Reviewing Your 2019 Predictions and Making Your 2020 Picks

Miscellaneous

The year is almost done, and that means it’s time to go back and see how you did on your 2019 predictions. Some were right on, some were not, and some were truly ridiculous. (I’m talking to you, phllax.)

Limiting my review to only the first prediction from each commenter made this process much more manageable this year. So when you leave your 2020 predictions in the comments, remember that only the first one that you leave will take center stage next year when I write this post again.

Now, let’s get on with it. Here’s how you did in 2019.


WOW Goes Away

  • Michael – WOW will make an appearance in your airline graveyard post in 2019 while Norwegian still manages to stay alive
  • Andy – After finalizing their investment in WOW, Indigo Partners adds WOW to their
  • Yo – Wow, gone

Michael and Yo got this one right. That last second effort by Indigo to save the airline failed. Surprise, surprise.


Indigo’s Global Plans Have Not Appeared

  • Chicago Chris – Indigo links all of its airlines to create a worldwide ULCC alliance
  • Frontier/Volaris codesharing arrangement. Chicago becomes the center of this, thanks to Frontier’s focus city at ORD.
  • Frontier – Frontier still doesn’t go for an IPO. At this point, the boat has probably sailed for this economic cycle.

Sticking with the Indigo them here, nothing really happened in the way of uniting all the company’s low cost carriers. The Frontier/Volaris codeshare exists, but it doesn’t seem to have done much. Also, Frontier still hasn’t IPO’d, so good work there.


JetBlue, the Atlantic, and More

  • Jake – B6 will finally start trans-atlantic flights, starting from BOS and eventually JFK
  • Mike – JetBlue announces transatlantic flights, but with a start date well into 2020.
  • Anthony – 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.
  • Arinz – Jetblue will add service from Boston to Indianapolis
  • MikeK – 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.
  • jarvis – 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
  • Keith – 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.
  • CraigTPA – JetBlue and Alaska begin merger talks, as AS reconsiders its relationship with AA.
  • Greg – JetBlue does announce first European destination, with service to start in 2020
  • SEAN – 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.

A ton of you decided to make your prediction about JetBlue, and some of you were right-ish. Mike and Greg were closest with the European announcement, but service begins in 2021, not 2020. Everything else? Didn’t happen. JetBlue is still in Long Beach and still doesn’t have a real west coast strategy.


American’s Future

  • flying.high.or.high.flying – AA sinks into further trouble. Southwest benefits. 2020 merger talks
  • Mike M – 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.
  • MeanMeosh – Wall Street finally forces Doug Parker into exile after AA reports more subpar financial results through 2Q 19.
  • CP – 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.
  • Austin787 – AA continues to underperform and finally fires Doug Parker, or encourages him to resign.

American’s future was also top of mind for many of you, but none of these predictions came true. In the end, American had a bad year of underperformance, but there weren’t any big changes made at the top. The operation appears to be getting back in order, but that’s been done quietly.


Southwest to Hawai’i

  • southbayflier – 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.
  • Jmcm – Southwest will get it right and Hawaii will be a major success (9/10 shot of coming true)
  • PF – The first Southwest revenue passenger flight to Hawaii is on Valentines day.

How many years have people been guessing Southwest would begin flights to Hawai’i? This year it finally happened. Whether it’s truly a major success or not remains to be seen, but the airline seems happy so far.


Delta and The End of Narita

  • Mark – Delta will cut the most of the remaining non-hub flights (SIN, MNL, PDX) from NRT. HNL will likely remain. Cue map with Godzilla
  • MK03 – 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.

MK03 is the winner here. Narita is gone completely with Manila service moving to Incheon and Singapore service disappearing.


Frequent Flier Programs Change

  • jeffcapp – 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).
  • derek – One major US airline will begin giving fewer frequent flyer miles for basic economy fares. Another enhancement to Basic Economy!

A very good guess here by jeffcapp. United changed its elite earning to be almost entirely dollar-based and redemption has begun fluctuating more and more. As for Derek, well, since mileage earning is largely based on fare, Basic Economy does earn less now.


Alaska’s Alliance

  • Jason H – Alaska will join OneWorld as an affiliate member

You were much quieter on Alaska this year than in previous years, but this one didn’t pan out. Not only did Alaska not join oneworld, but it further distanced itself from American.


Regional or LCC Consolidation

  • DesertGhost – I’ll go with predicting that there will be further regional airline consolidation in the U.S in 2019.
  • Broken Clock – 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.

None of this happened. After United took ExpressJet last year, nothing has happened to further consolidate the regionals, and the low cost carriers remain where they were.


California Pacific Dies

  • Bill Hough – California Pacific bites the dust in 2019.
  • David M – 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.

This was probably the safest bet of the year. The airline didn’t even make it through January.


United’s Basic Economy

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

Not a bad guess here, but it didn’t happen. United still blocks carry-ons unlike its primary competitors.


Spirit’s Trends

  • Ted – NK’s on time % stays high, cost stays low.
  • Ben – NK will purchase a significant number of A220

Unfortunately, neither one of these happened. Spirit tried to grind out more utilization and that led to a bad summer performance. But it has fixed things, or so it seems. And it did place an order, but only for bigger A320-series aircraft.


Amazon Passengers

  • FlyByNight – 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.

This didn’t happen, but I’ll award partial credit since Amazon has now contracted with a passenger airline (Sun Country) to fly cargo.


Economic and Political Troubles

  • Richard – 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.
  • A – 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.
  • Jim – 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.
  • Mark Skinner – 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.

We had a couple of broader economic predictions this year. Oil really wasn’t a big story this year as it didn’t do anything crazy. Mergers weren’t a huge story either, though Virgin Atlantic did pick up Flybe and there is that IAG/Air Europa acquisition brewing. The US economy has held up despite warning signs of a recession. Globally it wasn’t as strong. But I give A extra credit for being lucky. There sure are a bunch of planes parked in the desert, just not for the reasons predicted! As for Boeing sales, well, they’ve had a bad year all around. China isn’t helping.


