3 Links I Love: Alitalia Gets Great News, Contour Sneaks Up, How Planes Fly

Air Italy, Links I Love, Qatar Airways

This week’s featured link

Qatar Airways Statement On Air ItalyQatar Airways Press Release
Air Italy is dead, and it’s not thanks to unnecessary US regulation. As I said less than a year ago in a post entitled “Don’t Waste the Effort, Let Air Italy Fail On Its Own,” the fight against potentially legitimate issues with Middle East carrier subsidy (particularly around fifth freedom rights) was completely hijacked for stupid things like Air Italy that would settle on its own. Qatar was ready to keep wasting money on the Air Italy, but the other shareholders realized it was a foolish move. Now, Qatar has nothing to show for this except big losses and a bunch of airplanes it can’t place. Is there a winner here? Of course there is… Alitalia! Now it will be able to lose less money than normal. Congrats!

Video of the Week: And now, your moment of zen

Two for the road

Contour Airlines wants to change your idea of ‘regional carrier’TPG
I’ve been watching Contour as it slowly expands throughout the country. It’s always hard for me to believe that a regional airline can be a success on its own, but I’m always hoping to be proven wrong.

No One Can Explain Why Planes Stay In The AirScientific American
Do you have trouble sleeping at night? This long and dense discussion about lift will surely help cure that problem. It is actually interesting as well. In short, airplanes fly because of magic. If you disagree, you’re a lying, dog-faced, pony soldier. (Or not, just read the article.)

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12 comments on “3 Links I Love: Alitalia Gets Great News, Contour Sneaks Up, How Planes Fly

  1. Bernouilli’s principle can be derived from Newton’s second law of motion, so it is fundamentally wrong to try to explain plane flight with a combination of these two principles; working only with Newton’s second law of motion should be enough to give the complete explanation.

  2. The Contour guy says that “every one of our routes is unserved by any other carrier.” At least in my area, that’s not true: St. Louis to Fort Leonard Wood is also served by Cape Air.

    Oddly, I think he’s right about St. Louis to Indianapolis.

    1. You may have missed the announcement, but Contour started Fort Leonard Wood just as Cape was dropping it, literally. Cape Air flew their last flight there on 11 Feb, 2019 (so, right around a year ago) and Contour started daily flights on 12 Feb, 2019.

  3. Contour is one in California.

    JetSuiteX is another. JSX even had flights dedicated to Cochella.

    Boutique air kinda/sort of tried it.

    Who else (I cant believe I didn’t know about Contour)

  4. You’re not giving Alitalia enough credit. Surely they can choose to continue losing just as much money if they put their minds to it!

  5. I know I’ll sleep better the night before a flight knowing that no one knows for sure how aircraft stay in the air.

  6. Worth noting with Contour is that some of their ability to add flights comes from using slack in aircraft serving Essential Air Service (EAS) markets. (Actually it’s the Alternate EAS program if anybody cares.) It’s no coincidence that St Louis and Nashville are two key routes at Indy. The RJ which flies 2x.daily from Fort Leonard Wood to St Louis currently sits idle the rest of the day. Same with the RJ which flies from Tupelo to Nashville 2x or 3x daily. The EAS contract subsidy (in broad terms) pays for the aircraft and the underlying support structure plus a 5% profit margin. The extra flying Contour is getting out of those otherwise-idle aircraft is largely just the marginal cost of additional segments. That allows them to add non-subsidized flying at much lower cost and risk. The Indy operation will start with ten weekday segments and STL and BNA flights will all operate at decent (in some cases great) business-friendly times but it will only take one additional aircraft. This is what they’ve done out west with some slack from Crescent City and Page EAS-subsidized aircraft. They have added additional RJ flights in CA/NV beyond the slack from CEC and PGA just as they are adding one additional IND aircraft. And they plan to add a few more at IND at this point. But they are getting their foot in the door with notably lower costs and risk than setting up an operation completely from scratch.

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