Reviewing Your 2018 Predictions and Making Your 2019 Picks

It’s the end of the year, and you know what that means. It’s time to look back at your predictions for 2018 as well as make you picks for what you think will happen in 2019.

The 2017 review saw almost 100 comments, and it has been quite the pain to try to organize all of these. So for this year’s picks, things are changing. I will only include one pick from each commenter in the year-end review. You can write down as many as you want, but only the first one you write will be included in the wrap-up.

Now, let’s get on with a review of your 2018 picks. I had to cut this down or it would be overwhelming to read, so if your pick didn’t make the final cut, my apologies.


The Future of the A380

  • Jonas – Airbus will get orders for the A380.
  • SDFDuck – The A380 program is shut down after it fails to get a significant new order
  • Jinxed_K – Emirates doesn’t order additional A380s, Airbus announces to cease production
  • Tobin Sparfeld – The A380 program officially dies.
  • Joe P – Emirates will keep trying to “resuscitate” the A380 program, which Airbus will say no to.
  • Jonathan – Airbus dangles the A380plus to Emirates to try and get one last A380 order. It doesn’t work. A380 closure is announced and Airbus takes a billion-euro writeoff to cut their losses.
  • Nadav – With no order from Emirates in sight, Airbus will begin to wind down the A380 program. Maybe Willie Walsh will score a cheap end-of-the-line order for BA in the process.
  • Justin – Airbus announces the end of the a380.
  • johosofat – At least one more A380 order will come to fruition, but no airlines order the 748i.

Wow, did a lot of you chime in on the future of the A380 or what? For the first time in years, the A380 actually booked a serious order with 20 from Emirates plus options on 16 more. But that deal has been in trouble since Rolls Royce can’t get its act together enough to deliver on engine improvements that Emirates wants. The program isn’t dead, but it sure remains on life support.


Joon’s Fate

  • Jonas – The rooftop-bar-that-also-flies-a little (“Joon”) won’t see the year 2019 and will die a slow death in 2018. The PR for that will not be as fantastic as the PR for its introduction.
  • cbw – Joon survives, but only because it morphs into an AF regional carrier. Despite the fact that we can all see what’s really happening, AF touts its success as a new business model and at least one stupid airline tries to replicate said “success” with horrible results.
  • Nadav – Joon will fail to raise yields meaningfully, and its planes will quietly fold back into Air France with every paint shop visit
  • Miles – Joon dies, LEVEL flourishes

Call this a work in progress. Joon isn’t dead, but the new CEO of Air France/KLM doesn’t seem to be a fan. With any luck, this prediction may have just been a little too early.


Boeing and Embraer

  • Noah – Boeing buys into the E2 program allowing delta to take C-series without tariffs
  • Matt D – The C Series/Airbus/Boeing/E-Jet drama is going to get really, really interesting. Boeing will finally wake up and start kicking themselves for having abandoned that market (100-149 seats) and because this is a RE-active (NEVER PRO-active) industry, Boeing will try and buy its way in with EMBRAER. I’ve seen some rumblings that this may already be in motion.
  • Mostly Air – Boeing will buy into Embraer’s E190/E170 program and push it more heavily in Europe while looking to build a larger variant to compete in the US market.
  • cbw – Boeing goes through with its plan to buy a stake in Embraer (probably >50%), talks about setting up a US factory for them (but probably doesn’t), and aggressively markets the E-2 worldwide with marginally positive results.
  • Doug Swalen – Boeing and Embraer will fail at merger/acquisition talks leaving Boeing twisting in the wind with no short term answer to Airbus/Bombardier.
  • Jonathan – There are too many complications in the way of a Boeing-Embraer merger, so that won’t happen. What is much more likely is some sort of joint venture/alliance: combined sales/marketing, support, sub-contracting, etcetera. Boeing and Embraer announce something along those lines in 2018.

It’s been a rocky road, but Boeing’s plan to get together with Embraer for commercial aircraft purposes seems to be back on track. Of course, this comes after Boeing’s tantrum about CSeries subsidies pushed that program into the arms of its competitor. Brilliant plan, Boeing. Speaking of that…


The CSeries

  • Harvey – Bombardier will gain at least one large(ish) order (at least 30 aircraft) for the CSeries from a new customer, but not from North America.
  • Tobin Sparfeld – Bombardier CSeries receives a ton of new orders, somewhere between 50-100 this year. Meanwhile the MRJ program loses orders and lies teetering on its last legs.
  • Carson Schraer – C-Series gets around Boeing and takes off as an “American Made” plane. They receive orders from B6, UA, and smaller orders from smaller airlines like Aeromexico that want an extremely profitable regional plane.
  • Claude B – With the renown of Airbus, The C Series will be a first class hit in world aviation in that class.
  • Ben H – DL takes delivery of the Bombardier CS100 after USA reduces or eliminates CSeries tarriffs and dutes.
  • KipPate – US government keeps tariff on CSeries
  • MikeK – CSeries tariffs remain, even for planes made in Alabama, resulting in Delta pulling out and buying an bunch of Embraers
  • Mike K – JetBlue announces a 3rd aircraft type will enter the fleet, either going bigger, with a handful of cheap A330ceos to explore the transatlantic market or with CS100 to replace E190s (“proudly all Airbus”?)

Some of these predictions were too bullish, but the CSeries, now awkwardly named the Airbus A220 is in a much stronger position. The JetBlue order came to fruition, as did a commitment from David Neeleman’s start-up, tentatively-named Moxy.


JetBlue Over the Pond

  • Noah – Jetblue announces a321LR and with it announces BOS-DUB
  • FC – B6 announces jumping into Europe with A321LR and starts BOS/NYC-DUB/LON with mint fare of $1000 O/W causing premium fares to collapse after its entry in 2019
  • Jake – B6 will start trans-atlantic flights, starting from BOS and eventually JFK, we will see a build up of service from BOS is gate space frees up.
  • Zack Rules – JetBlue announces A321neoLR order with plans for LHR flights using AA-BA slots from both Boston and JFK, even doing DFW-BOS-LHR and FLL-JFK-LHR to snag additional slots.
  • GM – JetBlue will announce expansion plans to Europe with the A321, but it will not be the large markets (LHR, DUB, CDG) that many are predicting. The first Europe expansion will be secondary markets such as Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, etc.
  • CraigTPA – JetBlue will also announce a new fleet strategy, converting some existing A320neo to A321LR. Initial destinations will be a mix of Latin American destinations the existing fleet can’t reach and two or three smaller UK cities (Birmingham, either Cardiff or Bristol, maybe one Iberian city.) They’ll also announce C-series order, initially for the West Coast but eventually to replace the E190, and cancel the existing E190 orders, taking a loss if necessary. Finally, they’ll kick the tires on a widebody (probably the A330), which will lead to much wild speculation but no firm order.
  • Michael – JetBlue announces TATL route(s) from BOS set to to start in late 2018 but doesn’t actually start until 2019.
  • JeremyF – B6 announces new 2019 routes to Europe using converted A321LR orders. There are rumors that UA DL or AA will take on A321LRs to go after transatlantic LCCs. Boeing rushes to introduce 797 in response, but at least 1 of the 3 will make a small order or conversion before Boeing can do so.