Norwegian Lives

  • BNZ – Norwegian into IAG by mid year. Just digging into last numbers reported… I don’t know how could they manage one winter season more…
  • USBusinessTraveller – Norwegian either goes bust or gets acquired.
  • billyshearer – Norwegian will fail in 2019.

Despite conventional wisdom, Norwegian survived. In fact, it looks like it’s on the road to sustainability unless it runs out of money first. At least it’s on the right path.


BA’s Club World

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

I’d say BA’s new business class seat exceeded many expectations. It looks like a winner with a great new seat and a door, making it a big upgrade over what Iberia has.


China Southern oneworld

  • Zhuo – China Southern announces entrance into OneWorld while CX feels being squeezed
  • Doug Swalen – Qatar leaves Oneworld and China Southern joins.

Neither of these predictions came true. China Southern seems focused on just becoming the biggest airline in the world with or without help. Qatar, well, it’s focused on bluster as always.


EAS Lives

  • Other Steve – 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)

No way was Congress going to hurt its chances of getting re-elected by cutting out small city air service.


No Mesa Love

  • OuterSpaceGuy – 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.

No luck here. It’s still an Allegiant airport with just a couple of Canucks sprinkled in.


Charlotte and SkyTeam

  • Mathew F. – 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.

Didn’t happen. KLM went into Austin but Charlotte didn’t get any SkyTeam action.


Love Field

  • MDKLEIN – The Dallas Love Field (DAL) lawsuit finally comes to resolution

This was a quiet year in the ongoing Love Field battle, from what I remember. The fun continues.

Boeing Doesn’t Do It

  • Ken – Boeing will announce the new MOM 797 at the Paris Airshow in 2019.
  • Pilotaaron1 – Boeing will formally announce the MOM plane.

Remember at the beginning of the year when Boeing’s biggest problem seemed to be whether or not to launch the middle-of-the-market airplane? Ah, the good old days. That airplane still hasn’t been launched and its future remains in doubt. Meanwhile, the 737 MAX gets most of the focus as it sits on the ground, waiting to fly again.


Argentina’s Airlines

  • Yosef – An Argentinean airline fails, probably a low cost one

Wrong. TWO of them failed. Heh. Avianca Argentina truly failed earlier this year, and Norwegian sold its failing operation to JetSMART. So I’ll call that a failure, though it probably helps to strengthen JetSMART in the process. Good guess on this one.


Delta Focuses Austin

  • Ian L – DL will make AUS 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.

Another winner… partially. Austin is now a Delta focus city, but it isn’t thanks to the A220s. And something tells me Moxy may still be interested.


Say What?

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

Is this United? Best I can tell, the United Backstage program has been a huge success. But then again, I’m not sure if that’s what we’re talking about here.

United at Dulles

  • Eric – 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.

Good work, Eric. United announced it would add service to Akron/Canton, West Palm Beach, Philly, Hilton Head, Bangor, and Madison. It’s also making Traverse City daily instead of weekly. Not sure about upgauging on transcons, but Haneda was added as a new international destination. (Of course, Narita was killed, so that may not count.)


Paine Field

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

Not sure what their expectations were, but the flights are still operating even if Alaska has shuffled routes a lot.


JFK Slots

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

I don’t recall seeing that happen at all.


The New Istanbul

  • Jonas – 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.

Nope. Everything moved over and the new airport is operating well despite long walks between gates.


Buying Virgin Australia

  • Douglas – 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.

Nothing happened here. If anything was going to change, it was more likely that struggling HNA would sell its stake, but they’re all still there.


Avianca Brasil

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

Avianca only wishes that happened. Instead, Avianca Brasil is gone, as is Argentina.


Virgin Atlantic to Australia

  • Adeej_in_nz – VS will start flying LHR-PER non-stop after QF has been successful on that route.

Virgin Atlantic has not dipped its toes back into Australia.


TAP to Portland

  • GS in PDX – TAP will begin non-stop flights from Portland, OR to Lisbon.

If you had said British Airways to London, then that would have been right! But TAP appears to have slowed down its US expansion.

Credit Cards

  • DaninMCI – 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.

Dunno, did this happen? That’s not an area I really pay attention to.


Long Live Italy

  • Jeb – Alitalia continues to live, bleed money, and live on government subsidies. Air Italy will do the same, but with Qatari subsidies instead.
  • Chris – Air Italy not being accepted into OneWorld forces Qatar to finally terminate its OneWorld membership.
  • RICARDO – 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.
  • Jim P. – Alitalia will continue with the support of the Italian government.

Wouldn’t that have been hilarious if Ricardo got that right? But of course, he didn’t. Alitalia couldn’t be reorganized in time, so the government pumped in another 400 million euros to keep it afloat while it tries again. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Oh, and Air Italy is still getting that sweet Qatari money.


No, Just No

  • phllax – The Cleveland Browns will have a winning season!

I appreciate the hopefulness, but nope, it wasn’t to be. The Browns looked much better early on, but then the team basically just gave up. In typical Browns fashion, the season ended in disappointment and apathy. Better luck next year!


Will the MAX fly again in 2020? Will mergers occur? Will we go into a global recession? We’ll find out next year. Get those 2020 predictions in the comments.

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108 comments on “Reviewing Your 2019 Predictions and Making Your 2020 Picks

  1. Wow, I actually had a right prediction. Though I guess it was kind of an obvious one.

    In any case, I’ll admit I’m not well-versed with the aviation industry (particularly on the US side of things), so I only really have one prediction for 2020: Hong Kong Airlines, the airline with nine lives, will probably run out of luck in 2020. They just got a reprieve recently so they’re safe for now, but they’re not out of the woods yet, and considering Hong Kong’s political and economic problems, that might lead to trouble.

    This won’t count as a prediction since only one per person, but just for formality’s sake and as an honorable mention: Air Italy will still be limping along, with the saga at Alitalia probably helping it live. But considering their struggles, Air Italy probably won’t break out and I wouldn’t be surprised if they downsize, change strategy, or even go away by the end of 2020.

  2. I’ll push my Credit card lounge prediction into 2020. I don’t think we’ve seen the lounge access / boarding pass fallout yet as it happened so late in 2019.

