Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Southwest & JetBlue in the Black, Alaska Goes to the MAX.

Cranky Weekly Review

Southwest’s Q3 Ends $277 Million in the Black

Southwest Airlines’s Q3 fiscal earnings showed $277 million profit on record gross revenue of $6.2 billion, a 33% increase from Q3 a year ago.

The record earnings for the airline came despite an $18 million hit from Hurricane Ian and its aftermath in southwest Florida.  On the heels of its record quarter, Southwest expects a jump in revenue for Q4, with a 13%-17% increase from Q4 2019 forecasted. 

CEO Bob Jordan said this morning the carrier would increase flying as much as 8% if it had the pilot capacity to run a more ambitious schedule. Also holding WN back is a shortage of gate area stanchions and enough sodium to make its salty death mix just salty enough.

Looking forward, Southwest expects to increase capacity 10% during Q1 next year compared to 2022, with an even greater jump of 14% during Q2. Southwest closed the quarter with liquidity of $14.7 billion including vouchers for early-bird prime rib dinners across Florida management bought thinking it was for EarlyBird check-in aboard its own flights.

Alaska Places New Aircraft Order to the MAX

Alaska Airlines placed the largest airplane order in its history, starting off with 52 aircraft all from the B737 MAX family. Deliveries will begin in 2024 and continue through 2027… or 2057 if Boeing’s track record on being able to deliver airplanes remains as it is today. This will take Alaska’s fleet of MAX aircraft from 94 to 146 once deliveries are complete.

The order includes the B737-8 aircraft, B737-9, and the yet-to-be-approved B737-10. The order will lead Alaska to now become an all-Boeing fleet by the end of 2023*, using the next 14 months to ween itself off the remaining Airbus in its operation.

The 52-aircraft order comes with rights to purchase up to 105 more through 2030. Alaska already operated a fleet of 35 B737-9’s with another 43 MAX to be delivered between now and the end of next year — or roughly one airplane every 10 days. The total order and options gives Alaska the opportunity to possess more than 250 airplanes from the B737 MAX family by 2030 — or roughly when JetBlue is expected to try and buy the airline after its merger with Spirit is finally squashed after seven years of litigation.

*Only if you exclude wholly-owned subsidiary Horizon’s Embraers as well as a Convair 990 the airline found lying around in a hangar in Barrow.

JetBlue Ekes Out Q3 Profit

JetBlue Airways’s Q3 fiscal report showed a $57 million profit on $2.56 billion in revenue due to exploding costs both in running its operation and on buying a fleet of yellow airplanes it didn’t really need.

JetBlue’s $57 million profit led to a 5.4% operating margin, a tumble from the 9.4% in Q3 a year prior. The carrier plans to expand its capacity in Q4 by 1%-4% from 2019. In a twist, JetBlue says it expects to actually operate some of those new flights on schedule.

Despite turning a Q3 profit, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said the carrier would not end the year in the black, after a bumpy first half consisting of operational challenges and millions spent spray painting black X’s over the cute animals on the tails of Frontier’s aircraft. 

It ended the quarter with $2.3 billion in unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, a figure that represents 28% of its 2019 revenue. That $2.3 billion includes all of Spirit’s gate area signage, several antitrust lawyers it has on retainer, 11 cans of yellow paint, and a $109 credit on Frontier that is expected to go unused.

Hawaiian Pilots Support Plan Which Includes More Flying for Hawaiian Pilots

Pilots at Hawaiian Airlines endorsed the carrier’s new agreement with Amazon which will see HA operate 10 A330-300 converted freighters for the conglomerate for at least the next eight years.

The agreement gives Amazon the right to purchase up to 15% of Hawaiian, including its O’ahu POG juice facility. The flying will begin next fall, and will allow Amazon to phase out some of the older freighters in its fleet. 

Hawaiian will set up a pilot base on the mainland to staff the flying for Amazon in a to-be-determined city. The non-Hawai’i base is not expected to be the most popular amongst HA’s pilot roster… unless it’s in Vegas which would be the most popular base in the entire airline.