Oooh boy, did a lot of you think JetBlue was going to start flying to Europe, or at least announce its plans. JetBlue sure has talked about the possibility a lot. A LOT. But there’s nothing concrete to speak of yet.


Oil Prices

  • Kilroy – The price of oil may increase a little in 2018, but will largely be a non-issue.
  • cbw – With oil prices staying relatively low, the US big 3 get more adventurous with long thin routes (AA or UA ORD to WAW?, AA DFW to DEL?, etc) only to have it bite them before year’s end when oil starts to go back up significantly.
  • Austin787 – Higher oil prices force airlines to drop routes

On this one, cbw had it right. American didn’t announce DFW to Delhi, but you do see a lot of longer, thinner routes coming online that probably don’t work when oil prices are high (and when the economy goes down). Oil did go up this year, but then it came down, way down.


Basic Economy Grows

  • Kilroy – Media & FF outrage aside, some form of “basic economy” will be increasingly accepted by the traveling public and offered by most major airlines… This will be especially true for basic economy forms like those on Delta, where a rollerboard is included free but seating is not assigned until check in. That said, I’m definitely not predicting the Delta’s pax-friendly type of basic economy will become the de facto standard.
  • MeanMeosh – UA and AA copy DL’s experiment of replacing F/J with Premium Economy on thinner TATL routes, and introduce hand baggage-only Basic Economy fares on all routes. The resulting price competition forces one of the ULCCs (most likely Norwegian) to begin pulling back, but nobody goes belly up just yet.
  • southbayflier – UA and AA will try to introduce Basic Economy on European routes and realize that they will need to allow passengers to bring a carry on bag as you can’t ban a carry on and charge $60 for the first checked bag which makes the fare essentially worthless.
  • Jeremy F – Having familiarized most consumers with the ins and outs of basic economy, DL AA and UA rollout basic economy systemwide with no exceptions. It helps to boost metrics slightly, but still leaves the Big 3 struggling to compete with ULCC in certain markets.
  • Austin787 – United, American, Delta expand basic economy fares to all Trans Atlantic routes as a reaction to the ULCC

All of you who guessed Basic Economy would continue to expand, take a bow. It did, and it’s only likely to spread further. At least American had a change of heart and started allowing carry-ons back into the BE cabin. And not even United is blocking carry-ons from Transatlantic fares. So that’s something.


Iceland Expansion (or Contraction)

  • Richard – The Icelandic carriers experience over expansion and their “honeymoon” phase begins to end
  • Miles – WOW Air grows considerably and finally gets their act together to connect passengers more efficiently. Also adds Salt Lake City as a new destination.

Iceland has seen its fair share of madness this year, but Miles, well, it kind of went the other way. WOW didn’t figure anything out and is now teetering on the brink. Icelandair has been feeling the pain of that competition as well. 2019 should be interesting.


Boeing’s Middle of the Market Aircraft

  • Richard – Boeing announces a 757 replacement for its MoM program, named the 797, which will be used on transcontinental and transoceanic routes
  • Harvey- Boeing will make a move on announcing the 797 MOM aircraft, maybe in time for the Farnborough air show
  • Matt D – The Boeing 797 is formally announced. It will, depending on how you look at it, be either a 787 shrink. Or a rehash of the old A310.
  • Tobin Sparfeld – Boeing comes out with a 797 MOM concept. To undercut it, Airbus announces an A322 XLR with a longer fuselage and new wings.
  • Jake – Boeing comes out with a replacement for the 757 (797)
  • Carl Anderson – Boeing offers for sale a MOM aircraft. DL and UA buy it to replace their 767 fleets. Yes, Delta will buy Boeing but UA will be the launch customer.
  • KipPate – Boeing announces the 797 and a restart of the 767-300ER as a filler until the 797 comes out. My guess is that UA will order both as launch carrier with Delta, British Airways and LCC’s around the world order
  • Anthony – Boeing will keep talking about perhaps maybe someday possibly building a new MOM aircraft.
  • MikeK – Boeing announces a MOM 797 with first flight/EIS waaaay in the future as a way to deflect some of A321’s recent wins

You guys really like your aircraft predictions, don’t you? The year has come and gone, and there is no official announcement of the MOM/797 aircraft. It’s kind of like this scene from Austin Powers:

We all know it’s coming, but it’s sure taking a long time.


ULCC Action

  • Matt D – Frontier and Spirit WILL merge. The question is ‘when’, not ‘if’. Maybe this will be the year. If/when that happens, it will spark yet another round of mergers. Sun Country/Allegiant and Alaska-having bit off more than it can chew with Virgin-will come to JetBlue begging for a merger-come to mind. Other possibilities I can see happening would be Southwest/Hawaiian and with a “business friendly” White House, I would not entirely rule out a Delta/United one. Contingent of course on one of the hubs being handed over to Southwest.
  • PF – Apollo Global liquidates Sun Country
  • Itami – Frontier doesn’t file an IPO this year.
  • MichaelinMKE – Sun country and allegiant merge
  • Ted – SAVE buys SY, leave F9 on the sideline.

A lot of you expected a merger, but none occurred. Itami was right that Frontier didn’t file an IPO. It was pretty much a “status quo” kind of year for the ULCCs in the US. Though did anyone pick that Spirit would turn in the best on-time performance in the US one month? Nope. But it happened.


Southwest Model Changes

  • MeanMeosh – 3rd year in a row, so third time has to be the charm. Southwest launches an extra legroom section and buy-on-board food trial coincident with the launching of Hawai’i flights; a schedule is formally announced but flights don’t start until 2019.
  • Ted – LUV charges bag fee.

Looks like this one is going to have to wait another year (or 10). Southwest changed nothing in its model this year. Nor does there appear to be anything on the horizon, except for this…


Southwest Goes to Hawai’i

  • Doug Swalen – Due to the hassles of ETOPS certification, Southwest does not launch Hawaii service but by the end of the year does announce some routes for a 2019 launch. Most likely candidates Oakland, San Diego, and Burbank.
  • ktenorman – WN service to Hawaii in late 2018 will elicit a big response from UA, AS, and HA. Good time to fly to Hawaii.
  • FC – WN entering HI will cause yields crater in the west coast to HI market. Having meaningful effect on UA/HA/AS revenue.
  • Ty – Southwest announces its first Hawaiian routes, including interisland flights. HA responds with a combination of low fares, additional frequencies, new routes to the mainland from smaller Hawaiian airports (OGG/LIH/KOA/ITO) and enhanced codeshare partnerships. Also possible is greater marketing of Icelandair-style stopovers, especially for travel to/from Australia and New Zealand.
  • Anthony – Southwest will announce Hawaii routes.

There was some real misplaced optimism here. Though Southwest still has a few days, it hasn’t announced service yet as it waits for the feds to sign-off. Doug was closest. The airline has announced which cities will get service on both sides of the Pacific, but it hasn’t said which routes specifically will launch. So we wait.


