Flight Schedules Only Tell Part of the Story

Operations

I’ve spent a lot of time looking at flight schedules here over the past month or so, and it does tell a rather interesting story about how individual airlines have approached the plunge in demand due to the pandemic. But the reality is that flight schedules only tell part of the story. You can schedule a million flights, but that doesn’t mean you have to operate them.

I’ve spent very little time lately looking at operational performance. With so few airplanes flying, there are plenty of spares and no air traffic control delays. On-time performance just wasn’t an issue worth looking at. But as time has dragged on, I figured it was time to dive back in. I recently decided to rekindle my love affair with masFlight and took at look.

Before we delve into the meaningful data, let’s look at on-timer performance. In April, the worst DOT on-time performance — within 14 minutes of schedule (A14) — by a US carrier (excluding Allegiant which is either an outlier or the data isn’t right) was Delta at 92.6 percent. That’s the WORST. In a normal month, Delta would be at the top, and its numbers would be lower than this. Alaska topped the list at an impressive 97 percent of flights arriving within 14 minutes of schedule.

When you look at departures exactly on time or earlier (D0), the numbers are even more incredible. The worst performer was Spirit with a mind-numbingly good 86 percent of flights off the gate on time or earlier. Alaska was over 92 percent. This is just astounding… and it’s hardly worth a story.

So why am I writing this post? Ah yes, let me get back off this tangent. There is one piece of information that’s rather telling, and that’s the percent of scheduled flights that the airlines actually operate. Take a look at April numbers by airline (including regionals).

These are the worst numbers I’ve ever seen on the whole, and that is quite the spread between airlines. But saying these are the “worst” isn’t really fair, because this doesn’t mean the airlines are running poor operations. It’s more a reflection of the swiftness of the pandemic’s impact on air travel and how each airline handled the flight pulldown process.

In early April especially, airlines didn’t realize they needed to cancel as many flights as they did until it was fairly close to departure. Think of this as a last-minute schedule change process that just isn’t needed in any remotely-normal situation.

Some airlines like Frontier were able to maintain decent operational integrity. Of course, canceling 10 percent of your flights would be disastrous in any normal month, but here, it’s leading the pack. And there’s Southwest way down at the bottom. Southwest is an airline that has never really had a robust schedule change process, and it appears to have chosen to keep the schedule intact and cancel down later.

The further we get from the initial shock, the fewer cancellations we’ll see show up in the operational numbers. In other words, schedule changes will be handled further out. Here’s the first two weeks of May compared to all of April.

As you can plainly see, every airline is running a far higher percentage of flights than before, and that’s because they had more time to create stable schedules. “Stable” is, of course, a relative term. There is still nothing stable about these numbers — which are probably the second worst I’ve seen on an industry-wide basis — but hey, they’re light years better than April.

Take note: We do still see Southwest lagging the rest by a fair amount, and that may very well be by design. You might assume that we would keep seeing this trend of canceling fewer and fewer flights going forward, but that may not be the case for everyone.

The low level of demand means there are customers to be fought over. So there is an incentive for airlines to schedule more, try to fill up airplanes, and then cancel close to departure if nobody ends up booking. That is the opposite of how an airline would normally operate, but again, this is not a normal situation.

Could American or Southwest get an advantage by having more connections via more hubs to more places than Delta and United? They sure could. But if the gamble doesn’t work, they can cancel down later. Airlines need to be careful here. There is a balance to be found that allows a more robust schedule that avoids angering customers and employees down the line if they cancel too close to departure. But at least from an employee perspective, airlines have never had this much flexibility to run these kind of scenarios.

Think about it. Airlines realize they have a ton of airplanes and a ton of flight crews that will all remain employed until at least September 30 thanks to the CARES Act. That is the kind of flexibility no airline ever generally has, and that slack in the system means that these airlines can take more scheduling risks.

