Reviewing Your 2023 Predictions and Making Your 2024 Picks


It’s the most wonderul time of the year… when we get to go over all your predictions from last year and see how you did. Of course, we need to remember that when you all wrote down your predictions last year, we were just coming off an epic Southwest meltdown. A whole bunch of your predictions were around that mess.

Once again this year, I’m just going to comment on the predictions that came true. If you took the opposite position on one of these, well, then your comment will appear there as well. But if you were on your own with an incorrect prediction, no need to shine a spotlight. You can find yourself in the Graveyard at the bottom.

Remember to leave your predictions for 2024 in the comments. As always, I will only consider the first prediction you make when I evaluate guesses next year. Anything after the first will be ignored in the review. Some of you tried to get tricky this year with run-on predictions, but I still stuck with only the first part on those.

Southwest Meltdown Impact

  • Jim M – Some heads are going to have to roll. Or they take the easy route and announce a multi-billion dollar project to bring their systems into the 21st century.
  • LUV lost – Gary Kelly will no longer be chairman of the board as it comes to light of his gutting the SWA operation and employee moral. His legacy will be the man that destroyed Herb’s airline.
  • Mike G – The DOT does not issue any penalties for the Southwest meltdown (currently) occurring over Christmas 2022 and Southwest will have at least 1 non-weather mass cancellation event in 2023 as their out of date internal systems continue to fail.
  • Vickiejanks – There will not be full regulation but the government will step in with some kind of program to help travelers (like EU 261) after the major southwest meltdown.
  • Flyguywestend2 – Southwest will have a major management shakeup to to the Christmas meltownI Bob Jordon is out
  • PF – Southwest’s Board of Directors reacts to the December 2022 meltdown with a statement of LUV for the leaders managing the crisis. A few months later, the exit doors open, the sides deploy for (voluntary) evacuations to “spend more time with the family”, and golden parachutes appear over Love Field.
  • DaveSSSS – Secretary Pete will puff his chest and spend a week on TV trying to demonstrate competence by announcing a “record setting fine” for Southwest’s 2022 Christmas meltdown only to quietly reduce that fine to peanuts three months later while privately apologizing to Bob Jordan for initially being so mean to Southwest.
  • Brad Kratz – Southwest will reorganize themselves and return to their roots as a fun loving customer and employee oriented airline that Herb envisioned. Heads will roll and back steps will be taken to return the airline to what it once was. There will be major upgrades in technology and dare I say it……a charge for baggage.
  • Sammy – In 2023, Southwest -finally- gets started on a building a real IT Ops infrastructure
  • Angry Bob Crandall – The FAA will temporarily assign an administrator to oversee Southwest.
  • Isaac Pischer – Following the havoc of the 2022 Christmas holiday, Southwest significantly cuts back their operation, but fails to upgrade IT infrastructure.
  • Drew Erickson – Flyers will quickly forget Southwest’s Christmas breakdown and booking will grow as travelers default to the best deal and convenient schedules.
  • SAN Greg – In a relatively short amount of time people will forget about the 2022 holiday meltdown and SWA will be just as relevant as ever.
  • Austin787 – Southwest will rebound nicely as the holiday meltdown becomes a distant memory and people book on Southwest as long as the price or schedule is right.
  • SEASFO – 2023 is not kind to Southwest as a lot of self-inflicted wounds rise to the surface. The airline suffers at least one more major operational meltdown like those seen in 2021 and 2022, highlighting its failure to invest in upgrading its IT infrastructure. The airline also faces an identity crisis from trying to be too many things to too many people-attempting to both compete against the full service carriers and the ULCCs. This results in them retrenching to their bread and butter of intra-state point-to-point service in California and Texas, and continuing to try to duke it out against Hawaiian with interisland Hawai’i services. Medium haul services such as Mainland US to Hawai’i and Transcon are reduced.
  • Kilroy – Despite much hot air from Washington and a few “programs” and “initiatives” on airline reliability/cancellations that sound good in the news but which achieve little (think “Pax Bill of Rights” but without much in terms of specifics or consequences), Southwest’s 2022 holiday meltdown will create a minimal/small amount of additional airline regulation, as politicians and airlines know that the majority of voters (i.e., those infrequent fliers who travel < 3x roundtrips/year) show by their actions that they’d prefer much lower fares to much greater reliability & service.

So many of you said that heads would roll in the aftermath of Southwest’s epic meltdown last winter, but that did not happen. No heads rolled, probably because it was already a new operations leader who had just taken over. It took them a full year, but there was a fairly substantial fine that was just announced by the feds along with Southwest agreeing to a policy of providing at least a $75 voucher for delays within Southwest’s control of more than 3 hours. This isn’t de jure regulation here, but I’ll still give Vickiejanks credit.

In general, Drew Erickson, SAN Greg, and Austin787 got it right. People went back to flying Southwest. There’s some question about whether recent revenue issues are related to a meltdown hangover, but I don’t think that’s likely.