Alaska’s Love Field Antics

  • PF – AS pulls out of DAL consolidating operations at DFW.

Close, but not quite. Alaska did get rid of its eastbound flying from Love, but it has kept its service from the west for now.


American Cuts JFK

  • SDFDuck – AA will continue to move more international routes from JFK to PHL, leading to JFK becoming a “hub” in name only within the network.

Nailed that one. American has continued to move routes from JFK to Philly as the hub dwindles further.


JetBlue’s West Coast Woes

  • Doug Swalen – Jet Blue throws in the towel at Long Beach, thus guaranteeing we get at least one 2018 Crankyflier Long Beach blog post.
  • ktenorman – B6 will try again at OAK after LGB keeps bleeding (one can hope).
  • Carl Anderson – Nothing big with LGB and B6 this year. That may change near the end of 2019 if B6 can get some more gates thanks to the MSC at LAX.
  • Evan – Jetblue starts building a new west coast focus city.

The general expectation seems to have been that JetBlue would make a move to shore up its west coast strategy. It really didn’t. It has shrunk Long Beach and partnered with JetSuiteX, but it has done little else.


Norwegian Marches Toward Failure

  • FC – Norwegian continues to take massive losses on its international businesses and forces to sell more of the Norwegian bank to cover
  • Evan – Norwegian hits the wall and has to start cutting.
  • Smallvoyageur – Norwegian. It would be a mixed bag, they would slow down their TATL expansions in attempted to concentrate on their new Argentine operations. However, while their long-haul services to Europe do well, their short-haul flops against local rival Flybondi. Possible new services to the Spanish and Portuguese islands, e.g. Madeira or Gran Canaria from the US.

So far Norwegian has had a miraculous ability to somehow avoid running into walls. It has cut some flights (especially 737 operations from the Northeast to Europe) and it has shifted airports in others, but the madness continues. Norwegian seems to have survived another year, but I know its failure would be high on my 2019 list, unless someone buys the airline.


Pressure on American

  • Tom – Doug Parker is given the boot at American
  • Joe P – Shareholders will continue to push AA to deliver financial results besides just stock buyback programs, and will continue to expect an answer for how paying employees more money results in better airline performance. Doug P. will have to get creative to find new ways to increase revenue in mature domestic market. This will in turn pressure United to do the same.

Doug Parker still has his job, but there has certainly been pressure from Wall St to do better. Just look at that share price, and you can tell many people aren’t believers. There’s a lot of work to do to get this airline performing better, so American better do some of that work in 2019.


Middle East Shenanigans

  • Nathaniel – Things with Qatar and it’s neighbors don’t get any better causing issues for the airline.
  • Carson Schraer – Etihad and Qatar get into financial trouble, Emirates too but less so as they are a more complete airline.
  • Cody C – Etihad’s balance sheet continues to strain. Aircraft orders are deferred, growth slowed, and another airline from the Etihad Equity Alliance is sold off.

Things most certainly have not gotten better between Qatar and its neighbors, yet somehow (read: massive subsidy) Qatar Airways continues to grow. Etihad is feeling the pain, however, and it has dramatically cut back. Who knew it could show restraint?


Chinese Alliance Jump

  • Zack Rules – China Southern dumps Skyteam for oneworld while Cathay leaves oneworld for Star Alliance.

Indeed, China Southern has left Skyteam, though its entrance into oneworld is not guaranteed. We’ll see if that happens in the next year.


California Pacific

  • Seanny – Long-promised California Pacific Airways in Carlsbad, CA will finally fly, but will fold by December.

Yes, it flew! But no, it didn’t fold. At least not yet. Though maintenance issues have dogged the airline so far, and that does not bode well.


Japan Airlines to Seattle

  • Zhuo – Japan Airlines announces Seattle.

A somewhat narrow prediction, yet a correct one nonetheless. JAL starts flying to Seattle in 2019.


United Premium Economy

  • KipPate – UA rolls out Premium Economy with 787-10 and a plan to roll it out to retrofit 77W and other long haul fleet (hopefully that plan is better than the initial Polaris Roll Out…) Along with that, Polaris is rolled out to the existing 789/788 fleet.
  • Austin787 – United announces Premium Economy

United did roll out premium economy this year, and it’s now for sale on some routes.


Regional Consolidation

  • Stephen – Consolidation of the regional airlines. The big three buying shares and or the entire operation to maintain operational needs. ExpressJet will probably be the first.
  • Justin – At least one US regional folds this year.

Nice work there, Stephen. It’s as if you were in on the planning meetings. As we all know, United just took a stake in ExpressJet, but this didn’t really consolidate anything. There should be more regional consolidation coming, I’d think.


Pittsburgh’s London Return

  • Pilotaaron1 – PIT will finally land the London service they have so badly wanted back since they lost it with the US Airways hub a decade ago.

Another narrow prediction and another winner. BA service starts next year.


Air New Zealand to Chicago

  • BSPN – Air New Zealand will add Auckland to Chicago as a further gateway to the East Coast after the success of the AKL-IAH route

We are on a roll now. Chicago service was announced earlier this year and recently started to take advantage of the southern summer peak.


Virgin Atlantic Joint Venture

  • Andy – Virgin Atlantic will join the existing SkyTeam transatlantic joint venture with KL/AF/AZ, but will not join SkyTeam.

Another one right on the nose. (Well, ok, Alitalia isn’t a part of it right now.) Delta is working to combine its two Transatlantic joint ventures into one.


Flight Attendants Unionize

  • Michael – JetBlue and Delta flight attendants will unionize

I suppose batting .500 isn’t bad. JetBlue flight attendants did indeed join a union. Delta? Not even close.


American’s A350 Fleet

  • Justin – AA cancels a350 order.

It would have been quite the surprise to see this go the other way, but we didn’t know if it would officially happen or not this year. Now we do, and the A350 is off American’s books.


Alitalia

  • Cody C – Alitalia soldiers on, because this airline never dies.
  • Jeremy F – Alitalia reemerges as the (5th? 7th? 12th!?) Alitalia but shrinks its operations. Meridiana tries to fill the gaps but acts too slowly in fear of moving too fast. Delta increases frequencies to Italy to compensate for the loss.

Once again, we’ll close with the worst airline ever. Alitalia will soldier on thanks to a big investment from the Italian rail company. It won’t solve the airline’s problems, however. We’ll just have to wait and see what 2019 will bring.


Remember, you can leave your predictions for 2019 in the comments below. Leave as many as you want, but this year, I will only look at the first one you leave.

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114 Responses to Reviewing Your 2018 Predictions and Making Your 2019 Picks

  1. Michael says:

    WOW will make an appearance in your airline graveyard post in 2019 while Norwegian still manages to stay alive

  2. Richard says:

    My prediction is a year of consolidation. oil will creep up and the economy won’t, putting some carriers in trouble. Norwegian into BA, Flybe will be picked up by Virgin in response but not for any particularly overwhelming business reason. 2 sizeable mergers in the US, and DL/UA/AA will continue to extend their reach into the regionals. 1 large chinese carrier will merge and Etihad will inch closer to Emirates.