So, is American’s plan to operate twice as many flights as Delta or United in June part of a strategy or is it just a strange bullishness? I suppose we’ll find out on July 1. Then we’ll know just how much each airline actually operated.

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30 comments on “Flight Schedules Only Tell Part of the Story

  1. FYI It was apparent sometime ago that Southwest planned to reduce their May and June 2020 schedules to a lesser extent than many other carriers. When an analyst asked Gary Kelly about this on the Southwest earnings call in April, Gary was up front with their approach. He said, Southwest is watching bookings closely and they plan to proactively cancel flights throughout the second quarter if bookings don’t materialize. It sounds as though they are putting a lot of seats on the shelf to see which ones sell and which don’t. He emphasized with Southwest’s cost advantage, there is less risk for Southwest with this approach, plus as Cranky has said, their paying the crews and ground staff anyway.

    1. What I’m curious about is what will occur on October 1 when the cares act AKA the feds money pumping machine stops supporting the aviation industry? What will the airlines look like from both a schedule & operational perspective. Now of course it’s an “unknowable” at the present time, but it is food for thought.

  2. excellent article… right on point with the conclusions.
    WN has the cash to schedule more flights right now but they still flew an 8% load factor in April. 8%.

    https://seekingalpha.com/filing/5004630

    DL and UA are cancelling so many flights, esp. from small cities, because there simply is not the demand to operate connecting service. At the lowest levels of demand, it is more cost-efficient to operate flights for nonstop service only. Shorter haul flights are likely not selling near as well as medium to longhaul flights.

    Let’s remember that WN’s network only serves a pretty small subset of origins and destinations in the US so there will be a need for connecting passengers – but not from all of the big 3 plus WN. The feds expected this which is why they have minimum service requirements through Sept 30.

    The bigger tidbit in WN’s filing today is not their traffic number but their liquidity and cash burn numbers; WN like the rest of the big 4 does not normally report monthly traffic numbers.

    Net of government aid, WN is close to 0 for net cash burn. Post Sept 30, the survival metric for every airline is how close they are to 0 for net cash burn. WN has much lower refund activity than the big 3 because WN has very little longhaul international traffic which books further in advance.

    WN says they can last more than a year and one-half.

    and they still have over $7 billion in unencumbered assets on top of their current cash wad of over $10 billion.

    WN can do what they want right now. They know it and so does the rest of the industry – and so does the government. The real question is which airlines will be able to join WN on the survival list post Sept 30.

  3. You chose to exclude Allegiant, but they are currently the worst at cancelling their flights very close to departure because of low loads. They are redefining, “angering the customer”.

    1. Allegiant has always been bad about cancelling flights on short notice, and their usual frequency of 2-3x/week on many routes means that when they do cancel on short notice, their customers’ vacations are ruined. That’s a big part of why I book away from Allegiant and tell friends/family to do the same.

      That said, while I condemn Allegiant’s practices, I have to wonder… Will consumers remember their neighbors’ bad rant against Allegiant 3 or 6 months from now, let alone 12 or 24? Some may, but I doubt many will, and even if they do, they may still book Allegiant if it saves them a few bucks, or if it means the difference between being able to fly for vacation vs having to drive.

  4. “So there is an incentive for airlines to schedule more, try to fill up airplanes, and then cancel close to departure if nobody ends up booking. That is the opposite of how an airline would normally operate, but again, this is not a normal situation.”

    It’s anecdotal, but I am seeing this at my (medium sized) airport. AA and UA have both maintained much more flight activity than DL.

  5. Several airlines participated in calls w/ industry analysts today.
    DL’s operating revenue and capacity decrease for is in line with WN’s as is its capacity reduction – which pretty well eliminates the notion that global carriers are automatically at a disadvantage to domestic LCCs because the legacy carriers have international route systems.

    DL and WN are taking different strategies in terms of scheduling and capacity but coming up with similar amounts of revenue relative to what they had pre-virus.

