JetBlue, DOJ Case Goes to Judge
Both sides in the case between JetBlue and the DOJ gave their closing arguments this week with the case now in the hands of U.S. District Judge William Young. As the case wraps up, there is a belief that the merger has a chance to survive the suit provided JetBlue is willing to divest itself of more shared assets between the two airlines.
The judge told the courtroom he was struggling with the DOJ’s request to block the merger altogether in what he called “dynamic industry facing unique opportunities and challenges in the post-COVID environment.” Legal experts have decoded that statement from the judge to mean “in an industry where no one really knows what the hell is going on or what is coming next.”
Judge Young asked the DOJ if it could see a scenario where it would allow the deal to go through with greater divestment from JetBlue, and a DOJ lawyer replied that it did not see that as possible, that only a “full-stop injunction” would ensure enough competition for consumers. Both sides are hopeful for a ruling before Christmas as the DOJ needs to get back to its main focus of putting coal in stockings, while JetBlue has holiday travelers to delay and strand at airports for days on end.
AA AAttempts AAlliance AAppeal
American Airlines filed an appeal to reverse the decision that ended its Northeast Alliance with JetBlue. This appeal is being done by AA alone, with JetBlue currently in the midst of its own legal fight and the realization that there’s seemingly no path in which JetBlue could sustain the NEA with AA and complete its takeover of Spirit.
AA’s AAttorneys said in the appeal that Judge Leo Sorokin’s decision flouted precedent and “wrongly terminated a beneficial commercial arrangement that added more flights, more seats, and more options for consumers without raising prices.” When asked to comment on the appeal, Judge Sorokin was quoted as saying “I’m rubber, and you’re glue, so whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”
The ruling against the NEA also prevented the two carriers from entering into anything resembling the NEA for 10 years and requires both to alert DOJ before entering into other agreements with other airlines. That’s the portion of the ruling AA seems focused on — not an attempt to revive the NEA but to remove the restraint on its future activities. There’s no timetable for a ruling on the appeal, a concept anyone who’s flown either American or JetBlue during a mechanical delay is familiar with.
Air Canada Might Have a Better Mousetrap
Air Canada is beginning a test that would see its aircraft de-ice on their own through self-heating strips that are permanently attached to the aircraft in key locations.
De-icing is a crucial process ensuring the safety of aircraft when operating in chilly temps, but it is often slow and costly for airlines, airports, and passengers. Possibly no airlines deal with more de-icing on a per capita basis than Air Canada, which has led it to try something new — starting out on one A320 aircraft. The process was developed by a Boston-based company with a wildly clever name — De-Ice — that was willing to take payment in maple syrup futures.
The strips generate a high-frequency current that causes electrons on the surface of the plane to jiggle, creating enough heat to melt the snow and ice on the outside of the aircraft. De-Ice is working on a smaller-scale version of the strips that can be placed around seats and used to shock Basic Economy passengers should they have the gall to request water, access to the lavs, or use of a seat belt.
EU Ruling on Korean Merger Expected in February
As Korean’s takeover of Asiana approaches its fourth calendar year, the EU is expected to announce its ruling early next year after declaring February 14 as its self-imposed deadline to make an announcement.
The European Commission put its inquiry into the combined airline on hold in the summer when it requested more information on what Korean might divest itself of to preserve competition both for passenger and cargo flights. On November 3, Korean submitted a series of concessions to the EU including a sale of Asiana’s cargo operation, ending service on four European routes and the sponsoring of a monthly catered Korean BBQ lunch at the European Commission’s headquarters for a year.
Despite making progress with the EU towards a resolution, Korean is similarly still waiting for a decision from the U.S. and Japanese governments.
Breeze Seeks Pot O’ Gold
Breeze requested FAA approval to blow across international waters with the carrier looking into beginning service both to Ireland and the Caribbean.
Breeze founder David Neeleman said his airline would utilize its fleet of A220-300s to begin international service, and it just so happens that the distance from both New York and Boston to Dublin is safely within the maximum range of the aircraft type. The three-year-old airline doesn’t have international service yet and would only operate during peak-season at first before moving on to other, money-losing routes just like most of its competitors.
- Air Canada passengers will find it easier to ride the rails in Europe.
- Air France and Lufthansa were both told to stop a series of greenwashing ads running in the UK.
- Air Transat had a customer have a bloody hard time on a recent flight.
- American came to a labor agreement with its nearly 15,000 customer service agents.
- British Airways is no longer deaf to the needs of hard-of-hearing passengers.
- Delta finally ended its CRJ-200 era. Which is good timing, but the CRJ would not work for its new service from Seattle to Taipei.
- Etihad tapped TAP to begin a codeshare.
- Frontier settled a lawsuit with female pilots over breastfeeding during non-critical phases of flights.
- ITA will operate its final flight to Milan/MXP on January 8.
- JAL will begin dedicated cargo ops in February.
- JetBlue believes in Belize.
- LOT will begin 3x weekly service to Riyadh beginning June 4.
- Qantas will now allow you to track your lost bag in real time.
- Riyadh Air will begin a cooperation pact with Turkish.
- Ryanair is opening a base in Dubrovnik in April.
- SAS is beginning its transition to Skyteam early next year.
- South African appears to be returning to Perth with 3x weekly service beginning in March.
- SKY Airline is reaching sky high for the United States.
- Thai might be about to place a large order of large airplanes.
- TUI was profitable in 2023.
- United is beginning daily, summer seasonal service between San Francisco and Barcelona on May 23.
- Vietnam Airlines formed an alliance on cargo ops with Turkish.
- Waltzing Matilda is attempting to reverse the DOT’s decision to cancel its operating certificate.
Doctor: “Sir, it turns out we’re going to have to amputate two fingers off your right hand due to the hypothermia you experienced.”
Patient: “Will I still be able to write with my right hand after the procedure?”
Doctor: “Maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it.”