Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: JetBlue’s Mixed Results, Spirit’s Plane Problem, and More

Cranky Weekly Review

JetBlue Earns Profit, Future Forecast has it Feeling Blue

JetBlue’s 2nd quarter of the year was a profitable one, with the airline earning $138 million of net income on $2.61 billion gross revenue – dead even on the $2.61 billion in revenue which was predicted by Wall Street. That compares favorably to Q2 last year, when the carrier posted a $188 million loss on $2.4 billion in revenue.

But JetBlue warned of a potential net loss in the usually robust third quarter, partially due to travel patterns shifting to international destinations — mostly ones not served by JetBlue — and the end of its alliance (NEA) with American. The carrier is bracing for a 4%-8% drop in revenue this quarter compared to last year while simultaneously managing both the untangling of the NEA and its potential takeover of Spirit.

Forty-six percent of JetBlue’s flights in July arrived late, with an average delay of a whopping 85 minutes which is… *checks math*… not good.  Air traffic control constraints in the northeast lead to some concern for JetBlue this quarter as summer travel winds down this month.

The airline ended the second quarter with $1.8 billion in unrestricted cash, including six figures worth of “B6 Hearts AA” pins that are now collectors’ items and thousands of t-shirts that say “Who’s got Spirit? JetBlue does!  We’ve got Spirit…how ‘bout you?”

Spirit Grounds Planes, Expectations

Spirit warned Thursday that its Q3 revenue will take a hit as the carrier is being forced to ground seven of its A320neo aircraft due to an issue with their engines.

A “rare condition” in the powdered metal has forced about 1,200 of 3,000+ engines built by Pratt & Whitney for twin-engined A320s to be taken out of service to be inspected for micro cracks.  Spirit has seven planes that fit the bill and will be out of service through the end of the calendar year. 

The carrier announced a net loss for Q2 of $2.3 million on $1.4 billion in revenue.  That guy who wanted to propose a $2.3 million fee for printing boarding passes on construction paper — and was shot down — is looking pretty smart now, because just one of those would have gotten the carrier to break even. Load factor for the quarter was 83% with most of the missing 17% being accounted for by passengers who didn’t bring enough cash to the airport to pay the fees to board their flight.

Spirit will know by September if more planes need to be taken out of service.  It already cut capacity 5% for the month, which led to a reduction in its revenue projection by more than 7% going forward.  When asked on its earnings call if there was a bright side to any of the engine troubles, CEO Ted Christie said “Absolutely.  It’s about to all be JetBlue’s problem, and I’ll be on a beach somewhere.”

Allegiant, Viva Stuck in the Middle of U.S/Mexico Spat

Allegiant and Viva Aerobus’s quest to see their joint venture approved took an L this week as the review by the U.S. DOT was put on hold through no fault of its own, but as a pawn in a disagreement between the American and Mexican governments.

Mexico’s president introduced a new policy by fiat that all cargo-exclusive flights must shift from Mexico City Airport (MEX) to his pet boondoggle out in the Mexico City exurbs, Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA). This creates a list of logistical problems so long, the list itself has logistical problems, and that doesn’t include the U.S. government’s claim that the shift is in violation of the U.S.-Mexico Open Skies agreement.

Unfortunately for the U.S., and unfortunately for Allegiant, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador doesn’t really care what Secretary Pete thinks, and he is going forward with his plan. The DOT isn’t hiding what it’s doing – it said it would continue its review of the JV application once the situation is sorted.  But in the meantime, we’ll see who blinks first – a Mexican president who seemingly has a anti-aviation agenda and doesn’t want to be seen backing down to the United States – or the United States federal government.  Buckle up.

For more on this story, please visit Thursday’s post at

Frontier In the Black Despite Still Paying for Spirit Merger

Frontier’s Q2 earnings showed a net income of $71 million on $967 million gross revenue for the quarter, a 23% increase from 2022.  The profit comes despite the carrier still paying for its failed merger with Spirit, as it listed $1 million worth of costs related to the merger on its earnings report.

Reportedly the $1 million came in the form of fees flying on Spirit to and from Spirit headquarters to try and salvage the deal, but no one at Frontier would confirm.  Rumors state that Frontier executives attempted to travel between Frontier’s offices in Denver and Spirit’s in suburban Miami via a GoWild! pass, but even Frontier employees couldn’t get availability and constantly found themselves stuck or late to meetings.  Plan B was flying on Spirit to achieve goodwill from the Spirit team, but all Frontier did was rack up $1 million worth of fees on flying between Fort Lauderdale and Denver.

Frontier added three A321s during the quarter, giving it 126 aircraft in total, all in the A320 family.  It ended the quarter with $780 million in unrestricted cash, most of which is from people who paid for the GoWild! pass and then had to purchase a separate revenue ticket to get home from wherever they were because of the lack of availability – proving that Frontier’s plan is working just fine.