    Also, American said they have already given part of their loyalty program as collateral for just the loan portion of the first part of the CARES Act – which is mostly grants. American has the least amount of access to capital and apparently cannot even satisfy requirements for collateral even to the government without touching the crown jewels. In contrast, DL and WN have both accessed more than $10 billion each in the capital markets. UA is somewhere between AA and DL in terms of access to capital markets and cash.

    1. Tim,

      Based on your comment above, if Delta & Southwest have access to capital markets the way they do then what are American’s prospects if they are effectively shut out from that teat. Also United being sort of being half way, how do you see them going forward.

      Thanks

  6. Oh, that was a gem of a call by AA. Still burning $70 million a day when DL/UA are in the $45 to 50 million range. Already pledged ff program, their most valuable assets. What do they have now? It will be fire sale for AA coming toward the end of this year unless things turn around dramatically. Once AA management get a drift of reality, I wonder what the layoff numbers will be. If UA/DL thinks they will be 30% smaller in 16 months from now. AA’s number is going to be higher than that.

    WN has so much cash right now. How many slots and gates is AA willing to sell/lease to them at this point? Aside from DFW/CLT, what else does AA’s network look like?

    1. “Once AA management get a drift of reality…”

      I don’t know if that’s going to happen. It sure doesn’t seem like it at this point?

  7. A few thoughts:

    Today’s calls were with Hunter Keay of Wolfe Research, one of the leading airline analysts. Overall, there was little new. There were a couple of updates from the earnings calls, but nothing unexpected. As Tim Dunn indirectly stated yesterday in response to me, the government isn’t going to throw money at airlines willy-nilly. And, I agree it shouldn’t. Yet, it’s often argued that bankruptcy is a back-door form of government aid.

    I’m a sports fan, but I don’t engage in the practice of picking who’s going to win games. My comments here tend to reflect that philosophy. When I wrote yesterday that high debt is not, in and of itself, a death sentence, I meant that literally. It’s quite possible that one or more of the four largest carriers will have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but that’s not necessarily a death sentence.

    The following is as close to a prediction as I will make, but it’s simply speculation. First a disclaimer: I could be dead wrong. With that out of the way, I seriously doubt that the government wants to create “AmAir” – the airline equivalent of Amtrak. To put it differently, if American or United were to be liquidated, the country could get a bit closer to nationalization – and I don’t think the government or the flying public want to go down that path. Another scenario I’ve seen raised: If one airline files for Chapter 11, and dramatically reduces its costs in the process, it might create a ripple effect.

    On a lighter note, regarding Delta’s 777 retirements (yesterday’s topic), I saw the idea floated about an aircraft swap between Delta and American. Heck, airlines have swapped slots, why not aircraft? The swap: Delta’s 10 777-200LRs for American’s 15 A330-200s. I think I’ll leave it at that.

    Playing Captain Obvious, the key is to return to positive cash flow as quickly as possible. Bankruptcy can’t solve a major collapse in revenue. This is a fluid situation. Nothing is set in stone. No one can predict the future with 100% certainty, although many “keyboard CEOs” on airline blogs like to do so. I can’t predict the future, but speculation can be kind of fun – not to mention that it’s free.

    1. FYI In the 1980’s AA and PA did do an aircraft swap they way you suggest between AA and DL for 777’s and A330s.

      PA swapped fifteen DC-10’s they got when they merged with NA, in exchange for eight 747’s from AA.

      However the deal ended up going bad for AA because of poor administration.
      It turned out that AA’s 747’s were either leased and/or mortgaged and the counter parties would not agree with the transfer of all the 747’s to PA. PA only got a few 747’s, the rest were sold to others, and AA got all 15 DC10’s. Just another poorly executed deal on Pan Am’s long road to irrelevance.

      A swap between AA and DL may be more complicated than we think, especially when seeing the amount of right down that DL is charging to ground the 777’s. Some of the write down may be owed to others.