    1. USGlobal Airways (formerly Baltia Air Lines) will finally die

      Passenger traffic rises at the 150 largest US airports except at Dayton International Airport and the roof at B16 in DAY will continue to leak into a trash can.

  3. I’ll focus on Southwest with a mix of varied predictions:

    * they will announce an AirTran like acquisition. Don’t think it will be Spirit, but perhaps Allegiant, Frontier, or Sun Country with JetBlue and Alaska as long shots

    * they will finally enter into some type of code share arrangement with another “low cost” international carrier (maybe Icelandair)

    * a BIG long shot in 2020, but I think this is coming at some point: they fly a second type of aircraft ((767) that will enable to them to fly to Europe and South America from the U.S,

    1. Southwest will not acquire anyone, they will be retiring 10 737-700’s in the new year(the first ten are well used)so expansion will be slow until Max return, JetBlue, Alaska will remain separate and Alaska will keep DAL gates….

  4. The 737Max fiasco will leave a permanent impact on Southwest Airlines – they announce an order for a non-737 type. However, Boeing manages to “keep it in the family” – the order turns out to be for Embraer E2s.

  5. Primary prediction:
    The requirement for Real IDs for domestic US airline travel will not be fully, truly implemented before the end of 2020. If the feds do attempt to implement it (strictly or loosely), they will walk the requirements back and postpone the full implementation until 2021 or beyond. Politics being what they are, I don’t think anyone will have the stomach for mass disruption of air travel in Q3 of 2020, and even if something is attempted, the resulting chaos and pressure (from the airlines, businesses, unions, and almost every other lobbying group, not to mention granny who only flies once a year to see the family over Thanksgiving) will cause it to be quickly watered down.

    Other predictions:
    * The MAX will fly again. There may be a minor incident or two, such as a clipped wing or runway excursion (which the media will blow out of proportion, as fearmongering gets the eyeballs their advertisers pay for), but there will be ZERO loss of life incidents that can be attributed to the MAX’s systems or to pilot confusion regarding them.
    * The return of the MAX to service aside, Airbus will continue to gain ground relative to Boeing.
    * Delta will continue to run its operations reliably and well, at least by most metrics
    * Major airlines in Argentina and Italy will to continue to lose money hand over fist and suffer operationally (okay, this one is a bit of a gimme)
    * Amazon will continue to expand its freight (air and truck) operations

  6. – The 737 MAX will return to service before mid-year.
    – Despite the hoopla in the media about the impact of the MAX to Southwest, it continues to be strictly a 737 operator and instead utilizes its considerable leverage with Boeing to buy even more airplanes.
    – Alaska will continue to back off from California and continue to move all of its eggs into the Seattle and Portland baskets.
    – United and its pilots will renegotiate a new scope clause under Scott Kirby’s leadership that will allow for more 70-76 seat jets. The CRJ-550 will go away as the airplane will be reconfigured with a 70 seat layout.

  7. Predictions for 2020:

    1. Chicago/Gary Airport will get passenger service…again
    2. The new Midwest Express will fail
    3. The Chicago Bears will make the playoffs

    1. My prodictions.

      1. JetBlue will court Alaska to expand it’s west coast presence & will also add at least two new destinations not served today.

      2. JFK begins the process to close terminal 2 & in doing so, terminal 4 will be allowed to expand again moving all Delta operations under one roof. Also at JFK, British Airways begins to move into terminal 8 with American allowing for terminal 7’s closure.

      3. In 2020 the Yankees win the World Series thanks to Gerrit Cole, the Islanders win the Stanley cup, the Lakers win the NBA Finals & the Ravens win the super Bowl… the first of two.

      1. @sean
        Delta just said in its investor call a couple weeks ago that they are moving forward with plans to expand T4 and close T2 but without a timeline – so that is not prediction but reality.

  8. The online travel sphere buzzes with people saying “I won’t fly the 737 max” after it gets reintroduced, but pretty much everyone does and it is fine, at least in the USA

  9. My prediction will be that Boeing will get some kind of taxpayer bailout over the MAX fiasco, which is continuing to drag with no end in sight.

    Boeing will eventually play the “Too Big to fail” and/or “Critical Defense” cards.

    It will be either directly with sacks of cash dropped in, like what happened with Ford or GM. Or else indirectly through, say, a military contract that’s “allowed” to go a few billion over budget. Either way, Boeings “losses” will be covered.

    With the shutdown coming and the ripple effect, that’s too many people out of work. And in an election year, there’s no way Washington DC is going to sit there and let that happen. The bailout is coming.

  10. De Havilland Canada CRJ550s the Q400, offering a more cost-effective 50 seat regional. Plus, most 50 seater flights are quite short, so the speed will not be an issue.

    1. There would be no need to reduce it to 50 seats, because scope clauses only apply to jets. They could fly them in the full 82 seat config if they wanted.

      I agree it would be a good idea for UA to get some Q400s for their regional fleet, though. They would make a lot more sense than the CRJ550.

  11. Boeing announces plans for a FSA(to cannibalize some of the MAX) and NMA. Also, United announces a Tulip retro livery(please?).

  12. I only got Austin right on a technicality…DL still doesn’t even fly to Nashville or San Jose from here, and with AA/NK hopping in on those routes probably won’t.

    So, 2020 predictions (in descending order of likelihood):

    The first A220 into Austin will be from Air Canada, as E90s are retired later in the year. Delta will add point to point service to two or three destinations, likely on regional jets but maybe a 717 or 220 if we’re lucky. Long shot: AUS-ICN on Korean Air is announced for a spring 2021 start.

  13. Well, pleased to say that I was wrong in 2019. So for 2020 I will stick my neck out a long way:

    – Boeing halts Max production either permanently or effectively permanently (eg for two or more years, or once the order backlog is worked through) because the fall out from the issues around the original mcas certification becomes so severe they see they need a clean break. Resources are poured into developing a new aircraft from scratch instead.

    – Flightshaming goes mainstream – carriers have to start publishing co2 per mile figures for all aircraft/cabin/routes and at least one ota starts allowing people to filter/choose flights based on environmental impact

    Happy new year Cranky. Thanks for another interesting year.