  3. jeffcapp says:

    My 2019 prediction. Airlines will change frequent flyer programs to be mainly or even entirely dollar based and not miles based thus giving them better tie into credit cards (spend on CC).

    Upgrades for 1st class seats will become like a Turkish bizarre and less about status.

    Airlines will report record profits due to low oil prices and better efficiency. This will cause some labor issues and possible strikes with airlines that have strong unions.

    Tensions between USA and subsidized foreign carriers will increase.

    We will not see a domestic carrier fly a 767 by year end (sadly).

    ~ Jeffcapp

    • JB14 says:

      @Jeffcapp, DL will fly their 767s for years! And UA seems to keep them going just fine.

      • jeffcapp says:

        I hope you are right JB14. 767 and 777 are great planes from a passenger perspective. I cannot remember last time I was on a domestic 767. Delta does use them from ATL to Europe, but for how much longer? With all the A321s and A350s Delta is getting, the 767 is the one that will be squeezed.

        • Jason H says:

          As DL gets more new 350s and maybe other international aircraft, I feel that the newer 767s will probably shift back to domestic services as more 757s and older 767s retire. They won’t be that long-lasting, a few years at most though.

        • JB14 says:

          @jeffcapp I guess I might have read your post wrong. I thought you meant that a domestic carrier would no longer fly 767s at ALL. I think now in reading it that you meant no 767s on domestic routes. Sadly, you may be correct. But maybe @JasonH is correct in his assumption below. As for the 757, I’ll cry the day I have my last flight on one. I just love that aircraft.

          • jeffcapp says:

            JB14 – I am curious why you like the 757? It is a beautiful aircraft and ahead of its time. It has an impeccable safety record, but when is last time a domestic carrier crashed? (I am flying tomorrow – so those words are daunting). 757 is long and narrow. Boarding process takes a long time. Seats are narrower than any Airbus or 717 or md90. That 1 inch of extra width (insert snarky comment) makes a big difference to my comfort on a cross country flight. I am not a fan of 737 or 757 because of narrow width.

            • JB14 says:

              Jeffcapp, I share your hatred of the 737. Even though the 757 has the same cross section, to me it feels bigger. I don’t know why. The reasons I love it are that it goes like a bat out of hell, the range is amazing, it looks awesome, and most of all, the L2 boarding door! I don’t know why more single aisle planes haven’t been designed to use the L2 door for boarding, it basically splits off the premium cabin from the coach section. Boarding goes quicker since you’re not fighting your way through the drink service in the premium cabin to get to your seat. Arrivals also seem to go easier with that boarding door compared to a 737-7,8,9,10 or A321 where everyone has to go out the front door. I think it’s cool how 767/757 pilots can fly either one, that must have been a strong selling point back in the day.

              I’m excited to see what Boeing proposes for the new MOM/797. Rumors say it will be a twin aisle. I hope it’s 2-3-2 like the 767 (the most comfortable plane, in my opinion), but will any airlines fly it domestically?

        • USBusinessTraveller says:

          United is retrofitting its 767s with Polaris (13 alreeady done. The next wave of 17 will have Polaris and Premium Economy.

          • jeffcapp says:

            usbusinesstraveller – I did not know that. I do not fly on United as they have limited service in South Florida. Thanks for the update.

          • Bobber says:

            Flew Polaris in a UA 764 on New Years Day, and it was lovely. And as for the discussion re: 757 vs 737, I’m totally in the 757 camp – I’ve never flown on a comfortable 737 of any airline, in any class, of any model; the 757, whilst old, is still a wonderful plane – I was sceptical about spending time on it TATL, but find it no more uncomfortable than any other plane on the TATL route.

  4. OuterSpaceGuy says:

    Phoenix’s Mesa-Gateway airport will get more airlines serving it as at least one of the majors (but not American) realizes that only serving one airport for all-of-America’s-5th-largest-city is nuts.

    • Kilroy says:

      The same could be said somewhat for HOU (Houston Hobby), as Houston was the 4th largest metro area in the US last I checked. Outside of WN, it looks like AA, DL, and B6 each only serve 1 or 2 destinations from there, and hubs at that.

      Then again, land is/was (relatively) cheap in many areas west of the Mississippi, so the primary airports in many of the larger metro areas still have plenty of room to expand and grow.

  5. Jake says:

    B6 will finally start trans-atlantic flights, starting from BOS and eventually JFK

    DL will build up BOS as well into a full HUB 150+ departures.

    • Nick says:

      I think B6 only starts TATL flights if Oil stays low. Even if they can fly A321’s from BOS and JFK to DUB/LHR, there are already quite a few flights between those two places, with much of the corporate business locked into contracts. B6 can certainly fill the planes but at what fare? Plus are they going to be able to get slots at LHR and at what cost?

      • Bobber says:

        B6 might consider UK regionals, Nick – Continental tried for a while, but withdrew. Post-Brexit, who knows what incentives the rest of the UK outside of London will put up to keep international investment. I’m thinking JFK to MAN, BHX and BRS as possibles – leisure and business markets are both possible from these locations.

  6. Jason H says:

    2019 prediction: Alaska will join OneWorld as an affiliate member

    I also think that ULH transpacific flights will first increase in popularity but get saturated quickly (especially if fuel prices increase at all again). Thai or Vietnam may try (re)launching flights to North America, and the US3, Singapore, and Air India may try to expand, but most of them won’t stick longer term. This isn’t for specific routes and probably will take place over the next 2-4 years rather than just 2019 though.

  7. flying.high.or.high.flying says:

    AA sinks into further trouble. Southwest benefits. 2020 merger talks

  8. Other Steve says:

    EAS finally dies. Most of the routes operated by mainline reigonals survive, but the rest don’t do so well, and at least one carrier folds as a result (RIP Great Lakes)

  9. Mathew F. says:

    Skyteam will announce a transatlantic flight to CLT, likely AMS on either Delta or KLM. Charlotte has a decent size Dutch business community. AA eventually will shift AMS flight from PHL to match.

    • MDKLEIN says:

      CLT Transatlantic is a good call. Wouldn’t be surprised is it was with VA if the JV goes through.

      • Adeej_in_nz says:

        I think you mean VS (Virgin Atlantic). VA is the IATA code for Virgin Australia, and they certainly wouldn’t be flying trans-Atlantic from CLT. VS are also not currently SkyTeam members.

  10. Simon says:

    BA’s “new” Club World seat turns out to be a near identical copy of Iberia’s.

  11. BNZ says:

    Norwegian into IAG by mid year. Just digging into last numbers reported… I don’t know how could they manage one winter season more…

  12. Andy says:

    After finalizing their investment in WOW, Indigo Partners adds WOW to their Frontier/Volaris codesharing arrangement. Chicago becomes the center of this, thanks to Frontier’s focus city at ORD.