    2. Desert – I like the idea of the aircraft swap… except neither airline wants more aircraft right now. It would have been an interesting deal to put together, I bet.

    3. The problem with the 777/A330 swap is that neither airline actually wants nor needs the planes. If it were about simplifying the fleet then this would make sense. However both airlines see a drop in capacity requirements. So they just get rid of the older planes early, and new planes as they’re delivered will slowly restore capacity to its previous levels.

    4. @ghost and @sean and @FC
      first, UA does not have the same level of access to the capital markets that DL and WN do. DL and WN have both accessed $10 billion in the capital markets over the past quarter. AA is about 1/4 of that. UA is about half of DL’s levels. Not surprisingly, credit default swaps follow nearly identical percentages – the cost to ensure AA’s unsecured debt is about 4X DL’s and 2X UA’s level.
      WN is clearly way out front and in a league of its own in terms of liquidity.
      If you do calculations on the operating cost burn (which is without refunds) and then subtract government grants, DL’s net cash burn is actually lower than any of the other big 4 right now. None have provided target cash burn figures for the end of the 3rd quarter but DL says it will be cash burn neutral by the end of the year. UA is also shooting for the same goal – and they may achieve it. WN will clearly make it.
      As I have said here and elsewhere, airline survival depends on accessing capital in order or have cash on hand in order to survive the current losses – which could persist for several quarters at least. Next, airlines have to be able to cut costs down to the level of revenues. Finally, airlines have to be able to survive wiht the levels of debt they have taken on.

      If you rank airlines by those criteria,
      AS, B6, DL and WN are all likely to achieve all 3 goals – accessing capital, reducing costs, and living in the future w/ the debt they have taken on.
      UA is likely to be able to cut costs and live with the debt it has to take on but not access enough capital; they may survive because of federal loans.

      and then there is AA. It so far has not cut costs sufficiently and has not demonstrated it can cut costs anywhere near the levels of other carriers. AA also cannot access capital other than its crown jewels. It also likely cannot live with its debt after the crisis – their debt levels were sky high before the crisis and they have repeatedly simply pushed out repayment resulting in higher and higher interest expenses; they already pay more than 3X more ($700 million more) per year than DL for interest expense.

      If BA’s CEO’s comments about an airline completely shutting down are correct, it will be AA.

      The US airline industry is not at risk of collapse at this point. It was in March when the Feds passed out billions in grants to airlines.

      There will be no nationalization of the airline industry. Most airlines can access private capital markets and most are cutting costs to levels that will match revenue by the end of the year.

      Even if one airline fails and another ends up in chapter 11, there is more than enough capacity in the industry that can replace what is lost. B6 wants to fly to Europe; this might all enhance their chances.

      as for aircraft swaps, no airline is going to engage in swaps of older technology aircraft like the B777 or the A330CEOs. DL has A330NEOs on order which cost less to operate than the A330-200s. If this was a B787 vs. A350 or a an A320NEO vs 737MAX swap, then there could be potential but older aircraft will be parked, not swapped.

      US slots cannot be sold, only traded unless there is a court order to divest slots as part of merger or larger asset transfer issue. If AAL fails, the FAA will likely re-award slots. Remember that the FAA relaxed slot controls at JFK and LGA after 9/11 which led to a flood of new flights, esp. from DL (which part of how they gained so many slots at JFK).

      glad to be able to interact with all 3 of you.

      1. The problem for DL is that it’s simply not in the same position as the LCCs if you look at their debt load and cash burn rate. They are clearly in a stronger position than both UA and AA. There is no doubt there. They are in my opinion no danger of BK unless we are still at 50% demand by next summer. WN is in a league of its own among larger carriers in terms of cash position. They are going to come out of this in great position. They’ve been basically flying more empty planes than anyone else for 2 months and burning cash more than they need to because they have so much money to burn. And that’s going to allow them to capture a lot of demand. But aside from them, B6 and AS both came in with really low debt load and haven’t burnt that much.