  14. Since I was dead wrong last year, let’s see if I can keep my record intact.

    For the record, I predict – American will finalize an agreement with one or more partners in South America to at least partially offset the loss of LATAM.

    I’ll continue to predict that there’ll be consolidation among the regional carriers. I think it’s going to happen eventually, it’s only a matter of when.

    All of the major airlines should continue to improve their products and operations, even if some don’t like how they do it.

  15. Official prediction: The MAX doesn’t fly until (at least) after the summer season, leading to massive headaches for travelers and at least one airline going out of business.

    Other predictions:
    – AA sees marginal improvements across the board. Most people aren’t overly happy, but Parker stays anyway because things aren’t quite bad enough for him to go.
    – The IAG/UX deal goes through with minimal problems
    – No mergers of US airlines, including regionals
    – Norwegian and Alitalia both survive
    – Avatar airlines buys and begins flying their first 747s in a successful attempt to overthrow the current power structure in US aviation (Just Kidding! – even if that airline isn’t a scam – I’m not convinced – it’s still not going anywhere)

  16. 1) New US-Canada markets open up. ULCCs in the US like Sun Country, Allegiant, or Frontier find an opportunity for their brand of service appealing to young Canadians.
    2) WOW’s successor PLAY fails to launch a single passenger-carrying flight.
    3) US low cost carriers fly to Europe. Southwest announces routes to Iceland, JetBlue announces routes to western Europe from Boston, and Spirit announces international routes from Nashville (to South America) and New York (to Europe).

  17. Southwest buys the A220-300 and cancels the 737 MAX-7 since it is too heavy and many of the 737NG are starting to age out. They get Delta-like pricing for a made in the USA airplane.

  18. Main Prediction – United continues to improve operations, and mainline ranks second in on-time arrivals for legacy carriers throughout 2020. United starts to become a solid operational competitor to Delta. Delta starts to show cracks in the armor but keeps passengers and wall street happy with reliable results.

    Wild Card #1 – The second time should work.

    Dallas Love Field (DAL) lawsuit goes to trial in February. All Cranky Flier readers get to enjoy the transcript from the trial and the judge not understanding the airline industry. Most of the transcript is filled with Texas idioms that confuse most readers outside of Texas. The final resolution is a status quo solution that makes no one happy.

    In the end, Alaska sells it’s gates to Delta as it continues to retreat from Love Field to focus on operations on the west coast and moves operations to DFW and increases frequencies. Delta divests slots or gates at another focus city to make this work with the DOT. Delta continues being a credible competitor to Southwest at Love Field. Focusing on hubs and business frequencies to support O&D traffic from its hub and focus cities.

    Once again, the Dallas Department of Aviation is shown to be incompetent. The new mayor Eric Johnson cleans house by pushing Director of Aviation Mark Duebner into “Retirement” and a new era begins at Love Field.

    Wild Card #2 – Delta doesn’t grow in Austin outside of increased frequency to focus cities in 2020. In 2021, ULCCs and legacy carriers retreat from Austin from fare war at the airport and a slowing economy.

  19. This may be beating a dead horse, but does an AS/HA merger make any sense to anyone other than armchair CEOs? It seems like its always thrown around but with no real substance as to why.

    1. There’s nearly total overlap on their west coast to HNL/OGG operations, which would make getting it past regulators difficult I should think. On the other hand Southwest already offers about as many trans-pacific seats daily as Alaska does, and has the inter-island as well. Perhaps there is enough competition now to permit a merger?

      If there’s a glut of seats from the west coast to Hawai’i I think it’s AS that has to blink first rather than WN or HA. HA can’t, of course, and WN is big enough to do what they want until they win. Meanwhile AS is quick to cut ties and run in order to preserve profit margins. While I think a merger unlikely, a partnership would allow AS to redeploy their fleet to less crowded routes without losing access entirely. For HA, it would give them feed to west coast gateways that they don’t really get now. For my armchairing, I would think the HA/B6 partnership would do well with AS in the middle.

  20. Virgin Galactic has its first paying passengers. Part of the debriefing will be what they would be willing to pay for longer orbital/suborbital flights for point to point. Richard Branson remains coy on the subject knowing it would cause premium passengers to make a direct choice between Galactic and other Virgin Airlines.

  21. Broadly, mergers, bankruptcies and alliance shifts continue outside the US, reflecting the global economy. I think Hong Kong Airlines will go bust (I’ll miss the cheap fares) and perhaps another within HNA. Oneworld will ink a deal for a new South American partner. Delta will acquire a stake in another international carrier, but not Alitalia, which will remain in limbo.

    Domestically, JetBlue will continue flirting with a merger, but will remain independent and will abandon a west coast strategy (absent of flying transcon) in anticipation of flights to Europe. Alaska will retreat from San Diego (still a focus city, but less focused).

    Oh, and WOW/Play becomes the new Baltia/USGlobal.

  22. Floyd here…. I predict that Amtrak will begin codeshare with an airline or two out of Newark to increase revenues on the NE corridor line.

  23. I tried my best with the JetBlue move from LGB to ONT last year. At least I’m glad they didn’t move out of LGB as feared before.

    new predictions:

    1. Boeing will face more problems with their corporate culture left over from McDonnell Douglas as the indicators for the continuous delay of the 737 MAX, ongoing problems with the 787 dreamliner, and it’s Space Program. To prevent being delisted from the Dow Jones Index, they’ll slash up to 30% of its labor force, move their headquarters to Seattle, and begin with a new executive board.

    2. The current white house administration will execute absurd levels of tariffs against the European Union designed to protect Boeing while punishing foreign airline carriers from cancelling or deferring their sales orders with Boeing. Airbus and Delta Airlines will be the hardest hit, With Delta taking the white house to the Supreme Court.

    3. Mexican President Obrador will be forced to continue operations in building the new Mexico City Airport by the end of the year.

