Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: AA Makes a Connection, FAA Extends Slot Relief, and More…

Cranky Weekly Review

American Could Connect with Connect

Connect Airlines, a startup carrier that supposedly plans to begin flying Q400s out of Toronto/City (YTZ) to destinations in the United States has a new potential investor – American Airlines.

The carrier, which is trying to imitate much of what Porter does out of YTZ is a couple years tardy on its plan to launch service, but now believes it’ll be in the air by the end of 2023.  It revealed in a DOT filing that “a major U.S. airline will become a shareholder in Connect with the stated intention of taking a larger position over the next three years.” The filing did not name the airline but did say the proposed carrier was based in Fort Worth, Texas, its name contained alliteration, and it rhymes with “Schamerican Schairlines.”

The investment from the unnamed airline is expected to come after Connect receives FAA approval to operate and will be part of a $40 million Series B equity raise. American is the only airline out of the Big 3 in the country without a Canadian partner and would end that by connecting with Connect. As part of a potential new partnership, rumors exist that American will begin including maple syrup with all meals in first class, regardless of what the meal actually is. Pancakes for breakfast? Maple syrup. Chicken caesar salad for lunch? Maple syrup. Short ribs at dinner time? Maple syrup. Ice cream sundae? Yep, maple syrup.

FAA Extends NYC Slot Waiver

The FAA agreed to extend the current NYC slot waiver through October 28 at the behest of Airlines4America, the trade group representing most U.S. carriers.

The FAA has allowed airlines to return up to 10% of their slots at the three NYC-based airports to help relieve the strain on the ATC system without putting their slots at risk, but whether or not the scheme has worked is left to the eye of the beholder. A4A petitioned the FAA to extend the slot waiver through the IATA’s defined summer travel season at the end of October because the NYC ATC congestion seemingly hasn’t improved and adding another 10% of flights back into the system next month would likely not end well for anybody.

The waiver extension also applies to the slot-controlled Washington/National airport, where carriers can cut up to 10% of their flights to the NYC area without risking the loss of any slots.

As an alternative to reducing the number of daily flights, the FAA also encouraged airlines to upgauge aircraft on some routes to maximize the number of seats available while keeping as few flights in the air as possible.  The airlines said they’d be happy to do just that, provided the government was willing to pay the fuel bill on flying a B777 between Newark and Akron.

Delta Expands Partnership with Kenya Airways

Delta Air Lines announced an expansion of its codeshare partnership with SkyTeam partner Kenya Airways as Delta will now place its DL code on KQ’s flights between Nairobi and New York/JFK.

The codeshare on NBO-JFK began earlier this week and includes the two extending reciprocity in their respective loyalty programs. That will give Delta customers access to KQ’s recently launched Asante Rewards program, while customers throughout Africa will get to participate in the uniquely American experience of learning just how worthless SkyMiles really are.

This builds on the expansion of the agreement last summer when the KQ code was placed on Delta flights from JFK to five destinations in the northeast and the DL code was place on KQ flights to Accra, Freetown, and Monrovia.

Italian Government Caps Fares to Sardinia and Sicily

The Italian government is forbidding carriers from raising the price to fly between the Italian mainland and Sardinia and Sicily at no more than 200% of the average price of the flight.  But as one would expect from the Italian government, it didn’t clarify what the average price was that the cap would be based on.

The government came to this after LCC fares to both islands have shot up in recent months, with Ryanair leading the charge. Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson called the new policy “illegal” and was seen burning sage over a photo of Italian prime minister Girogia Meloni at Ryanair’s corporate HQ.  The European Commission is looking into the matter and says it will receive “more detailed information on the precise content of the measure at stake,” from the Italian government. EU allow does not permit price regulation except in specific EAS-like routes that serve a public good.

The cap is not expected to be required of flag carrier ITA Airways because the government claimed “no one with a right mind would fly ITA, so what’s the point?”

When asked to comment about Ryanair calling the scheme illegal, PM Meloni said she “looked at the fees Ryanair charges for a flight between Manchester and Milan, and if anything is illegal it’s that customers actually fall for their pricing scheme and seat pitch offerings.

Lufthansa Asks for Help

Lufthansa is offering a €200 bonus every time a flight attendant agrees to work on a day off as the carrier stares down a cabin crew staffing shortage for the remainder of the summer.

