Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: United Grows in Asia, American and United are Rolling in Cash, and More

Cranky Weekly Review

United No Longer as Vanilla as it Adds Service to Manila

United Airlines announced an expansion from the west coast to Asia including becoming the only U.S. airline to fly to Manila from the mainland United States.  The new flight will represent United’s first time operating from the mainland to MNL since 1998.

United’s new service will begin on October 29 and will operate daily from San Francisco on a Boeing 777-300ER.  The flight will be blocked at 15:15 going west and a speedy 12:25 going east.  The B777-300ER is the largest airplane in United’s fleet and comes with a whopping 350 seats – 60 in Polaris, 24 premium economy, 62 Economy Plus and 204 for the hoi palloi in the back. The aircraft can also accommodate a handful of customers with handles on the wings designed for passengers who book basic economy to
hang on tight. Manila is currently served by United from both Guam and Palau – this will be the first service from the mainland by a US carrier since Delta’s one-stop Detroit – Tokyo – Manila operated in 2017, if you count that.

In addition to Manila, United is also adding a new flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, giving it 3x daily service to the island when including its 2x daily flights from SFO.

UA’s San Francisco to Taipei service will double from 1x to 2x daily beginning October 29, while LAX to Tokyo/NRT will resume on October 28, giving United flights from Los Angeles to both Tokyo airports.

American AAnnounces Strong Q2, Wary About Q3

American Airlines Q2 earnings showed record highs as expected, with the airline raking in $14.06 billion in gross revenue – a 4.7% jump from a year ago.

The $14 billion in revenue led to a profit of $1.3 billion, with a significant chunk of the revenue being led by close-in bookings – giving AA a monopoly on the class of traveler who waits until the last minute and has little or no choice what airline to use.  American achieved its best April, May, and June ever for controllable completion factors – which means it completed all its flights – except for the ones it didn’t.

The carrier did rAAise a concern for the second half of the year, saying it expects revenue to drop more than 6% in the third quarter, despite capacity growth of 7% compared to Q3 2022.

American finished the quarter with $14.9 billion in liquidity.  It actually had an even $15 billion before having to awkwardly clean out a closet with all of JetBlue’s stuff that it had moved into AA’s headquarters.  As with any emotional breakup, American CEO Robert Isom eventually had to put all of JetBlue’s belongings in a box and leave it outside for them to pick up – causing its liquidity to drop under the magical $15 billion mark.

United’s Record Breaking Q2

United Airlines raised its full-year outlook after announcing an off-the-charts 2nd quarter, in which the airline profited $1.1 billion on $14.2 billion, a 17% increase from last year. 

United’s high revenue numbers showed domestic revenue and margins returning to pre-pandemic levels while international margins blew past pre-pandemic marks.  UA paid just $2.66 at the pump during Q2, spending 26% less on fuel than 2022 and that’s before applying its price club gas discount card.

Capacity was up 17.5% in the quarter, but most of that increase was used by the remaining NYC-based air traffic controllers doing whatever they could to flee the NYC area for the summer. The airline ended the quarter with just under $10 billion in cash and that’s only because it couldn’t get the government to take its bribe to move ATC staff from the midwest to New York for the rest of the year.

A Breeze Blows in Southwest Florida

Breeze is adding nine new routes from Fort Myers, the popular airport located just a stone’s throw from Del Boca Vista in SW Florida.  The new service will grow Breeze’s presence at the airport from just five destinations to 13.

The new destinations are:

  • Akron-Canton
  • Columbus
  • Louisville
  • New Orleans
  • Norfolk
  • Pittsburgh
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Richmond
  • Syracuse

Eight of the nine will operate 2x weekly, with Pittsburgh flexing its muscles, operating 3x weekly to start.  All nine will begin service in November with MSY and ORF starting November 2 and the rest beginning between November 15 and 17.  The new cities will give Breeze 58 nonstop routes from Florida, some which operate on days and at times that work for a small portion of its customers base.

Aha! ExpressJet Isn’t Completely Dead

Regional carrier ExpressJet isn’t dead yet. The airline which was dropped by United during the pandemic, then re-invented itself in 2021 as aha!, a Reno-based airline that lasted about a year before going under, has a new path to survival.

ExpressJet 3.0 (or is it 4.0?) now wants to be a B777 charter operator.  The airline filed a request for a 90-day extension before its air operator certificate expires.  The airline is now owned by a company called Polaris 8, known for its deep-rooted love of United’s business class.  The new owner wants to start a new charter airline with a single B777-200ER – specifically 771LG, a 18-year old plane that flew for JAL in a previous life and is currently owned by Logistic Air.  By what appears to be mere coincidence, Polaris 8 is also a subsidiary of…Logistic Air!

So what’s really happening here is Polaris 8, via Logistic Air, wants to launch an airline using ExpressJet’s AOC, keeping ExpressJet active in name only.  Considering its recent history, having someone else run its AOC might be ExpressJet’s best chance for survival – or not.