    Bonus prediction – The Las Vegas Raiders will win the Super Bowl, create a new dynasty, and force an FBI investigation revealing the corruption behind the NFL’s bias against the Raiders for generations. The Raiders will be rewarded New England’s Super Bowl wins, become the most valuable franchise in the world, and World Peace is brought to mankind as Justice is rightfully served to the Raiders after the Snow Job of 2001.

  24. Denver continues it’s torrid expansion — United announces a Munich TATL flight to supplement Frankfurt/London and upgauges its Tokyo flight, Southwest announces Hawaii service enabling it to connect passengers to the East Coast as DEN overtakes Baltimore and Las Vegas as Southwest’s second largest hub (measured by daily flights) by Dec 2020 and Norwegian announces a Den-Barcelona flight for 2021.

  25. * Air India will declare bankruptcy, but will be propped up by the government, indefinitely delaying privatization.

    * The NTSB publishes a damning final report for Atlas Air 3591, causing Amazon to look for a different partner for its 767 operations.

    * The “totally final” deadline for Alitalia will pass again, and it will continue in limbo until at least the next Italian election.

  26. 2020 – Boeing’s Max doesn’t fly again until October 2020, SWA gets pissed and orders 50 A220-300’s and the 777X will experience more delays missing the Space Station with a scheduled delivery of June 2021, meanwhile Emirates cuts its order for the 777X in half.

  27. 2020 – Boeing’s Max doesn’t fly again until October 2020, SWA gets pissed and orders 50 A220-300’s and the 777X will experience more delays missing the Space Station, with a scheduled delivery of June 2021, meanwhile Emirates cuts its order for the 777X in half.

    2019 – I really thought the 797 was going to be announced, should be interesting what Delta and UAL do for the 767 replacement.

  28. JetBlue will be in play for a merger, either with AA, which will solve American’s NY problem, or less likely, WN.

  29. Like anything new, people will make WN Hawaii routes a success….after a while it will fade into the background and just be another carrier serving Hawaii, offering low fares like most others…..DAL will still drag on as the gate stalemate continues….there is enough room to build 3-4 stand gates like LGB has, benefits would be faster turnaround times, getting on and off using front and back doors. WN should never have been given most of the gates, if distribution was fair, this legal mess wouldn’t exist. There appears to be no resolution in sight.
    Just my 2 thoughts for 2020

    1. Just curious, is the legal mess you’re talking about regarding WN in Hawai’i? One of the airports in particular, or all of them? Can you expand any, I’ve been curious how it was they got so many gates so quickly when AS, which had been the major west coast to HI player, has so few and can’t seem to get more.

      1. The gates are at DAL(Love Field)dont know about west coast gates….except for SNA and LGB, dont think any other airport is slot restricted….

  30. AA will continue to under-perform thru Q2 2020 and Parker will be let go.
    UA under Kirby will continue is rise to the top and will push DL for the #1 US airline.
    AS will start talks with B6 and HA. The 3 of them will form a code-share agreement and become a 5th US major. Eventually they will all come together as a company.
    AA, DL, UA will continue to consolidate their regional flying and bring them in house. The smaller regionals will quietly merge into the larger regionals.
    Alitalia will finally come off life support, only to cease operations.

    MKE will gain some international routes, and more non-stop flights to major markets as ORD’s operational problems get worse due to the construction of the “NEW ORD”. MSN continues it’s growth.
    LGB will realize it’s mistake and push for a FIS. NIMBY’s will lose the fight this time and WN and B6 will announce Mexico and Latin American flights.
    LHR starts construction of it’s 3rd runway.

    The Packers win the Superbowl, the Bucks win the NBA championship, the Brewers win the World Series and the undefeated Wisconsin Badgers get snubbed by the CFP committee in favor of the 2 loss LSU Tigers.

    1. The MAX will fly in Q2 2020. Boeing will finally launch the 797 and announce plans for a 737X, a clean sheet replacement for the current 737 line.
      The E2 series will start to gain traction as AA and UA add them to their fleet.
      Airbus will announce the A321SuperDuperXXXXULRNewerNeo plane that AV geeks everywhere will claim that Boeing can never match.

      The FAA will join other regulatory agencies to form a world wide standard for aircraft certification.

  31. Frontier & Indigo start merger talks with Sun Country, but ultimately end up walking away.
    Southwest drops the 737 Max from it’s fleet.

  32. Airbus announces the A220-500, and the Midwest Express revival pulls a California Pacific, starting up and folding in less than a week.

  33. Cranky, thanks for doing this. As always, this is loads of fun!
    After being so horribly wrong for 2019, my prediction for 2020 of course has to come 100% true.

    More consolidation in Europe: LOT, SAS and/or Aegan get bought/gobbled up by LH and/or IAG (but probably not by KLM/AF).

    Bonus: EVERY prediction on the 737Max will be wrong.

  34. Well, I had hoped for new long-haul, low-fare service from PDX this year, but not to be! And, from the press release I read, the new British Airways 787 PDX-LHR service doesn’t start till June 1, 2020. So, no actual new service in 2019. Dang!

    Predictions for 2020:
    1. The MAX will be certified to fly by the FAA in Q2, but not by any other regulatory body until Q3-Q4
    2. Boeing production halt on MAX continues into Q2 – only deliveries out of the factory in 2020 are to US customers (see #1 above)
    3. Boeing does not deliver all of the stored MAXes in 2020, due to regulatory approval delays in other countries – my guess is only 1/2 are delivered in 2020
    4. Norwegian continues its reduction / consolidation of long-haul flights in the US, focusing on only major US business centers (such as SFO vs. OAK)

    As much as I would love to see some new long-haul service out of Portland in 2020, I don’t see any materializing other than the new BA flight.
    Thanks Cranky!!

  35. Alaska orders additional 321 NEO rather than 10Max, but are also the first new blue-chip order for the Max and get a rocking good deal on it. The deal isn’t finalized until after the Boeing-Embraer merger is finished so that the E190/5-E2 is included as well. Nevertheless, the delivery dates are sufficiently far off that B6 and possibly even NK are scheduled to become the 5th and 6th largest airlines in the United States by the mid-late 2020s.