JetBlue, the NEA, and the Spirit Merger

  • Ryan S – Prediction: AA-JetBlue NEA gets approved in the courts but with serious restrictions on operations out of Boston (Delta has given too much of a competitive response to argue the alliance is anti-competitive). As a result, when B6 and NK are up for merger review, the DOJ says: “pick one… AA or NK”. Then we get to see what really matters to B6. I’d assume they’ll choose AA, declare bankruptcy over the Spirit breakup-fee, and then split off their assets to the prettiest bidder.
  • Zack Rules – Jetblue-Spirit merger will be approved but without the Northeast Alliance and will require significant slot divesture.
  • Cody c – The spirit/jetblue merger gets approved, but at the cost of the nea
  • Professor of Points – The NE Alliance will live.
  • Bravenav – JetBlue enters Toronto and Montreal.
  • Dan P – I predict JetBlue will announce a new European destination for 2024. my top choices are Dublin and/or Barcelona (if just one of the two becomes true i’ll be happy) but I also think other European cities may be possible like FRA, AMS, or MAN.
  • ChuckMO – I predict that if the B6 purchase of NK is finalized in the first half of ’23, the current combined route map will look very different by Dex 31, 2023. At least on the NK side of things.
  • emac – I’ll take the under: B6 abandons its NK purchase.

As we all know by now, the NEA is dead. But the Spirit merger? That’s still TBD, so we can’t announce any winners for that. The one prediction that was right for JetBlue? Dan P got a new European destination. Actually, he got two: both Dublin and Amsterdam joined the network.

Boeing Certification and More

  • Evan – Boeing will have a major management change after continuing to fall behind airbus.
  • Jonathan – Beset by troubles at both its Commercial and Military divisions, Boeing opts for a management shakeup. New CEO is probable; I wouldn’t rule out changes at BCA and BDS.
  • 727200 – Boeing does something really dumb like close most of Everett.
  • southbay flier – Boeing fails to announce a suitable replacement for the 757/767 angering the three largest US based airlines.
  • Tobin Sparfeld – Boeing will announce it will make a freighter version of the 787.
  • Greengsg9 – The B737 MAX will get MAX7 certified by the FAA, but certification will be denied by EASA without a cockpit alert system
  • Ken W – FAA finally certifies the Boeing 737-700 MAX

The year was not kind for those predicting anything big happening with Boeing. The 737-7 MAX still isn’t certified, and there were no big management shake-ups. Boeing just continues to do Boeing things. But hey, you were right with your negative prediction, southbay flier. Boeing did not announce a middle of the market airplane.

Labor Unions

  • Brian – I predict that at the end of 2023, at least one of the pilot labor groups at the four largest airlines (AA, DL, UA or WN) still does not have a collective bargaining agreement ratified. There will be no strikes authorized in 2023 and no strike on the horizon for 2024.
  • WN – At least one of the major North American based airline pilot groups (American, Southwest, UPS, Air Canada, and/or Atlas) with Independent Unions will switch to ALPA.
  • CallScheduling – All of the big 4 will have new pilot contracts ratified by the end of the year.
  • Kevin – AFA gets enough cards to call for a vote at Delta.

We have a winner, Brian… or maybe CallScheduling. It was a big year for big pilot contracts, but at the time of writing we had only an Agreement in Principle for Southwest’s pilots. It’s still good news and that means we are getting awfully close to the end, but we won’t quite be over the finish line by the end of the year. So, half credit to each of you?

Edit: Full credit absolutely does go to WN. I missed that Air Canada had joined up with ALPA, so my apologies! 

Lufthansa and Its Brands

  • Angetenar – Lufthansa buys a stake in ITA and TAP Air Portugal
  • Simon – airline consolidation in Europe. Possibly easyjet is absorbed by another LCC, but more likely another flag carrier joining either IAG or Lufthansa.
  • Greg M – Lufthansa will create at least one more subsidiary/affiliate for no apparent reason.

Half credit for you, Angetenar. Lufthansa did indeed buy a stake in ITA but the other shoe did not drop with TAP… yet. Simon, we’ll give you some credit too for ITA joining the Lufthansa empire. And Greg M… chef’s kiss for you. Lufthansa is starting City Airlines because it just felt people weren’t confused enough.

New York Gates

  • SEAN – In 2023 the PANYNJ will announce new terminal construction at both Newark & JFK. At EWR, a replacement for terminal B & at JFK a replacement for terminal 7. In addition, expansions to terminals 1 & 4 will be under way for much needed gate capacity.

We’ll give you some partial credit here, SEAN. JFK does have the new Terminal 1 underway, and that will be welcome when it’s done. But Newark has not yet settled on its Terminal B replacement plan. And JFK, well, it’s putting Terminal 6 on the footprint of the current Terminal 7, but that was already announced last year.

Northern, er, New Pacific

  • Outer Space Guy – Russian Airspace Restrictions will doom Northern Pacific’s business model of running its own 757s to Asia, and Alaska Airlines will prevent NP from having any sort of substantial operation out of Anchorage. They may not make it to year’s end.
  • Yo – Northern Pacific Airlines manages to start service to ??? and will disappear about as fast as California Pacific Airlines. Need a 757? They got them up for sale.

Northern Pacific may not have made it to year-end, but that’s only because it had to change its name to New Pacific due to a fight with the railroad. But Outer Space Guy, you were right that the Russian airspace issues doomed the Anchorage Transpacific hub. But New Pacific is still chugging along down in the lower 48.