  13. Mike M says:

    In 2019, American will get tired of being pushed around by United. They’ll “subsidize” less profitable flying with lower oil prices and try to take back share they’ve ceded since Kirby signed with United as a free agent, even it it means tossing the capacity plan they’ve given to Wall Street and sparking a (cue dramatic music) price war.

  14. Mike says:

    1- JetBlue announces transatlantic flights, but with a start date well into 2020.

    2-JetSuite X announces a major expansion and begins service on the east coast.

    3-Boeing/Embraer deal still isn’t finalized

  15. USBusinessTraveller says:

    Norwegian either goes bust or gets acquired.

    Doug Parker finally gets the axe at American. AA’s problems have hit the financial results this year and so there’s even more pressure from Wall Street.

    Delta makes its first strategic mistake in ages by investing in Alitalia and/or Jet Airways.

    United joins with Lufthansa in filing for code sharing (and possibly a joint venture) with Etihad.

  16. Anthony says:

    Jet Blue will do something about its West Coast problem… code sharing and frequent-flier reciprocity with Alaska seems like the natural way to go.
    (the obstacle is, B6 needs AS more than AS needs B6, since AS already has its deal with AA). If that does come to pass, look for B6 to start reducing its operations at LGB…

  17. I’m not sure which prediction to put first, but I’ll go with predicting that there will be further regional airline consolidation in the U.S in 2019. The other is that China Southern will eventually announce it’s joining oneworld in some manner during the year. I think (and could be wrong) that both make sense (which is why neither could happen).

  18. MDKLEIN says:

    The Dallas Love Field (DAL) lawsuit finally comes to resolution. No parties are happy with the final result but keep the overall status quo. Av Geeks scratch their heads at the final result. The city of Dallas continues to be inept in managing the airport. Overall on-time performance on arrivals and departures delays continue to lag behind Dallas Fort Worth (DFW).

    Wild Prediction: Delta starts to build Austin to be a focus city when the new nine gates open.

    • Kilroy says:

      AUS as a focus city could be interesting. Definitely a decent business market there, along with a lot of younger people with some disposable income. If fares are right, I could see some leisure travelers from closer to San Antonio being tempted to fly out of AUS instead of SAT.

      For reference, 1.77 million people live within a 60 mile radius of AUS, and double that (3.53 million people) live within an 80 mile radius. Those numbers probably exaggerate the potential catchment area, given traffic and not being able to travel as the crow flies, but still, point made.

      • MDKLEIN says:

        With Delta’s limited Texas presence and Austin still the fastest growing metro area in Texas, it’s only going to become more interesting. Based on their latest Investor Day Call, their target flier is affluent business and young adults willing to pay a fare premium for reliable service and a “travel experience.” I still sum it up to marketing mumbo-jumbo, but if they need a place to expand with the A220’s after replacing some of the 717’s, Austin would be a perfect market.

        • Kilroy says:

          Interesting. While the smart money says it’s mostly marketing hogwash, taken on the surface it sounds like Delta is almost trying to become a slightly more conservative (but still somewhat stylish) and much more reliable version of Virgin America. Has Alaska cut back on AUS much since they gained control of Virgin?

          Those at the San Antonio area military bases may be able to help fill up the cheap seats in the back of the planes if the fares are reasonable.

          Given that DL’s hubs aren’t too close to AUS, I wonder if DL would entertain the idea of trying to time flight banks at a potential AUS focus city to allow for North –> South connections, allowing those in the West/Midwest to get to Mexico & the Caribbean with a stop in AUS.

          Checking for random dates in January, I’m surprised that DL doesn’t appear to run a nonstop from AUS to SJC (or even SFO/OAK) for the tech crowd. Not sure if RDU or PDX would have enough pax volume for DL to justify competing on those routes, but those could be additional interesting thin routes.

          Wonder if a potential AUS focus city might allow for increased frequency (all those 6/7a departures from AUS) to places like BOS, SEA, and even DTW (DL hub aside, it’s the major airport serving Ann Arbor and UMich). For example, DL has departures at 6a and 652p (looking at Monday, Jan 14th here) for AUS-MSP (again, a hub, but also home to some significant DL corporate customers, plus research associated with schools in the area like UMinn), and an additional evening departure on some of those routes would help the appeal to business travelers. Fun to think about.

      • DAB says:

        No… I fly a lot from SAT, and live north of SA. AUS just never makes sense for anyone, except that it used to work for a few dedicated AK folks who used the SEA flight. Fares are generally competitive between SAT and AUS and so the slog up 35 just doesn’t make any sense.

        I love the picture, but I have to wonder how many people younger than my 42 recognize it even vaguely. You have to keep the spirit of Carnac alive.

    • Nick says:

      AUS is almost certainly on DL’s radar. They have a huge Texas sized hole in their route map. And expanding in DFW or IAH is suicidal.

      As long as a year round AMS or CDG flight is on the table, I’d say DL is in a good position to overtake WN as the number 1 carrier at AUS.

    • MeanMeosh says:

      I wouldn’t consider an AUS focus city far fetched, though I do find it puzzling that DL decided to make both DFW and IAH initial focus cities for the A220, rather than AUS. Seems like that would have been a perfect plane to test their new markets. Instead they largely upgauged RJ service in Dallas and Houston.

      • Mike says:

        Those are long routes on RJs where their CASM isn’t that competitive. I can see why those would be the first to go to a 220.

    • Michael C says:

      Not a wild prediction at all. DL is already hinting on building up AUS with a renovated SkyClub and does plan to add more flights when the new gates are finished.

  19. Kilroy says:

    Bowing to competitive pressure from DL and AA, United begins allowing free rollerboard bags on most domestic basic economy tickets.

    • Joey Jaidee says:

      This might be a moot point if they still have to board with group 5 because, on many flights, the OH Bin space is gone or just about gone by then. At least they would have the “luxury” of being able to bring a rollerboard!!!!

  20. Chicago Chris says:

    2019: Indigo links all of its airlines to create a worldwide ULCC alliance

    Bonus predictions:
    -Norwegian continues to stay afloat and independent from IAG, which maintains its shares
    -Sun Country gets acquired (by Alaska?)

  21. MeanMeosh says:

    Wall Street finally forces Doug Parker into exile after AA reports more subpar financial results through 2Q 19.

    (I’m finally giving up on predicting ancillary fee opportunities at Southwest, so just watch them actually roll something out in ’19.)

  22. Zhuo says:

    (Did you count the first one for 2018 as well, Brett? Just wondering)

    2019:

    1. China Southern announces entrance into OneWorld while CX feels being squeezed

    2. One other OneWorld airline announces SEA or LAX, making Alaska more relevant to that alliance thus making its decision in 2019

  23. billyshearer says:

    Norwegian will fail in 2019.
    Flybe (UK airline) will become part of Virgin, with their routes all designed to feed VS and DL.
    Virgin Atlantic will join SkyTeam

  24. Matt D says:

    I’ll at last get an explanation for the latest of silly airline trends, which is painting the airline name on the belly of the plane. Why. Just. Why? In a world where no one ever looks UP anymore (all glued to their phones), who thought this was a good idea and why?