        AS is burning less cash, but had more debt to begin with. So they will probably come out of this with about the same amount of debt, but B6 would’ve received more new planes during that time. They are pretty conservative so will probably cut quite a bit. But they can always retreat to SEA, park large portion of their fleet. This thing can last 3 or 4 years and AS will have no issue sticking around.

        I listen to B6’s call today and the CFO doesn’t seem worried at all. He is telling the analysts they are still making payments on new plane deliveries in 2021/2022 and apparently has even lifted spending hold on non-critical stuff. And they are telling the pilot group about opportunities opening up. They are still talking about more opportunity in TATL and making no deferment in A220 and A321LR deliveries.

        And then you listen to DL, they are telling their pilot that domestic demand will be at 75% of pre-COVID demand level by Q3 of 2021. And they are talking about how many excessive pilots they have. The pilot group listening to their town hall are thinking the pilot count will go from 13 to 14k to 9 to 10k level. Again, 30% cut in pilot staff. It will take several years to bring all that pilot back. And that’s far and away the most successful legacy.

        It’s not surprising why legacies are in trouble. There is a reason why DL and UA cut up to 90% of their schedule for May/June. They have too many widebodies which are simply not economical domestically. International passenger demand outside of Carribbean VFR is non-existent. Large corporate demand is non-existent. It’s just all VFR and some pent up leisure demand right now. And the international demand and large corporate dollar is how the legacies generated their revenue premiums over LCCs. Without that, they are not getting back to cash neutral anytime soon. DL’s goal of cash neutral by this year is only going to happen if they are cutting 50% of their staff. How do you get cash neutral when you are more than half of your employees are sitting around doing nothing?

        Aside from G4, I don’t see anyone getting to cash neutral by this year.

        1. FC,
          glad you replied….there are a few things you have written which are not in line with what was said on the calls.
          – DL and WN said they expect the same capacity and revenue reduction for May. The notion that LCCs will do better than the legacies is not supported by the single month for which we have data for the strongest legacy and the strongest LCC. UA made no opening remarks w/ updates but just responded to questions, most of which were the same for every carrier.
          – DL said that it will offer a voluntary retirement plan and expects most of its staffing reduction to take place w/o furloughs.
          – 40k DL employees are already taking unpaid leaves from one to 12 months. No other carrier has a larger absolute number or percentage of total employees taking as much in unpaid leaves.
          – the disconnect between what DL management is saying overall and what the pilots are hearing is because DL wants the pilots to step up their contributions; DL has to negotiate with its pilots but its non-contract employees are doing what the company wants and needs.
          – DL’s CFO said they expect to be cash neutral by the end of the year. Not sure how you or anyone can argue against that unless you simply don’t believe anything that any exec at any company says.

          As I said, I believe AS, B6, DL and WN are in the “they will be ok” camp. You believe DL will be in the AA and UA camp. Time will tell but DL’s financial performance and its debt even before covid was more like WN than AA or UA.

          AA is just plain in denial about how bad it will be esp. if the Feds deny a federal loan as I expect.
          UA is busting their butt to stay out of BK and can’t raise the capital they need but will get their costs down.

          And yes, UA will be flying 70 seat RJs; their execs said they are already working to be in compliance wiht the pilot PWA regarding large RJ scope limits by Oct 1.

          1. oh i totally think DL’s CFO is full of shit. AA CFO is telling the world that they will be profitable in 2021. Unless they cut 50% of their flying and their staff, what do you think the odds of that happening is?

            in terms of liquidity situation, I have
            WN, G4
            AS, B6
            DL, NK, F9
            UA, HA
            AA

            I have not in any post said DL is in the same boat as UA and AA, but it does face the same issues that UA/AA face.

            all the airlines are saying international market not coming back anytime soon. Corporate travel still at zero basically. The only stuff returning so far is leisure from people suffering cabin fever and VFR traffic. Who do you think that favors? Basically, ULCCs the most, followed by AS/B6/WN. Even WN relies a lot on corporate travel.

