s not a bad way to approach a la carte pricing.

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3 comments on “Cranky on the Web (June 14-18)

  1. Airport subsidies are one of the most egregiously poor attempts by regional governments (counties and cities) to stimulate non-existent traffic. At the end of the day air travel is a business that responds mostly to things outside of its own control; the popularity of tourist destinations, the movement of business travelers, where new industries are popping up.

    On the flip side it is also another reason why airport “costs” are also irrelevant. Your harping on LAX for building an ostentatious new terminal is irrelevant; as the largest O&D airport in America, the airport could ask airlines to perform loop de loops before landing and they probably would. No amount of snarky ad’s by SFO will change that fact, nor the fact that LA is the hub of industries that fill up airplanes. The additional costs may frighten off some additional frequency, or the odd long-haul low cost airline, buts doubtful it’ll have a serious impact on LAX’s position as an airport. Hell, the fact that’ll ake LAX livable will probably boost things.

    1. I think it’s a mistake to call airport costs irrelevant. Will Qantas or Air NZ leave LAX for SFO? Of course not. But as you say, it might push off additional frequency. It becomes even more of an issue for domestic airlines. For example, Southwest seems to come in and out of LAX-Baltimore seasonally. If the costs rise enough for them, they’ll just slash the marginal flights and make people take connections to get there. That’s just one example and there are others that can feel the pain as well. Even in the international arena. Look at Mexicana, which has a huge presence. Maybe those flights can’t be supported with higher costs so they disappear.

  2. Re: “Merger of Equals” I’m glad somebody in the media pointed out how STUPID the photoshopped livery looks. I don’t think your usual stick figures would hold a model of such a crappy looking airplane! So when they dump that paint scheme in 2 years or so, how many different paint jobs will United have? At Dulles it’s like looking at the row of cars in the back yard on blocks with different colored corner panels. I realize this isn’t a financial indicator of an airline, but it goes to show how little focus there can be on product and image and marketing sometimes. What I really want to know is what graphic designer….errrr…. almost computer savvy 8 year old swindled United and Continental into paying for that paint scheme!

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