    • Mike says:

      Because it is dirt cheap to stencil a name onto the belly of an airplane compared to other methods of advertising. Even if they catch a few people looking it’s definitely cost effective.

    • Andy says:

      When you hear the roar of a jet engine overhead, you don’t instinctively look up?

  25. FlyByNight says:

    Amazon, which already plans to triple the size of its freighter fleet, will announce, or leak, that it is toying with the idea of some sort of passenger service. Conventional carriers will cry foul, Congress and US regulators will start rustling swords, and at least one airline will examine some sort of joint venture with them. But whether anything actually materializes is a longer term toss-up.

  26. Ken says:

    Boeing will announce the new MOM 797 at the Paris Airshow in 2019. Made with composites and will be a twin aisle to facilitate faster boarding/deplaning with 2-3-2 seating carrying 250 passengers and DougAir (AA) will have their order with 3-3-3 seating, 280 pax, and a hole in the floor with a shower curtain for the bathroom.

  27. Yosef says:

    An Argentinean airline fails, probably a low cost one

  28. Southwest will finally start flying to Hawaii. However, they will not be as successful as they originally thought they would be. While the routes out of Oakland will be a smashing success, they will not be as successful on any other routes. Southwest will struggle on the interisland routes due to competition from Hawaiian and the locals will support Hawaiian over the intruder in Southwest.

    This will also cause an overcapacity from California to Hawaii which means that some airlines will have to reduce or eliminate service between California and Hawaii. The first routes to go will be Alaska’s routes out of Oakland. However, Alaska and Southwest will struggle on their San Jose routes, but because both want to hold on in that airport, they both will just eat the losses.

  29. Also, Delta will find the C-Series, er A220, to be everything promised and more that they will eventually decide to replace the 717s with them as quickly as the leases expire.

  30. Ian L says:

    I’ll focus on AUS first.

    1. DL will make it a focus city once they have enough A220s to spill over from invading AA/UA hubs. This will take AUS off the table for Moxy.
    2. Service to AMS or CDG (please let it be AMS) will be announced on an A330, but won’t actually fly ’til 2020. DL will coordinate flight times for points west of Austin to provide some feed for this flight.
    3. Southwest or Frontier add a couple of routes that Via Air currently monopolizes, causing Via Air to pull out of Austin entirely. Frontier at this point basically has the South Terminal to itself, so they go from one Denver daily frequency to two, strategically placed to avoid competing directly with Spirit. Southwest drops from five flights per day to four.

    Elsewhere:

    1. Indigo ties WOW, Volaris, and Frontier together a bit more tightly, pulling aircraft from WOW to Frontier, realigning WOW US destinations to Frontier focus cities, and aligning flight times a bit so if people are okay with two stops on narrowbodies they can get to Europe cheaply. Indigo will try to do this somewhat with Volaris and Frontier, but not to the same extent as WOW.
    2. Allegiant or Indigo/Frontier will buy up Sun Country.
    3. B6 and AS will work together more closely. B6 will for all intents and purposes exit LGB.
    4. Norwegian will somehow hang on the entire year.

  31. Jmcm says:

    My predictions for 2019
    Southwest will get it right and Hawaii will be a major success (9/10 shot of coming true)
    United starts more flights out of Denver to Europe and Asia (7/10)
    American starts DFW-TPE (5/10)
    American can officially say the merger with US Airways is done when Fleet Service and MX get a contract (7/10)
    Parker retires or leaves American (5/10)
    Hawaiian decides they need a larger us Mainland codeshare partner and they pick Alaska or Southwest as they don’t want to alienate any of the big three and continue to have their inter-island codeshare with them. (3/10)

  32. PF says:

    The first Southwest revenue passenger flight to Hawaii is on Valentines day.

    • Andy says:

      Counter-prediction:
      The ETOPS certification comes through on Feb 15, preventing this from happening.

  33. Mark says:

    Delta will cut the most of the remaining non-hub flights (SIN, MNL, PDX) from NRT. HNL will likely remain. Cue map with Godzilla

  34. derek says:

    2019 prediction: One major US airline will begin giving fewer frequent flyer miles for basic economy fares. Another enhancement to Basic Economy!

    Already the MQM are less but instead of 5 miles per dollar for non-elites, they will award fewer miles. For example, it might be 3 miles per dollar, whether or not you are elite.

  35. A says:

    Softness in the economy will result in declining load factors for the airlines and negative earnings by Q3 or sooner. By end of year aircraft will be parked in the desert and delivery of new aircraft will be delayed by at least 2 legacy US airlines.

    The unprecedented run of no hull-loss incidents on US airlines will continue however there will be continued troubles and close calls similar to WN’s exploding jet engine and others. FAA will likely ground a fleet for maintenance checks.

    Bejing will overtake ATL as the busiest airport in the world by passenger volume.

  36. Arinze says:

    Jetblue will add service from Boston to Indianapolis

  37. Yo says:

    Wow, gone, California Pacific, gone, Norwegian will be a shadow of what it was. Southwest finally starts Hawaii, but operations will be difficult and it won’t be profitable. Alitalia stays in business, because…they are the beast that never dies. Lufthansa starts Phoenix up again 4X a week, knocks Condor out of the market.

  38. DesertGhost says:

    I wonder how many of your readers know who the picture at the beginning of the post portrays. I could be wrong, but I’m guessing a few might not know.

  39. Nick says:

    UA – The BIG Flight Attendant 2 day customer service training session will be as big of a flop as the historic route announcements.

    AA – Removes the MD-80 and replaces it with 787-8 for places like TUL, DSM, and MCI

    DL – Decides that they want to add back 500 more 50 seaters so they can get rid of the 717

    WN – Makes replaces BWI with Islip as its East Coast focus city

    AS – Moves all service to Paine Field since they don’t want to pay for the new CBP facility

    B6 – Keeps feeding the TATL market talk by telling an aviation reporter every 17 days they might do London but instead adds MCI, STL, MKE, and OMA on A321

    NK – Continues to keep an ontime airline beating Delta and Hawaiian

    HA – Starts a new regional airline that does milk runs in Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana using extra 717 from the Island

    • Seanny says:

      For AS, did you mean all international service? Can’t imagine they could handle ALL service at Paine. :)

    • TRC says:

      Well…I’ll give you credit for bold predictions. You will certainly be either right or wrong with no middle ground!

  40. MikeK says:

    Jetblue has an identity crisis after years of positioning itself as an inexpensive legacy-style carrier with nice perks and repositions itself as either a LCC or more premium offering.

  41. Most of my 2018 predictions were dead before the year was 1/4 through except for the Southwest to Hawaii one which, as the end of the year neared, I was praying Southwest to Hawaii would remain grounded just so I wouldn’t leave 2018 with a 100% prediction failure rate…

    My crystal ball is on the fritz so I’m only making one relatively safe prediction…

    Qatar leaves Oneworld and China Southern joins.

  42. Ted says:

    NK’s on time % stays high, cost stays low.

    A “merger” between AS, B6, HA, SY, F9 or NK.