The carrier supposedly chose not to hire temporary FAs for the summer, and those chickens have come home to roost – as it cannot adequately staff what’s left of its summer schedule. In addition to the €200 bonus per flight, LH is also offering up €250 for per volunteer day, and another €100 to every crew member working a flight staffed below the contracted minimum standard.

Then, another €100 is up-for-grabs for FAs who take on the purser role on long-haul flights, while €1000 is available for any employee who can name every subsidiary of Lufthansa and Lufthansa Group.  CEO Carsen Spohr admitted the FA’s were keeping the carrier afloat by working extra hours, something that the labor unions are likely to remind him when the next round of labor negotiations come around.

  • Air India has a new livery and it’s…something.
  • Air Montenegro says it has a strategy, so it’s got that going for it…which is nice.
  • airBaltic has no plans to purchase Nordica, says airBaltic.
  • Azores Airlines is the target of a bidding war.
  • Cathay Pacific is adding airplanes.
  • Copa‘s Q2 profit was $17.5 million.
  • Endeavor Air completed the endeavor of adding its first E175.
  • Ethiopian Airlines is adding London/Gatwick to its route map.
  • flydubai will wet-lease four B737-800s from Smartwings for use this fall through next spring.
  • Israir is acquiring two more A320s.
  • Jazeera Airways posted a $20 million profit in the first half of 2023.
  • KLM is delaying the retirement of its A330 fleet until later this decade.
  • Kuwait Airlines is adding 3x weekly flights to Barcelona beginning October 30, 3x weekly to Taif (TIF) beginning December 10, and 3x weekly to Washington/Dulles beginning December 15.
  • Loganair is expected to have an offer to be purchased in the next few weeks.
  • Mesa put a $47.6 million loss on the table.
  • Myanmar National Airlines swears its not smuggling fuel for Myanmar’s ruling junta. Source: Myanmar National Airlines.
  • Nauru Airlines added the first B737-800F in Australian history.
  • Oman Air is being restructured. Oh man.
  • PIA is restructuring. That should fix everything.
  • PLAY wants more airplanes to play with.
  • Riyadh Air is still years from flying, but it’s now the jersey sponsor of Atlético de Madrid in Spain’s La Liga. For those who do not speak Spanish, La Liga of course is Spanish for The liga.
  • SpiceJet picked a bad thyme to run out of money. Again.
  • Thai and Turkish stopped flirting and made it official, signing an MOU with the eventual aim of forming a JV.
  • TUI returned to profitability for the first time since the pandemic.
  • Virgin Atlantic pilots voted 96% in favor of a strike in a non-binding vote.
  • Western Global Airlines filed for bankruptcy.

My grief counselor died over the weekend.

But she was so good at her job, I didn’t even care.

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3 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: AA Makes a Connection, FAA Extends Slot Relief, and More…

  1. I don’t have a lot of faith in how well this whole Connect Airlines idea is going to work. They basically sound like they want (as far as YTZ is concerned) to be like Porter. But we already have an airline that’s like Porter. It’s called Porter.

    I wonder if AA ever talked to Porter about a partnership, since the Raccoon’s plans, if they work out, would make a much stronger partner for intra-Canadian flights, similar to what UA and DL have with AC and Westjet.

    The Italian government’s action for flights to Sardinia and Sicily is…something. I suspect that by “average price” they mean the annual average price for a given route, and they’re looking to reduce seasonal variance. But since we’re dealing with the Italian government here, I could be wrong and they’re talking about some sort of “average domestic fare”. Perhaps they want to try to run non-Italian airlines off the routes? It’ll be interesting to see how the EU responds and how long the EU drags its feet on responding – in the past, the EU has been very willing to let Italy get away with shenanigans where airlines are involved.

    And as for that new Air India livery and logo? Not good. Really not good.

  2. Today, Saturday, August 12, 2023 is the last day (for now) of the WN Saturday-only weekly LGB-MCO nonstop flight. I wonder how load factors were for the five weeks that WN operated the route? Intriguing – as one would expect WN to operate a LAX-MCO nonstop – even though that route is full of non-stop competition (AA, B6, DL, NK, UA).

    I’m taking this from memory, I believe the MCO-LAX route ranks as the 12th busiest route from MCO.


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