The carrier will also expand existing maintenance bases to account for the extra flying, while finally signing up for a corporate Prime account so that it can receive any needed airplane parts within 48 hours with free shipping.

Heathrow Still Has a Long Way to Go

London/Heathrow airport still needs at least 12,500 more staff to properly operate the airport at peak or near-peak capacity. This remains the case despite LHR removing its passenger cap this weekend. That cap has been holding down the number of flights and passengers since the beginning of summer.

The capacity caps will return on select days during the peak holiday season leading up to Christmas, most notably to help deal with the massive crowds that always fly on Uzbekistan Constitution Day (Dec 8), International Tea Day (Dec 15), and the biggest one of all, Festivus (Dec 23).

The airport expects to finish the calendar year with about 60 to 62 million passengers, nearly 25% less than its 2019 total. About 25,000 jobs went away during the pandemic with only about half having been filled. 

The missing 12,500 staff are most needed in critical areas such as announcing last-minute gate changes to keep passengers on their toes, security staff to let everyone waiting in line know that there isn’t enough security staff which is causing the line in the first place, and a liaison with BA to explain why your flight was canceled for no particular reason. The only area not lacking in staff is in the duty free shops which have and will always remain fully staffed until the end of time.

  • Aer Lingus will begin to wet-lease British Airways aircraft on its Belfast – London/Heathrow route.
  • Air Côte d’Ivoire is purchasing its first two widebody A330 aircraft, which we assume will also eventually fly for Amazon.
  • Alaskas new policy is that you will expire before your miles do.
  • American partnered with the Aviation Institute of Maintenance to provide a career path for those wanting to enter the workforce as aviation maintenance technicians with a passion for delaying flights, and calling another airport to ask them to send the part that’s needed because it isn’t something kept on-hand at whatever airport you’re flying out of that morning.
  • Asiana returned its lone B747-400 to passenger service.
  • British Airways‘s Chief People Officer enjoyed working at BA about as much as most customers feel flying it.
  • China Eastern took delivery of its first C919.
  • Ethiopian is adding service to Zurich.
  • Flair is in discussions to see if New Vista Acquisition, led by former Boeing CEO Dennis Mullenburg, has enough flair.
  • Hawaiian’s Q3 wasn’t amazing.
  • ITA‘s Executive President Alfredo “Sauce Me” Altavilla has been removed from his duties.
  • Kuwait Airlines received 18 airplanes.
  • Mesa lost to the Department of Labor in federal court.
  • Norwegian earned a profit of nearly $90 million in Q3 proving miracles do exist.
  • Qatar completed a slot swap at London/Heathrow with JetBlue, then decided two was better than one and completed a second swap — this time with RwandAir.
  • Rex made money.
  • RIA, a potentially fake airline, placed a very real airplane order.
  • Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said the inflationary economic environment around the world is good for business.
  • SKY express is beginning nonstop service from its Athens base to Milan/Malpensa, giving the carrier two destinations in Italy.
  • Southwest is now the official airline of Paul Quinn College, home of the Tigers. It slightly correlated news, it also announced three new routes: Denver to Myrtle Beach and Bellingham, plus Orlando to Des Moines. All three are seasonal routes operating just once per week.
  • Virgin Australias joint venture with Alliance Air is on thin ice.

Why do ghosts speak Latin?
Because it’s a dead language.

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9 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Southwest & JetBlue in the Black, Alaska Goes to the MAX.

  1. > Alaska‘s new policy is that you will expire before your miles do.

    New? It’s been on their site since at least April as far as I know.

    1. And before that if you called and asked, they’d given you a free mile the day before all your other miles expired which would extend all your miles. They’d do it even if you called after they expired.

      So this is probably mostly about preventing customer service contacts…. Oh and competing with Delta….

  2. Hey now, Alaska Airlines will be all Boeing, it’s just that Alaska Air Group won’t be.

    Oh and they gave the Convair to McGee Air services to keep the there happy.

  3. I have been raising a goat for Uzbek Constitution day! Don’t worry, I’m a vegetarian, we will be letting it loose in an orthodox park. Its such a joy.

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