    DL connection on time % goes to the crappers due to the DGS mess.

    DL 1 or 2 new flights to Asia/EU from MSP. MPS-HND might be a goner.

    AA hires a new senior management position to replace Doug in the near future.

    UA gets a new CEO

    Hawaii prices will continue be soft, HA will find other places to fly.

    WN will bring a lot of ASM to Hawaii first then cut after a few months of sub 60%load factor.

    QR breaks up with Oneworld.

    Stock prices of airlines will come back a bit, but eventually drop due to the slowing of the economy.

    airlines will continue to sell miles to banks, but the new contracts will be less valuable due to miles devaluation.

    More people will realize that without AAdvantage , AA does not make any real money.

  43. SEAN says:

    1. B6 pulls it’s flights out of LGB in a nasty divorce of sorts & the city council just wonders – what happened. WN picks up the slots to fly beyond short hall locations like LAS & OAK.

    2. It’s not all bad news for B6 however, a merger between them & AS begins since each one needs access to the other ones coastal cities. A merger is approved in the first quarter of 2020 with a new mid continent hub opening later in the year.

  44. Bill Hough says:

    California Pacific bites the dust in 2019.

  45. Eric says:

    UA continues to build up IAD, to include added frequency/new regional service to at least three destinations. Mainline sees added frequency/upgauging on at least two transcons. One international nonstop added. Passenger volume increases as well.

    • Ben in DC says:

      I agree with this one and will add to it. UA will make good on the talk to increase the number of banks to 6 as they add more international destinations and ramp up domestic service. Kirby will look to add service between IAD and more small/midsize domestic markets that have no current nonstop flights to the DC area (my long shot route: BOI – IAD, with some hefty subsidies from BOI). For this year, AND ONLY THIS YEAR, talk of UA closing the IAD hub will cease.

  46. Jim says:

    I predict that oil prices will crash as the economy goes down due to the US-China trade war, Brexit, and unrest in the middle east. This will enable some airlines to make record profits. However, toward the latter part of the year, demand will start to soften.

  47. Seanny says:

    Paine Field (Everett) will exceed expectations for AS and UA, in terms of passenger demand.

    Also:

    United will bring back the tulip.

    • Pilotaaron1 says:

      It’s nice to know I’m not the only one to want the tulip to come back. I hate the Continental look with United slapped on the side. I felt it was lazy.

  48. MK03 says:

    Delta will probably finally start dismantling what remains of their Narita “hub”; Manila and Singapore either go bye-bye or get non-stop flights from somewhere.

  49. Timmy says:

    We will see more airlines swap or sell off their JFK slots.

    Oscar Munoz will leave UA, and a new CEO will be announced.

    B6 will exit MSP, after too many months of negative margins.

    Sabre will announce something regarding its future.

  50. Jonas says:

    The New Istanbul Airport will have a similar fate as BER. It will remain a newly built ruin with little or no traffic and lots of political finger-pointing.
    Bonus (with a caveat): IF Brexit happens with no deal, air traffic over northwestern Europe will be chaos at the end of March.

  51. CP says:

    AA suffers from a Dr. Dao-type customer service incident. Parker goes as a result, because the board is looking for an excuse to can him.

  52. Douglas says:

    One of the co-owners of Virgin Australia, likely Ethiad, will want out. Delta will do like they did with Virgin Atlantic and buy into VA.

  53. Ben says:

    Here’s my predictions for 2019:

    – NK will purchase a significant number of A220
    – No US airline merger in 2019
    – B6 will pull the plug on LGB, but WN won’t take all the slots; airport will sit empty with the City Council wondering where they went wrong
    – F9’s operation will continue to deteriorate as they fly the fleet too hard with no fire breaks. Barry Biffle will get the axe.
    – WN will finally start Hawaii flights with abysmal load numbers and revenue.
    – G4 will spin off airline to focus on the travel side of the business (Apple Vacations and USA 3000 comes to mind)

  54. Jeb says:

    1) Alitalia continues to live, bleed money, and live on government subsidies. Air Italy will do the same, but with Qatari subsidies instead.
    2) Southwest finally, actually launches Hawaii services. For realsies this time.
    3) The A380 continues to totter along the brink of oblivion, but doesn’t quite die.

  55. Austin787 says:

    AA continues to underperform and finally fires Doug Parker, or encourages him to resign.

    AA drops more JFK routes, to the point where JFK becomes just another spoke on its route map.

  56. TRC says:

    I will continue to encourage the airlines to tweak their baggage policies by allowing customers to decide whether their one free bag will be checked or carry-on, but the airlines will continue to ignore my free advice ;).

  57. Broken Clock says:

    1) WN and B6 attempt a merger but DOJ and Pilots unions prevent it, but it makes everyone else nervous and rumors fly of ULCC mergers (F9+NK) and AS ends up with HA.

    2) Economy slows up a bit and with less traffic, fees rise across the board

    3) Amazon announces getting in to the door-to-door package delivery, sending FEDEX/UPS stocks in to the tank

  58. Chris says:

    1. Air Italy not being accepted into OneWorld forces Qatar to finally terminate its OneWorld membership.
    2. IndigoPartners starts permitting code shares across their entire portfolio, creating a truly global ULCC. WOW adjusts route map to focus on F9 hubs for feeder traffic.
    3. Morbid but likely – a major aviation accident with hull loss will occur in Europe or the US due to runway incursion. I really hope it proves to be inaccurate but I think it’s just a matter of time on this one.

  59. RICARDO says:

    After joining forces with Air France/KLM , Alilatia will become a profitable airline, delivering excellent service and will be elected best airline in the world.

  60. DaninMCI says:

    My biggest 2019 prediction is that demand for AMEX platinum cards for Centurion lounge access will skyrocket while lounge based airline cards will crash due to boarding pass requirements kicking in. This will also require AMEX lounge expansion announcements. We never thought that airlines would reach the tipping point on devaluing airline mile programs and their lounge business all in the same year.

    Also Sears will stay in business through 2019 though odd financial investments that will turn this company around in the long run. #weird.

    AA will also relent on the tiny lavs on Max aircraft after enough bad PR on this product.

  61. Phllax says:

    The Cleveland Browns will have a winning season!

  62. jarvis says:

    1.) JetBlue looks to spread their west coast outside of LGB with some slot swapping with an airline at ONT. If it’s with Southwest, this move will benefit then both as it would help jetblue launch west coast routes from ONT

    2.) Delta and Etihad form an unusual business alliance regarding jet airways. They also form a minimal interline agreement in the process. Delta still attacks the ME3 focusing on qatar and Emirates.

    3.) Construction at the new Mexico City airport will be slow to a halt when the new president introduces legislation to invalidate municipal bonds already funding it. It’ll be short as international and market pressure concedes to fund the construction along with more social programs.

  63. Keith says:

    1. B6 announces LGB closure by year’s end as over time this year it announces more enhancements to LAX and ONT with more service. HA pulls out due to B6 leaving. WN announces its considering open LGB slots but remains hesitant to expand. LGB city council where it went wrong. BUR gets weekend Mint service.