    There is political fallout from the NTSB report on Atlas 3591, in which a pilot lied on his application about prior failures and the company looked the other way on the ones they knew about. The FAA will be pressured to create a centralized clearinghouse of PRIA information so that such lies of omission are more difficult to pull off. Military contractors like Atlas will be compelled to re-evaluate their existing pilots and prove there are no “bad apples” flying soldiers around. The pendulum of standards will swing slightly more towards termination and away from retraining.

    Southwest will order a new fleet type, smaller than the 737, and we’ll see that the next decade+ of growth from them will be expanse to the next 20 largest markets and connecting a lot more dots.

    There isn’t a merger of significance announced, but with four massive carriers connecting nearly every possible dot on the continent there is less and less room for niche market holdouts.

    F9 and NK will grow so quickly that they’ll hire many first-time airline pilots, competing (and out-competing) regionals for that role. This puts tremendous pressure on regionals to attract and retain pilots, and more definite job pipelines from regional to specific mainlines will be needed.

    The Max will return to service and it’ll take a few months to get the fleet back in the air and production restarted. There will be enough new stories and leaks and investigations to keep the media engaged for most of the year, but once it starts flying without problems those stories will slowly dwindle, and in two years people will have moved on completely.

    Lastly, Alaska, Hawaiian and AeroMexico will announce a new alliance, called the Pacific Tail-Faces Alliance.

  36. * Global travel and booking volume slowing down causes Boeing to receive record low number of orders in 2020, compounded by the 737 MAX fiasco.

    * Flying from second-tier Chinese cities to America and Europe see major cut due to global economic uncertainty and governmental subsidies drying up.

  37. Facing intense competition from mostly Southwest, Alaska Airlines will continue to decrease its presence in California. It will keep cutting their Hawaii routes and other east coast/mid-west routes from SFO, LAX, SAN, and SJC. The Hawaii routes from Oakland will go away.

    Just for fun, the MAX will be grounded for most of 2020 and this helps Delta improve it’s metrics (including profitability) over its competitors because it was the only large US airline to not order them.

  38. My predictions for 2020:
    1) JFK slot constraints go away and AA’s will permanently be down to 70 flights a day at JFK and bemoaning not having sold those slots while it can.
    2) NK sees cost really creep up and the big 4 retaliating against its encroachment. Stock prices go way down and NK delays its aggressive NEO delivery schedule.
    3) B6 sometimes in 2020 announces enough addition at BOS to reach 200 flights a day by somtimes late 2020 or early 2021. Upon reaching that goal, it announces BOS – 250 plan.
    4) A220 gets more orders from North American airlines (whether it’s new orders or firming up of options)
    5) We get our first recession in a while at the same time MAX goes back into service. Industry margins go way down and all airlines aggressively cut back on growth plans.

  39. Qantas gains agreements with labor regarding Project Sunrise and places a formal order with Airbus for the A350-1000.

    With the QF order, Boeing quietly cancels the 777-8.

  40. Delta begins the first of its new non-hub routes from MIA to both domestic and Latin destinations while AA continues to lose share to Delta in Boston, New York (where AA will pull JFK back to service to hubs), Chicago and LA.

  41. Official prediction: B6 gets additional gates at EWR and start a competitive EWR-SFO/LAX service, pushing AS off these routes.

    I fully expect that AS’ transcon franchise will continue to be cut in California at SFO and LAX continuing the slow dismantling of most of VX’s old network. Specific routes I expect to be gone by this time next year include:

    SFO-BOS
    SFO-FLL (only run over holidays in the winter)
    SFO-EWR
    SFO-IAD
    SFO-PHL (seasonal summer)
    LAX-BOS
    LAX-FLL
    LAX-EWR
    LAX-IAD

    This capacity will be allocated to Seattle to continue to maximize gate use and fight off Delta.

  42. 737 Max will fly again, and after a few months of apprehension, people fly it with few concerns – only to have the Dreamliner replace it after a series of newsworthy events.

  43. 1. The transition to REAL ID requirements leads to a torrent of missed flights, angry passengers and bad press for TSA on October 1st. After a lot of posturing about the deadline being firm, a compromise is struck to allow non-compliant IDs through the 2020 holiday season.

    2. AS consolidates NYC operations at JFK and announces a codesharing agreement with B6.

    3. North of the border, WestJet takes a swipe at Air Canada by purchasing Porter and its extensive operation at YTZ.

  44. My 2020 prediction: The 737 MAX grounding extends into the summer/fall and it also loses a major order or two in the process (by major, I’m talking about significant clients like the big 3 US carriers for example).

  45. I predict:

    1. REAL ID deadline will be extended again.

    2. 737MAX will re-enter service around the middle of the year.

    3. United will continue to improve performance and pick up market share.

  46. Breeze will fly and quickly become a success. Starting w Azul Embraers they will introduce the A220s by the end of the year. Long thin ULCC P2P routes are threatened by the upscale, comfortable, and efficient new aircraft. Coming from the man who invented the e-ticket, we may see the next innovation in customer experience in air travel. If there is one person I believe is capable of creating the Uber of Air Travel, its Neeleman.

    Also, United retro Tulip livery (please?)

  47. West coast predictions here

    1) On going MAX delays cause AS to firm up the long defferred 320 NEO order as 321s

    2) AS takes a small number of their MAX 9 but the balance is converted to NSA.

    3) Alaska and Jet Blue form a code share to solve each other’s costal problem

    4) AS and LAWA announces a T6 rebuild agreement to ensure AS flyer will continue to experience havoc on the west coast for the foreseeable future.

    5) AS orders the E2 with the current QX options converted to E2 175s and a E2 190 order for AS to keep the pilots happy.

    1. AS/B6 codeshare wouldn’t be competitive – neither carrier has a hub in the middle of the country, so almost all one-stop routings would be L-shaped (or J-shaped) with a connection in an expensive, congested coastal airport. Won’t be competitive on cost or travel time vs. a connection in DFW, DEN, ORD, or even ATL. Double marginalization makes the cost situation even worse.

  48. Prediction for 2020:
    AA asks Brazilian regulators for permission (9th freedom) to start limited domestic Brazilian routes like GRU-GIG, GRU-SSA, GRU-BSB etc. to better unitize aircraft time down and makeup for the end of the LATAM partnership. A few months later the regulators decline request.