China Coming Back

  • Hammer – In 2023 more nonstop routes from the US to China will be restarted, however a vast majority of those routes will be on Chinese airlines as US airlines realize that adding capacity to China isn’t as profitable as adding capacity to other parts of the world.
  • Dolphin – As China reopens, UA will make a massive push back into the country to cover the pent-up demand of Chinese nationals living in the US going back to see family and Chinese tourists visiting the US, even as most Americans still avoid visiting China. UA will restore the majority of its pre-pandemic routes to China and add at least one new market, potentially IAD-PVG, which will require cutting some transatlantic capacity. AA and DL will be much slower to reenter the Chinese market.
  • John G – American reintroduces DFW-China flights in the next few months, probably starting with Beijing and Shanghai.

Hammer was right. There was a return to some more Chinese routes, but it wasn’t mostly on Chinese carriers. Government restrictions still have hampered a full return. US carriers restarted five routes while Chinese carriers resumed 7. One of those routes was indeed DFW – Shanghai, so nice work there, John G.

Demand Steadies

  • Eric in ICT – in the second half of 2023, demand stabilizes, bringing fares back down significantly. Not to pandemic levels, but making domestic and European round trips more affordable again.

I’ll give this to you, Eric in ICT. Demand did stabilize and fares dropped… only in the domestic market. It’s the international market that remains red hot.

Southern Airways Express

  • Kenneth – Southern Airways Express continues finishes another year as the fastest growing airline in the country, despite a refusal of avgeeks to acknowledge it. SAE and Contour lead the growth, as 135 carriers replace 121 regionals in many small markets. The surge of new pilots recruited in 2020 and 2021 leads the pendulum to shift yet again – not to furloughs (yet) but to regional class dates being suspended. Furloughs by 2024.
  • Randolf – 2023 prediction: that sae experiment in the pacific will fail (marianas southern airways)

Southern Airways Express isn’t growing all that fast, but Randolf was absolutely right. Marianas Southern is no more.

Air Canada in Calgary

  • Calvin – Air Canada cuts Calgary further but refuses to officially demote it from hub to focus city.

Yessir, Calvin. Air Canada keeps cutting back in Calgary. Four routes that flew in 2022 went away in 2023 (Castlegar, Fort St John, Honolulu, and Yellowknife). Overall, departures in 2023 were down more than 30 percent versus 2022.

British Airways IT Meltdown

  • BRMM – BA will have an IT meltdown that substantially delays operations.

This one was apparently too easy, BRMM. There was one in May, and I think there were more. It’s hard to keep track of them all.

Air India’s Big Order

  • Vburj76 – Air India finalizes the largest aircraft order in history (around 450-500 aircraft). Includes 777x, 787, a350, 737 Max, and a320Neo.

Vburj76 should be renamed Nostradamus. Air India ordered 470 airplanes including some of every type mentioned in the prediction. Do you happen to run the airline?

Condor Orders More

  • Justin L – Condor will announce an expanded order for A330-900neos, due to success in competing against Lufthansa mainline on key business routes

Good call, Justin L. Condor tagged on another three of the airplanes in October.

Delta Makes Plans

  • Scott Clausen – Delta exercises options for more A223s and 321neos and orders A350-1000s
  • Justin – DL finally picks up the slack that VA left behind: MEL/BNE/AKL, +/- on a season basis.

That’s one-third credit for both of you, Scott Clausen and Justin. Delta did indeed exercise 12 options on the A220-300s and Delta went into Auckland, but the rest did not come to fruition.

The World’s Largest Airline

  • Tory – United will be the country’s and the world’s largest carrier during the summer season of 2023 measured by scheduled ASMs, mainly on the basis of its restored international service, while AA and DL will struggle to restore their international service to the same extent.

Tory is back, and this time, it was a win. The IATA summer season ran from March 26 through October 29. United was the largest airline in the world according to Cirium data with 183.3 billion available seat miles. Delta was second at 171.4 billion while American was third at 170.9 billion.