    2. Sun Country eventually realizes its strategy of increasing flights out of PDX and DFW backfire as it cant compete with AS, AA, and WN – Apollo Management looks for a buyer and possible merger with another carrier.

    3. AS joins OneWorld as part of OneWorld Connect – continues to reduce flights out of SFO due to low load factors and subpar operational performance.

    4. Wall Street announces Doug Parker’s “resignation” over for profit margins and operational performance. New CEO announces corporate restructuring and concentrates growth on DFW, MIA, and CLT. PHX sees reduction in mainline flights and uptick in Envoy regionals. A321T is retrofitted with more Y class seats sans IFE and more J class seats.

    5. Another LAX terminal shuffle, Terminal 0 is announced and WN expands with more international flights, HA announces move to TBIT once midfield concourse is completed, UA announces new Terminal 9 to house its international flights and Star Alliance partners. B6 announces LAX as a potential focus city – looks into T7 and T8 after T9 construction is announced.

    6. WOW joins Air Italy, The Flying Rooftop Bar Joon, Flybondi, and Norwegian Air Argentina with Airlines we lost in 2019 – Norwegian struggles on with announcements of a potential buyer and Interjet’s future looks uncertain for 2020 after record losses.

    7. Details about EY and EK are published and so begins the merger of the 2 UAE carriers.

    8. David Neeleman announces routes and hubs for Moxy, as well as unveiling what the service and cabin interiors might be on his fleet of 60 A220s.

    9. NK announces fleet restructuring – orders A220s and changes existing orders of A320neos to A321neos. Announces retirement of existing A319’s.

    10. DL, impressed by performance of A220-100s confirms order for A220-300s as replacement for 717’s. Phased out 717’s go to HA.

    11. WN and AS struggle in Hawaii price war with other carriers. HA and is able to remain unscathed due to focusing on long haul and cargo, making up reduced revenue. Big 3 also see reduced revenue in this market, however also remain unscathed.

  64. David M says:

    California Pacific will manage to resume flying the CLD operation. However, Pierre and Watertown successfully get the EAS bid reopened and it goes to another airline and California Pacific stops flying.

  65. Itami says:

    At risk of looking like a one trick pony, here I go:

    1. Frontier still doesn’t go for an IPO. At this point, the boat has probably sailed for this economic cycle.

    For my extra credits:

    2. B6 won’t make an announcement on TATL routes. Between ordering LRs, receiving LRs, training crews on LRs, getting ETOPS, getting slots (depending on the airport), they won’t let the competition know what they’re doing until they have most of the above resolved and that’ll extend into 2020.

    3. Whether or not WN starts Hawaii service in 2019, a combination of economic uncertainty and the slew of new capacity from both sides of the Pacific will strain carriers’ profits in the market.

  66. CraigTPA says:

    Official Prediction: JetBlue and Alaska begin merger talks, as AS reconsiders its relationship with AA.

    Other Predictions:
    Frontier asks Spirit to enter merger talks too, but Spirit declines.

    JetBlue converts orders to the A321LR, but does not announce any European destinations pending outcome of merger talks. Speculation will continue about Europe, but the LRs will allow further Latin American expansion.

    Norwegian finds enough new money to get through 2019, but just barely.

    The EU continues to let Italy get away with violating the spirit (and possibly the letter) of the statef-aid regulations, so The World’s Worst Airline survives another year.

  67. GM says:

    @Cranky, too bad you didn’t wait 3 more days before writing your update about California Pacific; looks like they are done!

    • CF says:

      GM – Not dead yet! They shut Carlsbad flying, but they are still doing the essential air service stuff from Denver to Pierre and Watertown. So they’re hanging on by a thread.

  68. Bede Clark says:

    The revival of TWA! Concurrent with the opening of the TWA Hotel at JFK, AA, AS, and B6 jointly announce the restoration of TWA with hubs at JFK, BOS, SFO, and LAX. AA contributes the TWA intellectual property/brand, its (ex-TWA) JFK hub with all routes except those to its remaining 8 hubs, and some Airbus aircraft. AS, secretly regretting the rash overextension of its brand in its boondoggle acquisition of VX, contributes all its ex-VX Airbus aircraft, routes, and employees. B6 contributes gates in its terminal connected to the TWA Hotel and its long-distance aircraft on order from Airbus. All 3 carriers of course have reciprocal rights/ full partnership with the new TWA and proportionate ownership stakes.

  69. Greg says:

    My predictions:
    1. JetBlue does announce first European destination, with service to start in 2020
    2. Hawaiian continues aggressive US West Coast expansion with new A321s & Southwest finally enters the Hawaiian market – fares to Hawaii drop, but don’t plument
    3. One carrier pulls out of the HNL-Tokyo market, due to overcrowding when the ANA A380s start up on the route
    4. Norwegian continues ramp-down of international services to US from Europe
    5. Joon dies

  70. Mark Skinner says:

    The US China trade war will see less Boeing sales in Asia, and more in the US as patriotism and politics kick in on both sides. Overall, probably not a big change. However, because buyers will be encouraged/forced to buy local, airplane prices will go up somewhat. This to the benefit of Boeing and Airbus, but not to airlines or passengers.

  71. Cody C says:

    Ongoing problems at Avianca Brasil result in Azul buying Avianca Brasil. In return, Azul enters into a strategic partnership with the other Avianca airlines

  72. Adeej_in_nz says:

    From my part of the world…

    1) VS will start flying LHR-PER non-stop after QF has been successful on that route.

    2) Either Boeing or Airbus will start building the aircraft QF wants to start flying SYD-LHR, MEL-LHR and SYD-JFK non-stop.

    3) Construction on the new Western Sydney Airport will stall.

    4) NZ will drop BHE as a destination (all you Americans can go and find out where BHE (IATA Code) is.)

  73. GS in PDX says:

    My 2019 prediction: TAP will begin non-stop flights from Portland, OR to Lisbon. (hey, they are looking to aggressively expand to the US, and Portland is underserved on affordable flights to Europe!)

  74. Pilotaaron1 says:

    I know I’m late for this and outside of Cranky, no one may read this until next year. But I’m adding my predictions anyway. I was excited I got the PIT-LHR prediction. I’ll post my top 3 even though Cranky is only taking the first.

    1. Boeing will formally announce the MOM plane.
    2. Yuma will have a second airline start service.
    3. Frontier pulls entirely out of PIT.

    Bonus: United will bring back the tulip.

  75. Jim P. says:

    Alitalia will continue with the support of the Italian government. They do not want to be the only Western
    European country without a flag airline. (Yeah, I know that Lichtenstein and Monaco don’t have a flag airline, but gimme a break…they are both wide spaces in the road). The government will keep subsidizing Alitalia, and it will continue bleeding money because the unions will continue to strike on issues that would require their members to show up to work on a regular basis in order to get paid and/or do something while at work. Strikes fully justified by such harsh treatment, don’t you think? Full disclosure: the 2nd and 3rd worst flights of my life were on Alitalia.

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