Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Icahn is Back, Frontier’s Ohio Growth

Cranky Weekly Review

Icahn’s Big Blue Gamble

JetBlue stock shot up this week when former TWA executive Carl Icahn purchased a 10% stake in the airline. Icahn took over TWA in 1985, starting in a similar manner, before he took the airline private via a leveraged buyout about four years later. TWA would eventually file for bankruptcy in 1992 and be bought out by American nine years later.

There’s no indication Icahn plans to grab a controlling interest in JetBlue this time around, but he does appear to be angling for a spot on the carrier’s Board of Directors. JetBlue’s stock, which has been in the dumps since its merger with Spirit was shot down in the courts, jumped 15% on Tuesday when Icahn’s filing with the SEC revealed his stake in the airline.

Icahn has said that one of his first items of business will be to figure out whatever happened to the blue chips that used to be served on-board, and then he might considering exploring a partnership with a major U.S. carrier to coordinate schedules, pricing, and routes in the northeastern part of the country.

For more on this, tune in next Tuesday/Thursday on for what we’re calling Icahn Week.

Frontier Keeps Adding

Last week it was 10 new routes from Philly, and this week Frontier placed its eyed towards Ohio (and Kentucky, technically), adding from both Cincinnati and Cleveland.

From Cleveland, the carrier announced another 10 new destinations — beginning in May — on a list that includes big cities, desirable warm-weather locales, enticing tourist destinations, and Myrtle Beach. The entire list of new frontiers from Cleveland include:

  • Austin
  • Baltimore
  • Charleston
  • Houston/IAH
  • Jacksonville
  • Minneapolis/St Paul
  • Myrtle Beach
  • New York/LGA
  • Pensacola
  • Salt Lake City
  • Savannah

The six additions for Cincinnati are:

  • Boston
  • Charlotte
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Houston/Bush
  • Pensacola
  • Portland (ME)

Pensacola and Portland will operate 3x weekly with the other four operating 4x per week. Service on all six begins mid-May.

Delta Distributes $1.4 Billion in Profit Sharing

Delta Air Lines more than doubled what it paid out a year ago in profit sharing, shipping $1.4 billion to more than 100,00 employees this week. All Delta employees below mid-level managers are eligible for the payouts, which end up accounting for slightly more than a month’s salary.

The $1.4 billion payout is a 146% jump from last year’s payout and the second-largest in company history, only trailing the $1.6 billion it distributed in 2019. As it generally does, Delta attempted to offer the SkyMiles equivalent before coughing up actual money, but the offer was never formally sent to employees because Delta accountants said they were not enough digits “in the world” to properly price out the SkyMiles value of $1.4 billion.

Atlanta Retains Busiest Airport Crown

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport surpassed the 100 million passenger mark in 2023 for the first time since prior to the pandemic as it kept its title as the busiest airport in the world.

Atlanta totaled 104.7 million passengers, a nearly 12% jump from 2022. 10% of the increase came from domestic travel, while the 12.8 million international passengers for the airport represented a 29% jump from a year ago. Despite reaching a post-pandemic high, the airport still came short of its own record of 110.5 million.

Delta accounted for nearly 75% of the traffic at the airport with Southwest coming in a distant, distant second at 8%. Dallas/Fort Worth is expected to finish second when its full-year figures are released. Other top-ranked airports that have not yet released their 2023 passenger totals include Denver, Dubai, Beijing, and Bloomington, Illinois.

Frontier Unveils Summer-Only AYCF Pass

A year after debuting its somewhat convenient Go Wild! pass, Frontier is offering a discounted, summer-only version at just $399. The summer-only pass is valid from May 1 to September 30 and can be used for travel to any of Frontier’s domestic or international destinations, including the ones nobody really wants to fly to.

Just as the full-year product works, this summer-only pass can be used to reserve seats one day before domestic flights and 10 days before international flights, if space is available. Flights booked with the pass do earn Frontier Miles, the carrier’s award currency. No one has ever admitted publicly to booking an award with Frontier, so the value of Frontier Miles cannot be determined.

  • Aerus is a regional startup in Mexico that is now eyeing service to the U.S.
  • Air Transat added an A320.
  • airBaltic has six months to pay back €200mn or one passenger per flight will have their thumbs broken until the debt is repaid.
  • Alaska is growing in Oregon. It’s also expanding freighter service to LAX.
  • American is apparently no longer requiring boarding passes for select customers.
  • Austrian will debut long-haul Dreamliner flights this summer.
  • Avelo is adding again.
  • BA is now automating its maintenance reporting system, meaning a computer will know your flight is delayed before your pilot does.
  • Delta Flight 133 from Amsterdam to Detroit was forced to return to Amsterdam after about two hours of flying time when maggots were discovered in an overhead bin and then flew out into the cabin. The pilot elected to turn back to Amsterdam because once the maggots were released, the cabin crew no longer had meals to serve Basic Economy passengers onboard the aircraft.
  • Delta also announced new flying to Florida and Hawai’i. The carrier will launch Boston to Honolulu and Seattle to Miami. It’s adding a second daily on Seattle – Honolulu, a third daily on Salt Lake City – Honolulu and bringing back Atlanta – Maui.
  • Etihad pilots’ dream of being certified to fly both the A350 and A380 is coming true.
  • Finnair finished a good year.
  • flydubai added service to Basel, Riga, Tallinn, and Vilnius.
  • Garuda Indonesia is adding eight airplanes this year. Probably.
  • Hawaiian took delivery of its first B787-9.
  • Israir is looking to purchase A320s through convertible bonds.
  • ITA is changing up its UK network. Industry insiders believe it was making money so the carrier will make changes to ensure that never happens again.
  • KLM 601 to Los Angeles was forced to turn back to Amsterdam due to a pretty shitty problem.
  • Korean‘s takeover of Asiana received approval from the European Commission.
  • Norse Atlantic will continue to sublease out four of its Dreamliners this summer.
  • Norwegian reported a good year.
  • Oman Air will join oneworld in the second half of this year. Probably.
  • oneworld is opening a lounge in Amsterdam. Probably.
  • PLAY will not be playing around with any new aircraft this year.
  • Porter is opening three new E195-E2 bases.
  • Qantaslink pilots are striking in Perth.
  • Ryanair suspended service to Tel Aviv through April, and in classic Ryanair fashion, it’s not because of the war, but because of higher landing fees.
  • SAS managed to get 1,000 people to sign up for round-trip tickets for a mystery destination.
  • SmartLynx named Edvinas Demenius as its new CEO.
  • SpiceJet told 1,400 employees it was thyme to move on.
  • United’s A321 “no smoking signs” work all too well.
  • WestJet refinanced a loan.

I just grilled a chicken for two hours.

It still wouldn’t tell me why it crossed the road.

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3 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Icahn is Back, Frontier’s Ohio Growth

  1. I just grilled a chicken for two hours.

    It still wouldn’t tell me why it crossed the road.

    A farmer watched a chicken cross the road. The farmer says hey, why did you cross the road! The chicken replies… oh, I’m going to a bar. Curious the farmer asks… what happens when a chicken walks into a bar? The chicken says… oh sorry, that’s an entirely different joke!

  2. Last news report that I saw about the Icahn JebBlue investment is that he is getting 2 board seats … non-voting for 90-days, then they become full board seats.

    Glad to see an airline (any airline….) is expanding in Portland! We need more services!!

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