The Graveyard of Failed Predictions

  • Billy L. – US Regional operations as we know it will completely collapse due to the continued crew/pilot shortage along with scope. The big carriers would replace these with small mainline (A220, EJet, etc.) as a result.
  • Ian L – An airline will announce new regular TATL or TPAC service (so, not a SXSW one-off) from AUS, though flights may not start until 2024. WN and AA will continue to duke it out.
  • Jonas – Airbus will announce/launch a new aircraft variant and wreak even more havoc on their numerology – I am just not sure which one: A220-500, A322/A325 (longer 321), A330-1000 (longer -900), or A350-1100 (or -2000?) (longer -1000).
  • jan – I think they will re-introduce the 380 with more fuel efficient engines
  • GS in PDX – Airbus will launch the A220-500 to compete directly with the 737MAX8
  • Mike K – Airbus launches A220-500 and Delta orders 100+
  • Bill from DC (aka Cranky Gazelle?) – CLE finally pulls the trigger on a $1B plus mostly brand new airport thus ending decades of partially renovating and piecing together a collection of mostly ancient concourses. Rental cars will be moved back on site ending the ridiculous current consolidated setup located approximately 23.6 miles away from the terminal.
  • Wes – FAA finally caves and removes the 1500 hour rule.
  • CraigTPA – Porter will throttle back trans-continental Canadian expansion a little as the Canadian LCCs launch a polite, maple syrup-scented, but somewhat brutal fare war to see who (if anyone) survives, but speed up expansion to the US including deeper cooperation with JetBlue, adding at least JFK* and FLL.
  • O’Hare Is My Second Home – UA will reveal that 3/4ths of its 737 MAX order will be for the MAX 7 and MAX 10 (split about 1/3rds and 2/3rds). Retirement of their A319s and 757s will be announced to begin in Q4 of 2014.
  • Greg – SEA and by extension AS will continue to perform horribly in ice or snow events in 2023
  • SkyVoice – I predict that the new FIS office at Grand Rapids, Michigan will result in service to Canada being restored at GRR.
  • Ayesha Nicole – A 737 MAX will crash somewhere in the world, causing a panic about another grounding, until it’s clear that it was not related to the plane’s design.
  • Chris – Emirates expands their code share relationship with United and announces desire to join Star Alliance.
  • BusBlitz – Denver International Airport gains new international service from an Asian airline (EK or TK)
  • Noah – United launches a new European destination from Denver
  • Brian G. – I predict a major US regional airline (Air Wisconsin, Mesa, Republic, SkyWest, etc.) or a trade group will lobby the government for the establishment of a European-style Multi-crew Pilot License (MPL) for FOs of regional jets. (i.e. accelerated training that is reliant on simulators for a large part). I do not predict the FAA will be in favor.
  • BJ – Virgin Australia will have an IPO after reporting ‘outstanding results’. Share price will subsequently tank.
  • Douglas – Virgin Australia decides that, seeing as it is partnered with five Star Alliance members already, it may as well go the whole hog and become a member itself. Air New Zealand gets upset as a result.
  • David C – United will pass the 700 daily departures at Denver
  • MK03 – at least one airline in 2023 will announce it is retiring the A380. Which one? Who knows.
  • Isaac – Either Breeze or Avelo will cease operations.
  • Specter Koen – Frontier attempts to court (or is courted by) another US LCC into a merger/buyout. Talks will happen, though a firm deal won’t be made by year end.
  • Denero – The Romanian government will try to pawn off Blue Air or seek another form of private investment, if it doesn’t cease its operations beforehand due to increased competition or a failure to find investors that is.
  • SubwayNut – Pete Buttigieg’s administration approves the Viva Aerobus/Allegiant Airlines joint venture but this doesn’t result in a non-stop flight being launched between South Bend and Cancun, which was only a ploy by Viva Aerobus/Allegiant Airlines to get Pete Buttigieg’s attention. (which would be the South Bend Airport’s first regularly scheduled international flight, U.S. Customs did open a FIS station in South Bend in 2019 so the airport is ready to welcome this type of flight).
  • Wingzz – SAS goes bust and the rump is bought by some combination of Finnair, IAG and Qatar, with long haul flying refocused mainly on HEL.
  • Mar – At least one Canadian ULCC/LCC ceases operations.
  • ktenorman – In 2023 United will reopen a station at OAK with several flights per day to DEN, and maybe a redeye to EWR + summer seasonal to ORD and/or IAH. Would help for SFO diversions and overflow too.
  • Magres – China Air will resume both their one stop TPE-NRT-HNL and non-stop TPE-HNL routes.
  • Jason Graham – A 2nd major airline will announce switching inflight internet to Starlink.
  • Chesapeake Charlie – Elon Musk makes an offer to purchase Southwest Airlines, offering a 50% premium over the prevailing stock price. He vows to solve the airline’s problems by firing half the workforce and introducing a new cabin class called “Blue Checkmark”.
  • cx882 – United and Amtrak will rekindle their partnership and United will begin selling Amtrak connections in the Northeast (on the Acela/Northeast Regional) to places like Philadelphia.
  • Brett M. – Condor’s new livery will usher in a renaissance of new, colorful airline liveries with “eurowhite” becoming passé and even Delta announcing a new livery.
  • Zhuo Andrew – United States air travel demand in 2023 is challenged by economic pressures, international instability and tensions and COVID, so travel bookings will NOT recover to 2019 level, particularly dragged by international sector. COVID continues to limit travel options for many travelers
  • Lord Jarvis of Torrance – An American airline will announce their first Pokemon livery for domestic and travel to Japan. I like it to be in American airlines, but Southwest may be in the running. Delta may join but if they win the at Pokemon livery sweepstakes, Delta will suck.
  • Ed – Finnair implodes, the wreckage gets bought by some combination of IAG and QR, becomes a Northern European version of vueling feeding traffic to Doha and IAG hubs in the rest of Europe.

And that is a wrap. Remember, leave one and only one prediction in the comments below for what 2024 will bring.

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118 comments on “Reviewing Your 2023 Predictions and Making Your 2024 Picks

  1. Despite someone’s failed prediction of Breeze (or Avelo) going belly up last year, I do believe we will see Breeze cease operations in 2024, bringing Neeleman’s “Midas’ touch” to an end. I’d love to be in the graveyard next year for this one, but their financials do not appear good based on the limited data available.