            NK/F9 both would do better except that they now run the same fleet strategy and that’s too much ULCC capacity to pure leisure.

            As for DL and WN expecting same capacity reduction in May, that’s simply not true. There are charts showing this.
            https://twitter.com/JetTipNet/status/1261303535930613760/photo/4
            Does that look like the same capacity reduction to you?
            WN right now is flying way more than anyone else and burning cash at a faster rate relative to its regular cost as a result of that.

            What do legacies do with all their widebodies when there is minimal international demand to TPAC and TATL? How much do the displacements cost? What about all the feed flights?

            I assume DL will pour a lot of resources into NYC to claim slots and solidfy it’s position in NYC, but those short haul stuff out of JFK that are basically feeds into international stuff are going to have a lot lower demand. If demand to connect to international gets 50% lower and they are already running RJs on those flights, how does DL use up its JFK slots? Looks like they are going to have take losses for a while at JFK if they want to keep and expand on their slot portfolio. Reality is that whatever money DL makes out of its core market, it will need to pour that into NYC/SEA for a while to keep and expand on its market share.

            UA at EWR is going to be cut down a lot due to the same international travel issue. Except given their cash position, I don’t see them with enough money to keep the number of flights they had at EWR. Expect B6 and NK to get larger at EWR.

            If DL gets back to good financial position before other legacies, it should try to take advantage of large openings at MIA/SFO rather than keep fighting small carriers that are in much better financial situation at BOS/SEA. Even JetBlue is going to be focused on NYC, not BOS, while slots are available.

            1. The chart you cite via Twitter is not the same timeframe as the May time period that both DL and WN referenced in their remarks on the investor conference.
              I suppose you are free to offer suggestions but why would DL start a new initiative to invade SFO or even expand MIA while walking away from NYC or BOS?
              You and others continue to get hung up that DL is in markets where B6 and AS are the largest carrier – but why would you not also be advising those two to stay out of other airline hubs?

              and slots in the US are protected until later this year at least. and, of course, BOS is not slot protected.

              regardless of who you think is full of it, there is simple math that can be done… when AA says it intends to be profitable in 2021 and has the highest cash burn in the US industry right now while saying they plan to not furlough, there is a significant disconnect between reality and plans.

              NK is operating at a fraction of itself. Their model along with the ULCCs is based on high density; as much as some want to believe otherwise, space is valuable for airlines right now and that is not a key part of NK’s strategy. among non-legacy carriers, B6 and WN offer more space and both have more cash than NK.

              oh, and one final thing, part of the reason why DL’s May revenue reductions are in line with WN’s is perhaps because DL is carrying international cargo (like AA and UA) which is valuable… DL is going to start flying a regularly scheduled 777 from BOM to the US just with cargo. All of the big 3 are flying cargo flights because cargo yields are much higher. We will see how much cargo contributes when airlines report their 2nd quarter financials but I think a lot of people are underestimating how much international cargo will help the big 3 supplement greatly reduced passenger travel. The big 3 all have loyalty programs which are much larger and more valuable. DL has Tech Ops which is a big revenue source.

              And the key differentiation remains getting costs down. DL has 40k employees on unpaid leave. AA might have tens of thousands of employees on paid leave and offered early retired, but most of those employee costs are still there with partial salaries – which is precisely why AA’s cash burn is projected to be so much higher than DL or UA’s amounts.

              Will be interesting to do the post mortem – and I do think there will be one to do.

            2. WN has not cut as much capacity as competitors. That’s just a fact. I don’ t know what you keep referring to. They have been the slowest to cut all along. They’ve been operating 35% to 40% of schedule this month when everyone else has been flying much less. I don’t know you keep comparing them to DL. DL has actually been really responsible when it comes to cutting back. In fact, they’ve probably cut the appropriate amount. AA hasn’t cut enough and UA has cut too much.

