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Airline Finance News - North America.

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After years of losses, some carriers post profits. Fare increases and cost-cutting efforts have helped some airlines return to profitability, but high fuel prices continue to hurt the industry. "Everyone likes to be in the black, even if it's just for a quarter," Air Transport Association Chief Economist John Heimlich says. "To make any money at these fuel prices says a lot about the potential for this industry. But vigilance is the word of the day." Jul 28, 2006

Texas congressmen call airline pension plan unfair. A pair of House Republicans from Texas say they plan to oppose a pension reform bill if it puts Texas-based American Airlines and Continental Airlines at a disadvantage. Reps. Sam Johnson and Kevin Brady note the bill would require American and Continental to make higher pension contributions than other carriers. Jul 28, 2006

Veteran pilots concerned over lack of new pilots. Veteran pilots worry that not enough young people are learning to fly. The number of pilots in the U.S. has dropped 25% over the past 25 years, and the number of student pilots has fallen 56%. Industry observers predict a shortage of airline pilots in the near future unless more young people learn to fly. Jul 26, 2006

Agents listen as carriers discuss cost savings, efficiency. Business travel agents meeting in Chicago last week heard airlines make a case for lowering costs and global distribution systems tout their new booking systems. Three carriers recently decided to impose new fees on agents using nonpreferred booking channels. Jul 24, 2006

Study: Pension law revision could weigh on government. Plans to retool pension system rules could result in the U.S. government paying roughly $2 billion more out of pocket while companies will carry a slightly lighter burden, according to Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. analysis. Some congressional leaders disagree with the findings, saying PBGC overestimates current employer contributions. Jul 24, 2006

Alaska Airlines

Alaska triples second-quarter net income to $55.5 million. Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, reported net income of $55.5 million for the second quarter ended June 30, more than triple the net income of $17.4 million in the year-ago quarter, strong results that the company attributed to "a combination of revenue gains and cost improvements."Group operating revenues grew 15.4% to $873 million while expenses climbed 10.1% to $792.9 million. Operating income more than doubled to $80.1 million from $36.6 million last year. Jul 26, 2006

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines revenues rose 15.3% to $710.4 million against an 8.2% lift in expenses to $639.5 million, while Horizon revenues climbed 15.7% to $162.7 million as expenses rose 18.7% to $152.5 million. Alaska posted operating income of $70.9 million, up 178% over $25.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Horizon reported operating income of $10.2 million, down slightly from $12.1 million last year. Yield per RPM at Alaska rose 7.6% to 13.99 cents while Horizon's yield was up 5.3% to 23.25 cents. Alaska's revenue per ASM climbed 9.5% to 12.18 cents on a 1.4-point gain in load factor to 79.3%. Nonfuel unit cost fell 2.1% to 7.92 cents. Horizon's CASM was up 11.8% to 15.14 cents while RASM grew 9% to 18.06 cents. Jul 26, 2006

American Airlines

American CEO focuses on teamwork to improve efficiency. American Airlines Chief Executive Gerald Arpey says airline executives and workers must collaborate for the carrier to become more efficient. American is the only large airline that has never filed for bankruptcy protection, and Arpey credits its success to open communication and teamwork. Jul 24, 2006


Comair was granted permission Friday by the US Bankruptcy Court to void the labor agreement with its approximately 1,000 cabin staff and impose a reduced $7.9 million in annual concessions. The airline submitted a second request for relief following the breakdown of negotiations last month. The Delta Air Lines subsidiary "demonstrated beyond doubt that a material reduction in Comair's flight attendant costs is essential to the company's ability to be successful in the extraordinarily competitive regional airline market of today," Judge Adlai Hardin wrote, according to the Associated Press. Jul 24, 2006

Continental Airlines

Continental finalizes agreement with Chautauqua for Regional service. Continental Airlines on Friday officially selected Chautauqua Airlines to provide and operate 44 regional jets as a Continental Express carrier beginning in 2007, filling a void created earlier this year when the Major failed to reach agreement with ExpressJet on a new capacity purchase deal to keep the Regional's 69 aircraft flying under the CO code. Jul 24, 2006

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines, currently perhaps the most aggressive US airline across the North Atlantic, has acquired from United Airlines traffic rights between New York JFK and Gatwick. The cost for the route rights will bring in up to $21m for United but the Heathrow slots remain with that airline. Expected to start from the beginning of the winter season initially the service will be daily using a Boeing 767 doubled for summer 2007. However in spite of its much better rail connections Gatwick has never proved to be as attractive to and from New York as Heathrow, BA and Virgin having given up their services prior to the current season. In recent times only Continental has served 'Big Apple', via Newark. London will now be connected to Kennedy by American Airlines, BA and Virgin from Heathrow and Continental (Newark) and Delta from Gatwick plus Eos and Maxjet, business class airlines from Stansted. Delta, who are trading in bankruptcy, says it is still the airline's intention to fly JFK - LHR as soon as the bilateral is sorted out. The new routing is subject to government approval. United Airlines continues with services from Heathrow to Chicago, Las Angeles, San Francisco and Washington. Jul 29, 2006

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Lawmakers should pass pension reform laws: Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines want to honor their pension obligations to employees, writes Cathy Cone, chair of the non-pilot retiree committee in the Delta bankruptcy case. Cone says, however, that Congress should pass pension reform legislation that gives the carriers more time to fund their plans.