  2. QF will screw up once again, probably another ‘selling tickets for cancelled flights’ or labor problem, which leads to a public boycott of the airline. ZL will capitalise on this by rebranding to Ansett, the only large australian airline where we have mostly good memories about. (Sorry if this counts as two)

  3. Air India will announce a new US destination next year, likely LAX or IAH that will be flown with an a350.

  4. 2023 was awful for ATC in the Northeast, but I predict summer 2024 will be so bad that it’ll made 2023 look like pre-COVID times. FAA will require, not ask, that airlines reduce their schedules into JFK, LGA, and EWR, but all they’ll do is cut insignificant slot squatting routes at 7am that shouldn’t exist to begin with.

  5. As the ULCC’s continue to struggle through 2024, the DOJ will reluctantly give the Spirit/ JetBlue merger the OK. This will include gate & other concessions involving mostly MCO & FLL. JetBlue will also announce two additional routes to Europe & or Canada.

  6. Will PAL finally launch their new US destination that they’ve long been rumored to be launching in 2024? Will they finally launch Seattle after all this time? My guess is… yes?

  7. New CO²/aviation fuel taxes will make airlines run away from/fight Germany and its government about “unfair competition” and other “wah-wah” by airlines (looking at you Ryanair).

  8. Due to lackluster range on the A321XLR, AUS does *not* get any new TATL/TPAC service announced in 2024, and WN hits 40% passenger share multiple months out of the year as DL’s expansion in AUS doesn’t compensate for AA’s retrenchment.

  9. 1. Air India announces LAX and BOS
    2. Virgin Australia joins Star Alliance
    3. Korean and Asiana merger is approved with significant divestments, making for a 1+1=1 situation
    4. Allegris finally flies
    5. Delta orders more A350s
    6. LAX T9 begins construction

  10. United makes an even bigger push into east asia. They restore even more China/HKG service, add a little extra NRT since they can’t get more HND, net a new gateway to ICN via the oz/ke merger, and even add BKK as a new destination after the MNL experiment proves successful.

  11. Delta will be the first US (and western) airline to have a mainline fleet of 1000 aircraft and will overtake Emirates as the largest operator of Airbus widebodies.

  12. Bowing to pressure from the legacy carriers and ALPA regarding “abuse” of its Part 135 operating certificate, the US government will force JSX to downgrade service to less than daily on all routes or undergo conversion to a Part 121 operator. While JSX will hang on beyond 2024 with this new model, it will ultimately doom it.

    P.S. I look forward to this post every year. Love that you do it, CF!

  13. Anticipating the completion of the Alaska/ Hawaiian merger, management announces/ leaks that some Alaska Embraer 175s will be repurposed to replace or supplement the aging Hawaiian Boeing 717 inter-island fleet. They will bear the Hawaiian name and colors.

      1. Not until the mainline interisland clause the the HA CBA goes away. That would have to happen in JCBA negotiations. Chance of that happening is close to zero.

  14. 1) one of Avelo or Breeze will die.

    2) the NK-B6 merger will be approved.

    3) Wildest one I have: B6 will start a focus city in Kansas City. Someone was always going to try to use that new terminal.

    4) AS merger will also go through, and they will negotiate to sell back the 787 slots they got with HA.

    Last…Cranky will be aggravated with me when I diss the agent industry one too many times. I’ll try not to do so Brett, I promise.

  15. As the trend in corp design is to bring back the great iconic logos of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.. United will finally bring back the Tulip.

  16. First, a quick note.

    Under Labor Unions, WN’s prediction was also correct: Air Canada joined ALPA this past year.

    Prediction: Breeze goes under and a U.S. legacy scoops up their A220s — most likely, Delta.

  17. One airline will try nonstop scheduled service between the Phoenix area and Liberia Costa Rica (MRLB), even if it is not daily service.

  18. 1) Nothing significant happens on the HA/AS merger front. It won’t be approved yet (though it will) so the eventual fallout will be left for 2025 and later.

    2) AS broaches the idea of absorbing some or all of QX to eliminate scope issues, most notably the one they will soon inherit regarding interisland flying.

    3) The 135 loophole gets closed, potentially killing JSX.

    4) There’s enough slowdown of growth that regionals are able to catch up on staffing, so the pilot shortage steps to the sidelines for a bit and allows the ATC shortage to really shine.

    5) Either or both Aleutian and Ravn aren’t able to continue without restructuring.

    6) B6/N6 denied because it kills a ULCC, which no amount of route shedding can resolve.

    7) Commenters in this thread continue to have difficulty counting to only 1.

  19. B6,/NK gets blessed with some, but not terribly restrictive divestments. A gate or two here and there but I think the DOJ is going to let the market rationalize the network. Being said…the integration of the two will be painfully slow. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Spirit brand stuck around past 2027.

  20. A major winter storm in late January or February causes an extreme operational meltdown, followed by the ATC meltdown in the summer predicted by AirlineFlyer, finally forcing the DOT and/or Congress to adopt an EU 261-type delay compensation scheme.

  21. Tim Dunn will sell all his Delta stock and put all the proceeds as follows: 1/3 each for Southwest, Frontier, and Spirit.