              As for DL, I never said they should abandon NYC. I’ve said they need to double down in NYC with slots becoming wide available at JFK and probably LGA next year. I also said the rationale behind BOS simply isn’t there given JFK is no longer space constrained. With reduced demand, you want to consolidate everything through one TATL hub rather than divide them. MIA is something that would actually bring something new to their network. Same with SFO. SEA is nothing compared to SFO in terms of TPAC and corporate demand. And frankly, being second best at SFO is better than being second best at SEA. DL like every other carrier that are not in danger of collapse needs to retreat its strongholds and figure out what opportunities to explore and which stations to cut back on. You are not going to cut everytime evenly. It doesn’t make sense to do so. There are strategic priorities for everyone. DL has shown their hand already that they don’t think much of BOS, CVG and RDU. Even JetBlue will prioritize NYC over BOS. I don’t know who in their right mind will treat BOS the same as NYC.

              I don’t know why you keep comparing DL to AA. AA is a horror show waiting for a terrible ending. DL is going to need to downsize big time if it really wants to get its cost down. The only question is whether it can make those early outs packages attractive enough to get enough takers. My guess is that won’t happen. So they will prbably need to do large scale furlough. But regardless, they’ve already broadly network decisions on how large they will be by Sep 2021 and it will be around 30% smaller. So you can make your own guesses on how to get there.

            3. FC,
              for someone that says you listened to the investor calls, your conclusions and data that you quoted does not reflect what was said which was that DL’s revenue reduction for May matches WN’s.

              There are two groupings of carriers. period. Those that can cut costs and access capital outside of bankruptcy and those that cannot.

              DL’s cash burn expectation for June as a percentage reduction of 2019 costs is better than WN or other LCCs. DL is accessing the capital markets. So are AS B6 and WN.

              As much as you want to believe otherwise, there is no data that shows that all of the LCCs will make it while legacies won’t.

              Your conclusions about where DL will have to cut is flawed based on your faulty understanding of the data which has been presented.

    5. Both airlines could “fund” the new aircraft by retiring a similar number of older ones. These aircraft are relatively new. American could park 10 of its older 777s and Delta could park some of its older 767s.

      1. Desert – Actually, the new 777s at Delta are the LRs and American won’t want those. It has 787s for its ultra long haul missions. Those ERs probably aren’t too appealing. But the 332s would be good 764 replacements for DL.

  8. Another nugget that I missed is UA’s decision to apparently convert all the 76 seaters to 70 seaters, which apparently is something they have to do if they furlough past the last contract date (Jan 23, 2016). 2300+ pilots hired since then, so the furlough number is probably > 3000. Add in the early outs and retirements, I’m thinking they are planning to cut things even more than 30% by Q3 2021. UA is preparing to be a lot smaller.

    My guess.
    DL cuts 30%
    UA cuts 35 to 40%
    AA cuts 35 to 50%

    Landscape a year and half from now will be a lot different.

  9. Apparently DL held an employee webcast today because multiple airline sites say that DL says it will be 25% smaller 2 years from now. They still have not said where they will cut which certainly does not mean they will cut their focus cities or low cost carrier competitive hubs.
    They apparently did say that DL’s ATL-JNB flight will be routed ATL-JNB-CPT-ATL so that the route can operate within the A350’s capabilities. Apparently DL didn’t get the memo in which some suggest it will have to ditch its longhaul international flying. ATL-JNB is 600+ miles longer than JFK-BOM and nearly 1000 miles longer than LAX-SYD. CPT is 300 miles shorter than JNB but is at sea level.

  10. What was the impact to flight bookings with the national news that Dr Joseph Fair caught the COVID 19 virus on his flight back to New Orleans?

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