  • Air Canada listened to its customers and will be refunding for cancelled flights in a timely manner and improving its on-time performance finally offering Aperol Spritz and oat milk as on-board beverage options.
  • Air France-KLM has $562 million more than it had last week.
  • American‘s agreement with its pilots isn’t looking as good as it once did.
  • ANA‘s partnership for frequent fliers with Virgin Australia is live.
  • Arkia is being sued by a Swiss aircraft interior firm.
  • Asiana doesn’t want to pay money back to the Korean government.
  • Avelo is finally adding service from Orlando to the hot spot of Wausau, WI (CWA) with 2x weekly service.
  • British Airways debuted a fancy new rosé bar.
  • Cabo Verde Airlines turned things up to the max.
  • Cathay Pacific‘s air cargo volume was up 6.4% in June. The carrier also announced it was adding a whopping 58,240 new seats to Perth, presumably to be spread out over several flights and not just operated once on a giant airplane.
  • Emirates opened its new lounge in Munich.
  • EW Discover is going to rebrand because Lufthansa’s 10,000 strong workforce dedicated solely to branding and re-branding has run out of projects.
  • Finnair turned a tidy profit.
  • JAL will begin daily Dreamliner service from Tokyo/Haneda to Doha next summer.
  • Malaysia Airlines will take delivery of its first B737 MAX 8 next month.
  • mas is adding mas airplanes.
  • Nepal Airlines repaid the $28 million it owed the Nepali government.
  • Northern Pacific is batting .500.
  • Oman Air signed on to be the new global airline partner of Chelsea FC.
  • Qatar won’t be adding anymore flights to Australia if the Australian government has anything to say about it.
  • Rex is leasing two more B737-800 aircraft, because it isn’t losing enough money yet.
  • Royal Air Maroc wants more airplanes.
  • Ryanair still plans to fly to Ukraine in the future.
  • Rwandair knows London is calling.
  • Southwest was very blunt in its decision to add to its board of directors.
  • Turkish spun off its LCC AnadoluJet into a new, wholly-owned subsidiary.
  • Virgin Atlantic is going to end up buying a passenger free coffee for life.
  • World2Fly is beginning service on the criminally underserved route of Madrid to Samaná, DR.

My geography teacher asked if I could name a country with no “R” in it.

I thought for a long while and finally looked up and said “No way.”

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13 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: United Grows in Asia, American and United are Rolling in Cash, and More

  1. Ah, yet another Lufthansa Group rebrand. Just what the world needed. And I’ll get to explain to at least a few more friends here in Tampa that “yeah, this is really Lufthansa, they’re OK.” (Same with Edelweiss, ultimately.)

    1. Had to read through the post 4 times over before I figured out which piece of news you were referring to.

      It almost feels like Lufthansa has a small army of graphic designers and marketers that it must keep 100% fully occupied at all times, lest they revolt and lead an insurrection. “Lufthansa Group rebrand” happens every month or two, it seems, before the paint is even dry on the previous rebrand.

  2. Northern Pacific shows us what would happen if Avatar Airlines ever started flying. Friday’s flight managed to be 90 minutes late, wonder if they will be able to get pax home from LAS?

  3. Does United actually expect to make money flying to Manila? Hawaiian and Delta both stopped because fares were so low and they couldn’t compete with Philippine Airlines.

    1. For starters, United can make money connecting people to Manila from the 200+ cities in the US that Philippines doesn’t fly to.

      1. Of course they can fly people from Manila to smaller US cities but it doesn’t mean they can make money. It’s a very long flight on a big airplane filled with price-sensitive VFR passengers.

        Codeshare and interline fares are already available and cheap to many places anyway.

        1. Philippines doesn’t code share with any US airlines. This will allow anybody with nonstop United service to SFO to have a single connection to Manila whereas now it’s nearly all double connections or even having to get separate tickets to a Philippines market.

          Many travelers, even VFR, will pay more to make this long trip much shorter and far more convenient.

          1. Philippine Airlines (and travel agents) already sell tickets through LAX, SFO, and JFK to AA, AS, and DL. That already covers a huge number of US destinations with a single connection on a single ticket, without being especially expensive.

            United will add a handful more smaller destinations and be a bit more convenient but most opportunities are already there.

          2. I disagree. PAL is packed with price sensitive Filipinos anxious to visit or return to their poverty stuck country. I guess they are used to stepping over children sleeping on sidewalks and in parks. If you are a foreigner (meaning white) and you give money or talk to a cild under age of 18 and parent not present, you can be charged with Human Trafficking AND charged with crime of being with a child under age of 18. Of course a Filippino isn’t breaking the law to give peso to those kids.

    2. Jason – Manila is a tough market. It’s big, but the fares are garbage.
      United is doing the right thing putting its biggest airplane on the route.
      You don’t have trouble filling seats and you just need to drive down those costs. I think the best strategy here is to put a $300 bag fee in place, and then it’ll mint money! But it’s definitely a hard market.

  4. I’m shocked, SHOCKED that LH sees an issue with the Eurowings Discover branding. I mean, how could it possibly be confused with it’s stablemate, Eurowings? Everyone should know they’re different. Just like the bazillion other disparate holdings that LH non-sensically runs.

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