  22. OK, it may have failed for 2023, but I am going to put it on my list again for 2024! It will happen at some point, it’s all about timing….
    1. Airbus will launch the A220-500 to compete directly with the 737MAX8

    The rest for 2024…
    2. The 737MAX7 & 10 receive FAA / EASA certification
    3. SWA is the first airline to put the MAX7 into commercial service
    4. AA’s appeal of the NEA dies (no surprise here really, I know…. especially since JetBlue pulled out of the appeal)
    5. JetBlue’s acquisition of Spirit does not get approved in 2024, due to this being a political election year – it does not die either – rather, it is pushed off to 2025, when a new presidential administration takes over
    6. The 777-8/9 make significant progress in flight testing, and near certification by the end of 2024

  23. If I keep predicting it every year, I am bound to get it right eventually!

    The remains of MH370 will be found!

  24. @CF – this prediction was also somewhat correct?

    Wingzz – SAS goes bust and the rump is bought by some combination of Finnair, IAG and Qatar, with long haul flying refocused mainly on HEL.

    SAS did need help and AF-KLM has invested in them and are moving them from SkyTeam to Star alliance.

    1. Harsha – SAS didn’t go bust. They just entered reorganization through bankruptcy. And they were not helped by Finnair, IAG, or Qatar, nor did they refocus flying on HEL, so I didn’t count this one.

  25. I predict a major US regional airline or a trade group will lobby the FAA/Congress to allow for a training pathway allowing first officers with less than 1,500 hours into the cockpit.

  26. Air India uses its new A350s to launch DFW/IAH/LAX/SEA (BOS uses a 788) and steals market share from IndiGO because of their continuing P&W issues.

  27. Ok Cranky, since I finally won I’ll retire my annual predictions of UA as world’s largest by ASMs ;-) I’m assuming it will continue in 2024.

    I’ll predict DL’s continued expansion at their AUS ‘focus city’ on a long-term path towards a future hub to the extent they can get gate space. They may even come to some agreement with the airport for future gates, maybe even their own terminal if they want to be bold (unlikely).

    1. I wouldn’t go so far as to say “own terminal” as we’re just tearing down one of those (Allegiant basically owns the South Terminal at this point), but DL could very well say “go full speed ahead on the midfield concourse; we’ll make sure gates are utilized if no one else does”, and then proceed to completely take over gates 1-14 with a 100-120 flight operation, pushing everyone else west, and NK/G4/F9 into midfield first once that gets done. Above 120 flights per day, or above 100 if DL is trying to properly bank, the midfield concourse would be the place to be, but with the SkyClub investment I don’t think DL will move there without really good reasons.

      I do think the admitted focus city status will continue to ring truer and truer over time.

  28. Considering all that happened this year, there will be a fatal accident involving a US airliner in 2024.

    1. It felt too dark to suggest that, but one has to think the ATC shortage/issues will come to a head in a disastrous way eventually.

  29. Delta will place a sizable order for at least 100 A321Neos and at least 50 A350s/A330-900Neos.

  30. PIA will survive and both it and SriLankan will be privatised with significant stakes being held by GCC carriers

  31. Starlux will finally plug one of the most glaring holes in its network by starting flights to Hong Kong.

  32. Alaska will drop SFO – JFK and SFO – BOS

    Jetblue / Spirit merger approved creating a messy integration and operational meltdown

    Alaska / Hawaiian merger is approved and Alaska will use 787 for transpacific and transatlantic routes from Seattle

    JSX will prevail against the ALPA / SWA / AA anticompetitive threats

  33. The most premium airline earning the most revenue premium will continue to attract the most premium passengers to transport to the most premium destinations globally.

  34. After the 737 MAX 10 gets certified, United’s first flight of it will be DEN – EWR.

    And what I want to see happen:

    Guillaume Faury unexpectedly resigns from Airbus. He gets replaced by Ed Bastian, who knows more about Airbus planes than anyone.

    B6 declares bankruptcy after its stock crashes due to investors taking a really good look at the NK deal. As a result, I get arrested for dancing naked in the streets with a bottle of Jack in my hand.

    alITAlia joins Star Alliance effective March 2025.

  35. Breeze goes through some strategic changes: announcing service to Western Europe and the Caribbean on the A220, initially from BDL, while announcing an early retirement for the Embraers and cutting many small Allegiant-style leisure markets in their network.

  36. Both JetBlue/Spirit & Alaska/Hawaiian fall through, causing JetBlue to try again, this time purchasing Hawaiian, which is doomed to fail

  37. By the end of 2024 Delta will have plans to increase the number of A223 aircraft in their fleet, through assuming orders and/or built aircraft from Breeze.

  38. Segundo intento! The B737 MAX will get MAX10 certified by the FAA, but certification will be denied by EASA/CAAC without a cockpit alert system

  39. AS will announce it will not utilize HA widebodies outside of Hawaii-focused routes (so no international expansion from SEA), and will signal plans to phase out the Airbus fleet, ultimately spelling the end of HI-mainland flying that cannot be executed with Boeing narrwobodies.

  40. Porter will add US destinations from Vancouver – initially SFO and LAX, possibly SAN by year’s end.

  41. The Alaska/Hawaiian merger is approved and the two unified airlines pick a new name to better promote themselves as “not a regional carrier”.