  49. These are my predictions three (remember folks we’re only supposed to do three per year so Brett can maintain his sanity)

    1. Real ID gets delayed partially. Some states get more extensions and/or waivers. It doesn’t matter. When it hits it’s a total Charlie Foxtrot for weeks with angry passengers all over the place.

    2. Boeing loses more customers in 2020 either by switching to Airbus or outright order cancellation. The MAX (which gets a name change) doesn’t return to air in some parts of the world until 2H 2020.

    3. Brett doesn’t try to top the 2019 Dorkfest…

  50. Since most predictions are US-based, let me give some European ones:

    – KLM and Air France get into a fight and will be treated as more separate entities (no more ‘3 planes for AF means 1 for KLM’-things)
    – Ryanair blames Boeing for loosing a lot of money, flirts with Airbus, ends up buying a lot more 737 MAX
    – BA doesn’t buy any 737 MAX, continues with the A320 series, but gets a huge discount on 777s
    – Alitalia is still being fed by the Italian government, but Cranky finds out there’s an even worse airline on this planet

  51. Primary prediction – Amazon purchases the outstanding shares of Atlas that it does not already own and reaches an agreement with the pilots union on pay.

    Bonus prediction – Amazon takes a substantial equity stake in Sun Country to ensure pilot staffing remains consistent.

    2nd bonus prediction – Amtrak turns a profit finally after cutting money losing long distance routes and forcing freight operators to finally give PAX trains priority. The increase in profitability means Amtrak starts investing in brand new rolling stock.

  52. The fight between B6 and Delta will continue to heat up in Boston. Delta continues to announce additional European service from its newest hub, while B6 adds Paris and Amsterdam to its list of European destinations after announcing that its London service will be serving LHR.

  53. The fantastic Marty St. George will leave Norwegian after realizing that even he can’t fix it fast enough.
    Doug Parker will continue to dodge bullets at American, dragging what was once America’s pre-eminent airline even further down into a distant third place among the legacy carriers.
    Investors force JetBlue to reduce legroom even more to improve margins.

  54. Boeing goes back to their instincts to fill vital market segments. The 737 MAX 11-12 will perfectly fit the NMA range and the 737 MAX 2 will be an ideal A220 competitor. All big 3 carriers order the A380, KLM brings back the MD-11 and the Redskins win the super bowl.

  55. DL will tire of losing millions of dollars in SEA (Which still isn’t profitable after half a decade as a hub), and will slow growth there and prioritize growing BOS, AUS, etc.

    Similar story: with BA starting LHR-PDX service connecting to an AS hub, DL will not fly summer seasonal LHR-PDX beyond 2020.

    1. @greentree
      Just curious where you have data that shows the profitability of Delta’s hub in Seattle – or any airline’s hub for that matter.
      and for the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2020 (which is when capacity is largely added in the PNW), AS and DL are both adding capacity so DL appears to already have indicated your prediction won’t happen.

      Just curious also where you think DL/VS will redeploy the slot for PDX-LHR If it discontinues PDX? ORD, PHL, DFW, and IAH seem to be gaps that DL/VS could serve. wanna wager on one of those?

  56. Max comes back, but pax still avoid it, Boeing tries to change the name of the plane, but it backfires in their faces. Boeing will convert existing orders for the max into -800 and -900 NG planes. Southwest orders Airbus planes, most likely the 220. American Airlines announces flights to Capetown. Moxy still doesn’t start, and will have a new and sillier name. Avatar Airlines will be back, trying to scam people again, since it is a new decade. Alitalia hemorrhages money, but is kept propped up. Norwegian is still around but will drastically be cut back and will return several of their 787’s.

  57. Cranky, that was nice of you to give me a pass on my wrong UA/IAD prediction this year. I still think I am on to something though, so I am going to double down… sort of. I think UA didn’t add the extra banks at Dulles in 2019 because of the MAX mess. I think that gets sorted out in the first half of 2020, so I think UA announces the extra banks towards the end of 2020. I don’t think the BOI flight will happen (Boise got their much-desired east coast link when DL announced Atlanta service), but I do think UA will add IAD service to more mid-sized cities in the midwest/west as it builds up the hub. As for a long-shot prediction with IAD, if UA announces early in the year that it will add the additional banks, I think Dulles gets serious about replacing Concourses C/D and we finally see some movement on that before 2021.

  58. 1) Ultimate Air Shuttle expands, returning to CVG and restoring some routes from the old Comair network. However, they do not discontinue service to LUK;

    2) PLAY takes to the skies, but operations will not go smoothly at first, leaving many to swear never to fly them again (but eventually, things get better and their business picks back up);

    3) A major volcanic eruption snarls air traffic and deposits enough sulfur dioxide and ash into the atmosphere to slow global warming, temporarily;

    4) Cranky gives some serious thought to having a Dorkfest on the East Coast and/or the Midwest; and

    5) Some folks never learn that Super Bowl is two words!

    That’s enough.

  59. United acquires jetBlue due to excellent route and hub complementarity. Shall not predict whether UA will absorb B6, allow it to continue operating as a separate brand, or in-between as “United Blue.”
    For a more far-fetched prediction: the first partnership between a legacy carrier and a ULCC: Delta, attracted by Spirit’s strong presence in FLL, MCO, MCI, DFW, and LAS, partners w/ NK and brings it into SkyTeam. The result? Spirit in the Sky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZQxH_8raCI

  60. I got this prediction right in 2019, so I’m standing by it for 2020:
    Alitalia continues losing money and getting emergency transfusions from the government, Air Italy keeps burning Qatari money, and we keep laughing

  61. -Garuda Indonesia will not be a 5-Star airline anymore
    -Hawaiian will regret getting A321neos
    -Southwest will order e-jets

  62. Yuma, AZ will receive new service from a second carrier.

    One day, United will see the error of their ways and bring back the tulip.