Jul 24, 2006

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines flew 575.5 million RPMs in June, a 1.1% increase over the year-ago month. Capacity rose 0.2% to 661.4 million ASMs and load factor climbed 0.8 point to 87%. Jul 25, 2006

Mesa Air

Mesa Air Group's profit fell 36% in the third fiscal quarter ended June 30, a drop that company officials attributed to weather, fleet repositioning and the startup of Hawaiian carrier go! Mesa reported after-tax earnings of $10.9 million on operating revenues of $339 million. Revenues were up 13.6%, primarily as a result of increases in reimbursed fuel expenses. For the nine-month period, net income was $29 million, reduced from $41 million in the year-ago period. Third-quarter capacity dipped 2.7% to 2.2 billion ASMs as aircraft were transitioned from the former US Airways system to Delta Connection. RPMs were up 8.5% to 1.8 billion. The number of regional jets flown increased by seven year-over-year to 149. Jul 27, 2006

Mesaba Airlines

Mesaba Airlines flew 108.6 million RPMs in June, a 38.8% decline from the year-ago month. Capacity fell 40% to 149.3 million ASMs and load factor rose 1.5 points to 72.8%. Jul 27, 2006

Midwest Airlines, Skyway Airlines

Midwest Air Group, parent of Midwest Airlines and Skyway Airlines, reported second-quarter net income of $8.8 million, compared to a loss of $8.2 million in the year-ago quarter, on a 34.4% jump in revenues to $176.9 million. "A strong increase in passengers and an improved fare environment helped offset soaring fuel costs in the quarter," Chairman and CEO Timothy Hoeksema said. The company posted operating income of $7.5 million, an improvement over an operating loss of $8.2 million last year. Expenses rose 21.2% to $169.3 million as fuel costs surged 49.4% to $60.6 million. Jul 28, 2006

Northwest Airlines

Northwest To Resume Talks With Striking Mechanics. Northwest Airlines and its striking mechanics union have agreed to resume negotiations on a new contract, the union said on Thursday. Jul 28, 2006

Northwest Airlines

Judge approves Northwest flight attendants contract. A bankruptcy judge has approved a contract with Northwest Airlines flight attendants intended to save the bankrupt carrier up to $200 million a year. The agreement, reached July 17, cuts pay and benefits for the workers by 21%. Jul 27, 2006

Republic Airways

Republic Airways Holdings said Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America flew a combined 624.3 million RPMs in June, a 59.4% increase over the year-ago month. Capacity rose 45% to 778.6 million ASMs and load factor improved 7.2 points to 80.1%. Jul 26, 2006

United Airlines

United beats forecasts, achieves profitability after six years in red. United Airlines will report its first quarterly profit excluding unusual items in six years when it releases its second-quarter results on July 31.Parent UAL Corp. took the unusual step of unveiling preliminary figures yesterday in a filing designed to offer guidance to investors as it prepares to issue $726 million in convertible notes to an employee trust by Aug. 1. The company anticipates net earnings of $119 million, or $141 million excluding a one-time severance payment in the June quarter, reversing a $1.43 billion loss in the year-ago quarter, or $26 million excluding reorganization and special items. Jul 25, 2006

United Airlines

United Airlines expects to report operating revenues of $5.11 billion, up 15.6% over last year. Expenses will rise 10.9% to $4.85 billion and operating profit will grow more than fivefold to $260 million from $48 million. Mainline unit revenue is expected to climb 11.5% to 12.03 cents against an 8.9% rise in mainline CASM to 11.43 cents, or 7.7 cents excluding fuel and nonairline costs, an increase of 1.6%. Jul 25, 2006

US Airways

US Airways Group profits from sum of its parts. The merger of US Airways Group and America West Airlines continues to pay big dividends, according to President and CEO Doug Parker, who said it was the "primary driver" behind second-quarter net earnings of $305 million for the combined company. Although results are not directly comparable to the year-ago period when the airlines operated independently, the figure represents a significant improvement over an approximate combined pro forma loss of $46 million by the constituent companies, America West Airlines ($2 million) and US Airways Inc. ($44 million), in the 2005 quarter. In the 2006 quarter, US earned $246 million on a standalone basis and AWA earned $68 million. The result includes $35 million in merger-related transition expenses and $25 million in special gains. Jul 28, 2006

US Airways, America West Airlines

Before its merger with US Airways, America West Airlines planned to merge with ATA Airlines. America West Chief Executive Douglas Parker says the failure of that agreement allowed the company to buy US Airways. "With the transition of our 59 regional jets out of US Airways now complete, we can concentrate on providing our partners with the best possible product." Parker says in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. Jul 24, 2006

US Airways, Delta Air Lines

US Airways Tested Delta Merger Interest. US Airways Group's chief executive called Delta Air Lines' CEO this summer to gauge his interest in a possible merger, according to a newspaper report, citing people familiar with the situation. Jul 30, 2006
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Publication:Airguide Online
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 31, 2006
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