  42. The Biden Administration will try to block the Alaska/Hawaiian acquisition. But Trump will (unfortunately) win election and the case will be dropped in 2025. I really hope I’m wrong about this one.

  43. American will introduce new fees for good customer service. The fees, sold a-la-cart, include AAirport Customer Service, In the AAir Customer Service, AAfter flight Customer Service (which includes a non-template response from Customer Relations), Connecting bAAg fee (which gives your bags a fighting chance to make those 35 minute connections they sell) Drink AAnd Snack fee (for when the F/A’s randomly decide the flight is too short to do a service or when there’s a chance of light turbulence) ExtrAA Minutes fee (for when you get to your connecting flight but they are closing the door anyway)
    This way no matter how bad their service is – you’re covered.

  44. DL will add even more flights/destination from AUS than those announced in December;

    LH Group will make an offer that TAP can not refuse;

    UA will expand international service from ORD (and other hubs) using new aircraft;

    AA will continue to gently pare down service from ORD, again demonstrating that they cannot hack it where there’s competition – in part because rolling delays aren’t seen as a nice gesture.

  45. Breeze Airways ends the year with a smaller route-map, deferred aircraft deliveries, and is relying on their charter operation to keep Breeze out of “Airlines We Lost 2024.”

  46. I predict that by August American will declare bankruptcy again. Their shortsighted push away from corporate fares and focusing on leisure fares will come to haunt them and they will need to reorder. Expect some strange suiters coming out of the woods for their reorganization

  47. My crazy prediction for next year is that we see at least one direct flight between West Africa (Lagos, Accra, etc.) and South America. Though, this will be less crazy if/when Nigeria joins BRICS.

  48. 1. jetBlue/Spirit merger falls through completely.
    2. A bidding war then begins for Hawaiian with Delta, jetBlue, Frontier throwing their bids into the mix.
    3. Alaska then forced to raise it’s stake or back away reigniting memories of Virgin America.
    4. jetBlue wins bid for Hawaiian.
    5. Frontier/Spirit try again to sleep with each other now that jetBlue is sleeping with Pualani.
    6. American files for Chapter 11.
    7. Alaska makes a play for American.
    8. Boeing gets ecstatic as the “new” American run by Alaska goes all-Boeing around a revised fleet of 737s and 787s.
    9. Airbus gets ecstatic as the combined jetBlue/Hawaiian goes all-Airbus around a revised fleet of A32x and A330neo.
    9a. jetBlue/Hawaiian sells 787s and 787 slots to new American.
    9b. A320ceo’s deployed to Hawaii as 717 replacement.
    9c. HA 717s sold to Delta for parts.
    10. DOJ then goes apes#1t crazy and announces lawsuits against any merger pending results of 2024 elections.

  49. 1. Alaska will kill hawaiian at some point
    2. PAL will be bought by ANA
    3. Avelo will go bust
    4. Hawaiian will get e175s

  50. I predict that the JetBlue/Spirit merger will be called off in the face of regulatory uncertainty, and Alaska will swoop in to buy Spirit. Alaska, Hawaiian and Spirit will continue to operate under their own brands, with a common FFP.

  51. AS/HA merger goes through and HA joins OneWorld. AS announces plans to deploy HA widebodies in SEA/PDX but DL remains committed to SEA.

  52. My prediction for this year is kind of a big one. it involves Air India.
    Air India in 2024 will begin flights from DEL to LAX and BOS. AI will also announce DFW, IAH and YUL before year’s end (tho they could begin in 2025), as well as upgrading IAD to daily A350s.

  53. United will announce major shifts in aircraft deployment plans for the regional carriers as E145s and CRJ200’s get official retirement dates.

  54. Mexicana will cease operations soon after the new President takes over in Mexico.

    (bonus, there will be talks to revive Texcoco, but to no avail)

  55. 1. JetBlue/Spirit Acquisition will go through, but they will have to divest some assets; however, nothing too crazy.
    2. Jetlblue will announce a new crew base out west and their intent to serve Hawaii.
    3. The Jetblue flight attendants will vote out TWU as their union and will vote in AFA.
    4. Jetblue returns to ANC(Anchorage) from JFK & BOS- seasonly

  56. The environment of high labor and declining US domestic demand will persist in 2024, resulting in at least one US ULCC declaring bankruptcy or being acquired.

  57. 1. Breeze will cease operations or be purchased by another airline for their 220’s.

    2. JetBlue / Spirit merger is approved with a few divestitures in Boston and Fort Lauderdale

    3. A new international airline will come to Orlando in 2024 (not to Canada or Mexico)

    4. Frontier will attempt to acquire another airline

  58. @Cranky You made a statement with Southwest that “there was a fairly substantial fine that was just announced…” I believe most of the fine was eliminated due to Southwest getting credit for reimbursements it had already made to paxs. Seems the fine was more show than substance.

  59. Under unions, (UA, AA, and WN) FAs do not none walk out and strike. At least 2 of the 3 reach a contract settlement.

    Under TSA, there will be a govt shutdown where TSA agents work but arent paid for a long period of time.

  60. Either Flair or Bonza will stop operations permanently, for reasons possibly attributable to the wishes (or outrageously greedy aircraft leases) of 777 Partners.