IATA Fights Brussels Proposal to Call it a Night

Brussels National Airport (BRU) is considering a proposal to ban flights at night to reduce noise pollution at the airport by prohibiting flights between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. beginning in October 2024.

In a less-than-shocking development, IATA has come out vigorously against the proposal, with the belief that the airport and Belgian government are not looking to “adopt a balanced approach enshrined in its bilateral air service agreements and European Union law.” IATA argues a balanced approached would apply flight restrictions as a last resort and not as a preemptive strike.

Brussels Airlines backs IATA’s claim that the night ban is unnecessary.  Air Belgium was not available for comment as airline executives were busy looking trolling Brussels-area fountains for coins in an effort to inject additional funds into the carrier to keep it flying.

  • Aerolíneas Argentinas is acquiring 12 Embraer E195-E2 aircraft
  • Air Astana came through with the codeshare partnership you didn’t know you needed, linking up with Azerbaijan Airlines.
  • Air Belgium needs cash and is getting desperate. If you’ve got several million euro and are in need of a tax write-off, give ’em a call.*
  • Air France-KLM is looking for cash to create a new subsidiary.
  • Air Japan, the new subsidiary of ANA will begin with its first flight on February 9. It’ll be B787-9 service between Tokyo/NRT and Bangkok.
  • Avelo is making its first foray into the Caribbean with 2x weekly service from New Haven to San Juan beginning November 15.
  • Azerbaijan Airways will merge with its low-cost operator Buta Airways. Air Astana had no comment.
  • Bonza‘s third base will be Gold Coast Airport (OOL).
  • British Airways is expanding at London/City, resuming service this winter from LCY to Milan/Linate, and upgrading San Sebastian from seasonal to year-round.
  • Etihad is shipping up to Boston.
  • Fly Gangwon now hopes to begin flying early next year.
  • Frontier is going to begin closing check-in an hour before departure beginning August 16 instead of 45 minutes prior as has been its policy.
  • JetBlue is entering a rebound relationship with Air Serbia after its ugly breAAkup.
  • Kenya Airways plans to double its cargo revenue in five years. Source: Kenya Airways
  • Korean expects passenger demand on Korean to stay strong. Source: Korean Air
  • LATAM earned a tidy sum of $145 million worth of profit for Q2.
  • LOTAIR will not be flying a lot for the next couple years.
  • Norse Atlantic celebrated the booking of its one millionth passenger. Dozens of those passengers also got to their destination on time.
  • Okay Airlines is not okay.
  • Porter is building a new passenger terminal at Montréal/St. Hubert (YHU) scheduled to open in mid-2025.
  • Rex got a new airplane. Good boy.
  • Spirit is adding three new routes this fall, with Chicago/ORD to Charlotte operating daily beginning September 6, Nashville to Miami beginning September 7 and going 4x weekly, and Nashville to Boston 6x weekly service beginning September 7.
  • Southwest is adding three Saturday-only routes beginning March 9: Baltimore to Belize City, St. Louis to Los Cabos, and Austin to San Juan.
  • SWISS is adding free on-board messaging but remains neutral about whether or not customers use it.
  • United finally fixed what ails it.
  • Wizz Air is adding 75 more airplanes.

*This should not be considered financial advice. Cranky Weekly Review provides borderline relevant aviation news with a half-hearted attempt at humor. We are not tax or financial professionals and nothing we say should be construed as tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for how you can best position Air Belgium as a write-off.

I rented a car and I’ve been trying to leave Rome all afternoon, but all their roads have a very specific design flaw.

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6 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: JetBlue’s Mixed Results, Spirit’s Plane Problem, and More

  1. I like the week’s joke!

    The links are back to doing that thing where some are red and some are black.

    1. So did I! Also liked the bit on Swiss being neutral whether their customers used the messaging system.

  2. I like you injections of humour. It’s refreshing to read about the airline industry without self-appointed experts fussing over air vents and coffee

  3. I’m surprised there wasn’t a joke about Qatar (or even Lufthansa) buying Air Belgium, but the joke and footnote about the Air Belgium tax writeoff was probably better than a shot at Qatar would have been.

  4. Regarding the Avelo flight from HVN to SJU, there’s a very sizable puertorriqueño population in Central & Southern CT.

    Puerto Rico is presumably a very heavy VFR (visiting friends & relatives) market, with a smattering of vacationers thrown in as well, and it doesn’t look like there are any nonstop flights from HPN or LGA to Puerto Rico, so the flights from HVN should provide a nice alternative to flying out of BDL (Hartford/Springfield, which is way up on the CT/MA border) or JFK/EWR.

    On the surface, in other words, the HVN-SJU route makes sense, and I hope Avelo is able to earn enough to make its flights to Puerto Rico profitable.

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