  63. Prediction for 2020: KLM introduces AMS-CVG service (confirming rumors currently swirling around in Cincinnati).

    Prediction for 2021: KLM cancels AMS-CVG service due to lack of passenger feed by DL. 50/50 odds on whether they say so publicly, or just turn it into “seasonal” service that never resumes after its winter hiatus.

  64. Well I sorta got one correct. Can’t say I envisioned the MAX issues a year ago but definitely didn’t predict the economy would continue to melt-up as it has. For 2020 my crystal ball says:

    1. The FAA will re-certify the 737-MAX, however the EASA does not follow immediately leaving much global fear that the fix is not safe.
    2. There will be a hull-loss incident in the US, but it is not a 737-MAX.
    3. At least one major US airport will be temporarily shut down by protests of a candidate due to election year visits.
    4. Boeing will not announce any new aircraft :(

  65. – Boeing gives up on MOM and restarts relaunches 767 passenger production with a new engine and aerodynamic improvements. Airlines unimpressed and order A321s and A330s instead
    -MAX doesn’t fly a passenger again until after mid year if at all. China drags its feet about recertification as part of a an election season ratcheting up of the trade war.

  66. 1. B6 announces more routes out of BOS and FLL, including TATL service to LGW from JFK/BOS (since they can’t any slots at LHR). DUB, OPO, and LIS are announced from BOS as they will able to connect pax on Aer Lingus and TAP thru their codeshare agreement.

    2. B6 announces opening of MIA with routes to/from BOS, JFK, and SJU.

    3. B6 announces more routes out of EWR due to acquiring more gates – transcon routes to SFO/LAX are announced.

    4. AS further consolidates routes to focus more on its West Coast operation – OAK flights to Hawaii end to focus more on adding aircraft use in/out of SJC, SEA, and SFO. PDX sees further reduction in flights.

    5. Moxy begins hiring for inflight crew and pilots – announces first cities served as well as final name.

    6. AS pulls out of DAL to focus more on DFW and West Coast – B6 moves in with flights to BOS.

    7. Hong Kong Airlines as well as smaller HNA subsidiaries join the list of Airlines We Lost 2020. Hainan survives by downsizing long haul routes and selling assets.

    8. Air Italy joins Airlines We Lost 2020 while Alitalia continues to see the light of day as the Worst Airline of 2020.

    9. United becomes a close 2nd to Delta in terms of pax satisfaction, profitability, and on-time performance. American continues to underperform with a major shift in senior leadership by Q4.

    10. 737max schedule continue to be delayed till 2021. Boeing finds a fix for its issues however requires a different type rating for pilots causing issues at WN. WN gets into closer talks with other manufacturers as a result.

    8. Air Canada folds the Air Transat brand into Rouge and rebrands as Air Canada Vacations. Air Canada orders more A321LR / XLRs and installs lie flat seats to compete with other TATL carriers.

    9.HNA pulls out of funding Virgin Australia leaving Delta to take a majority stake with Air France / KLM.

    10. Airbus announces plans to build A220-500.

    1. I can totally see Delta acquiring the HNA stake in Virgin Australia (and maybe the etihad one too) but AF/KLM seems a bit far fetched. If Delta need a partner to go in with them the China Eastern would seem like a better fit.

      1. I see your point on the MU / DL partnership for VA. VA has more feed coming from Asia than from Europe, however I wouldnt rule out AF/KLM being involved since VS/VA got approval to work more closely together. If VS wants to compete with QF on the ultra long haul market, it needs to have feed in Europe (Air France / KLM would be needed to make those routes a success).

        Alot of cost cutting (cutting free food, bag fees, etc) and consolidation will need to happen at VA for the airline to be profitable and compete with QF. I predict downsizing of its regional arm (getting rid of the Fokker 100s and A320s – limiting it to a small number of ATRs). Also Tigerair will be folded into VA – the A320 fleet being used for temporary growth (A320s get updated cabin interiors) as it deals with the MAX grounding. VA announces basic economy and segments fares to better compete with Jetstar.

  67. Virgin Galactic will continue to make vaporware announcements like spaceport and uniforms, but will not take any revenue passengers into space in 2020.

  68. Gary Leff will fly exclusively on Spirit, only use the Spirit credit card, and change the name of his blog to “View from the Big Front Seat.”

    I’m about 90% sure this will be true.

  69. Official prediction: AA drops their award chart, following DL and UA.

    Bonus predictions: FAA is the first regulator to re-certify the 737-MAX, which means the US is the first country to return 737-MAX to service. Boeing and the airlines quietly drop the MAX name: going forward the airplane will be just 737-7, 737-8, 737-9, and 737-10.

  70. Delta announces that it is converting the LATAM A350 orders to A339s and will grow the fleet to retire the 763ERs. Delta also announces Japan and China international flights out of SLC to coincide with the opening of the new terminal.

  71. Moxy does *not* acquire the Embraer E1’s from Azul, and chooses to wait for delivery of their A220s before starting operations in 2021.

  72. Since I’m tired of predicting Doug Parker’s demise and failing, I’ll go with something else: the REAL ID deadline will be extended yet again for 6 more months, averting the travelpocalypse weeks before the Presidential election.

  73. A few Asia-Pacific guesses:
    1) Samoa Airways will fail and be in the Airlines We Lost 2020 list.
    2) At least one US Airline will start moving flights to Beijing Daxing Airport.
    3) VA will give up on AKL-NTL (Newcastle, Australia) flights
    4) Etihad will launch flights to AKL

    People beat me to it on the demise of Hong Kong Airlines. I was going to mention AA starting to fly DFW-AKL by the end of the year but that was announced in 2019. I didn’t see NZ pulling out of London but that is happening.

    On the ‘It would be nice’ list, LAX CBP staff would learn to be speedy and be a welcoming face to the USA with great customer service. (Don’t see it happening but one can dream).

  74. My main prediction this year: Eastern Airways (UK) will collapse or be bought by Loganair. Loganair could become the largest domestic carrier in the UK after Virgin/Stobart refocus Flybe as a Virgin franchisee rather than a regional airline.

    And for a more far fetched prediction: Ryanair creates a subsidiary to take over its Italian flying in an attempt to finish Alitalia.

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