  61. One of the big four starts nonstop flights between LAX and Pittsburgh (again). Most likely Southwest, or else United.

  62. My prediction: (1) Breeze Airways will launch a Part 135 subsidiary or (2) a standalone Part 135 carrier will emerge. In either case, it will connect relatively large markets.

  63. Tempted to double down on my easyjet to be bought prediction for 2023, but will instead go for: the Schiphol flight cap and passenger levies more generally will be back on the agenda – not sure we’ll see them introduced en masse in 2024 but can see there being progress towards them despite opposition from IATA etc.

  64. 1. Indigo orders Widebodies

    2. Lufthansa abandons Allegris by EOY and shifts to Reverse Herringbones for all the fleet

    3. AA files for Bankruptcy and guts their JFK and ORD networks

    4. JetBlue and Spirit get their merger approved, which will eventually lead to the combined carrier going bankrupt later

    5. Etihad announces aggressive growth plans

    6. AMS flight cap gets scrapped and replaced with an alternative plan (I’d guess a ban on less efficient aircraft).

    7. Australia gives more slot pairs to Qatar, allowing for 2x Daily SYD service

    8. ETIAS gets delayed again

    9. Qantas loses its Lawsuits and eventually starts shrinking and relying more on EK and AA for Long Haul. SYD-SIN-LHR gets dropped if Sunrise aircraft arrive.

  65. I’m torn between two predictions. I’ll go with this.

    Seeing that Delta’s profitability isn’t affected by their new harsher requirements for elite status, AA, United make similar moves.

    The other one would have been
    Seeing no progress from Boeing on the 757/767 replacement, Delta turns to Aribus for more A330s.

  66. Jet Blue & Spirit’s merger finally gets approved, but the 2 airlines will loose alot of money in the process.
    Sun Country has a major expansion.
    KeyLime Air expands the “Denver Air Connection” service.

  67. Some safe bets, mostly from an European perspective:

    1. LH Group snatches up TAP, IAG takes both UX and LO, AFKL complicates political dynamics with the newly all but acquired SK

    2. AMS flight movement reduction plan is abandoned, only to be followed up by ATC staff shortage. B6 continues to operate to AMS though.

    3. EK and EY deepen ties

    4. 777X EIS get delayed even further

    5. Following the Lilium Jet, an increasing amount of EVTOLs will get EASA and FAA approval, including British Vertical Aerospace

    6. SAF demand out of Europe will start to outgrow supply. Airlines will keep selling though…

  68. Predictions:

    1. Sun country airlines will merge with frontier or allegiant airlines after the JetBlue/spirit airlines merger is approved.

    2. For JetBlue & spirit to agree with regulators to merge, they’ll have to divest one of the Florida hubs or sell off significant slots at JFK, BOS, or FLL

    3. Aerolineas Argentinas will be sold to LATAM & Qatar airlines at the quick blessing from Argentina’s new president.

    4. The LAX people mover project is going to be delayed for an another year.

  69. Rehashing a few form last year:

    777X certified (finally) but Boeing bungles something else massively.

    Frontier cuts 50% of Denver ( Spirit left but I’m predicting this again)

    Breeze admits what they’re doing doesn’t actually work and turns into a fancy Allegiant (they kinda already did/are)

    Landline gets TSA screening and explodes in popularity (They got TSA screening but waiting for it to take off)

    Emirates doubles A350 order (Ordered a few more in 2023 but I suspect more)

    A350-1100 announced (Predicting again)

    Boom turns into a whimper (Predicting again Where Boom?)

    EAS gets a hard look by congress (Easing entry/Changing eligibility) (Didn’t happen, won’t happen, sad)

    Several US communities will cough-up 8-figure sums for international flights because they think they’re a hub or something

    JetBlue merger goes through, Gov gets huffy and appeals.

  70. ANA will restart SJC-TYO, likely as HND, while Zipair will expand their US footprint to SEA. Both will operate with 787s

  71. After years of talk, 2024 will be the year that train travel makes a material dent in short haul European flying, due to cheaper train tickets and new capacity. Most airlines will do fine, however, as long-haul will be only bolstered by this trend.

  72. I may have been incorrect about the MAX in 2023, but early 2024 has a chance of it coming true.

  73. Riyadh Air will continue to receive aircraft but fail to actually get an AOC and begin passenger flights. Tony Douglas is then forced out and finds his way to Emirates upon Tim Clark’s 2nd retirement announcement

  74. The people mover at LAX will not begin operations on schedule in 2024.

    And one I can 100% guarantee: I’ll be WN only when I specifically want to arrive at Hobby or Love.

  75. I’ll take my half credit for last year and do a labor prediction again for this year!
    Flight attendants’ turn. Of the big 4 that are unionized (WN, AA, UA), all will have ratified FA contracts this year while DL will take those contracts into consideration with their FA group to keep unions off property.

  76. Silver Airways would cease operations. This would give Current Aviation LLC an opportunity to pick up their AOC and ATR fleet to begin flying to unserved secondary and tertiary US O&D markets that are under 450 miles…bypassing legacy network hubs all while offering far lower trip costs than the likes of Breeze, Avelo, Allegiant and Frontier.

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