3 Links I Love: Buffet Invests, Norwegian Can’t Take the Heat, The Greatest Anthem Belongs to the FAA

LAS - Las Vegas, Links I Love, Norwegian

This week’s featured link:
Warren Buffett Is Betting the Airline Oligopoly Is Here to StayHarvard Business Review
The man who for years publicly cursed the airline industry as not worth investing in has now done an about face. Warren Buffet’s company has recently put a lot of money into every big airline in the US, and that adds another layer of confidence in the long term sustainability of success here. Here’s a guess from HBR as to why he changed his mind.

Links I Love

Two for the road:
Norwegian Air suspending four Las Vegas routes because it’s just too hotLas Vegas Review-Journal
Airplanes packed with seats + heat + long distances = weight restrictions. Apparently this is news to Norwegian. The airline can’t fly to Vegas in the summer anymore, because it can’t take off with enough of a load when it gets too hot (which is often). Seems like there’s a solution here. Leave at night.

There’s Only One Government Agency With Its Own Special AnthemAtlas Obscura
Did you know the FAA had its own anthem? I doubt it, but if you did, did you know it was written by a guy who worked there and used to dress up as Elvis? This is pure gold. Definitely watch the video as well. (via reddit)

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16 comments on “3 Links I Love: Buffet Invests, Norwegian Can’t Take the Heat, The Greatest Anthem Belongs to the FAA

  1. the FAA anthem put a little smile on my face this a.m. yes, I do now know why they are the people of the FAA.
    Thanks for sharing. :-)

    The Buffet article was particularly interesting to see the stakes that are held by institutional investors in the big 4 US airlines presented side by side. There is some very interesting commentary that could be made about the stakes held by each of the institutional investors as well as the overall theme that the industry is heavily controlled by a handful of companies – but that is probably true for most industries. Pension and retirement funds are the backbone of savings and investment in the US.

    great week of discussion….thanks for the perspective you bring to the industry

  2. I love this comment from Norwegian: “It’s unfortunate with what’s happening in Las Vegas because the routes are doing well.” It makes it sound like he expects the airport authority to just lower the temperatures or something.

  3. The Norwegian situation made me laugh. Every once in a while you really get the impression that their management isn’t quite on top of what they’re doing. Would you seriously start a route that you intend to be year-round without checking the summer weather in a city that’s in the middle of a bloody desert? It also raises the question of how rubbish their yields must be if they’re not just consider blocking out some seats in the middle of the summer.

  4. The FAA chorus singing the bond drive song brought a smile to my face. Is there a video of their actual theme song available? Or did I miss it somewhere in the article? Thanks Brett!

  5. The Norwegian article reminds me of when American Airlines got their 747-100s back in the early 70s and started service to Phoenix (from, I think, Chicago). They even built Phoenix’s first jetway (Terminal 2, Gate 1) for it. Then the summer came and they discovered that they couldn’t fly a paying load out in the summer.

  6. Leaving at night will not help…temperature in the southwest desert (NV and AZ) does not go down

    below mid 90’s in the months of late June, July, August, September…

    1. Tcbmd – The temperature goes lower than that if you go late enough into the night, but it doesn’t matter. The article notes that 104 degrees is the magic number.

      1. 104F isn’t magic 40C is magic (104F=40C) . thats way to much for Europeans … anything above 40 sounds like death sentence :)

  7. Hello,

    This story about Norwegian pulling out of Las Vegas doesn’t seem to add up. Surely with 90% load factors, they would keep running the Las Vegas flights during these Winter months in which temperature will not be a factor? Stopping right now makes no sense. By the time we get to next summer, they can change schedules to arrive/take off during cooler times of the night or day. Alternatively, if their engines are currently outfitted with thrust limiting (cost saving) chips, it would not take long to upgrade those to new ones that allow the engines to produce much more thrust, thus being able to handle more weight at takeoff. Here, “Jetstar” Airlines (subsidiary of Qantas) had to do that very sort of upgrade when they started flying 787’s from Australia to Hawaii rather than just on shorter regional & domestic routes.

  8. I had a quick but unsuccessful look on the internet hoping to see something more about the quick & easy computer chip thrust upgrade thing, but did not immediately find anything. I did see these differing thrust items, which raises the question about what kind of engines is Norweigian running?

    “GE’s original engines maxed out at 72,300 lbf., while RR engines now go all the way up to 78,129 lbf. This is a significant difference, especially in hot/high/shorter runway conditions.”

    “GE does have newer higher-thrust models of the GEnx certified, including the:
    GEnx-1B74 at 76,704 lbs thrust,
    GEnx-1B75 at 77,604 lbs thrust,
    GEnx-1B78 at 80,392 lbs thrust (for the 787-9, 787-10”)

    I really wonder what engines Norweigian are running, and if that is the source of their problem as much as weight from the extremely high density seating.

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