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Airline Finance News - North America.

For more global news, data, analysis and features, please go to: Sep 25, 2006

US airlines' domestic yield growth slowed in August, according to data from the Air Transport Assn. The seven largest US passenger airlines excluding Southwest had an average yield of 12.61 cents per RPM last month, up 10.3% compared to August 2005. This represented the smallest year-over-year increase since March and a 1-point sequential decline from the 11.3% year-over-year improvement recorded in July. Slowing yield growth, however, is being more than offset by falling fuel prices. According to JP Morgan, "Jet kero prices have fallen 55 cents per gallon from their August highs, representing an annual savings of $10 billion at current levels." Sep 22, 2006

Airlines employ fewer workers, statistics say. The number of airline employees was down 5.9% in July, compared with same month a year ago, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The number of people working for scheduled passenger carriers has declined for 19 consecutive months. Sep 21, 2006

Military tests first jet powered with synthetic fuel. The military this week tested the first jet powered with synthetic fuel and declared the flight a success. The commercial airline industry is closely following the military's progress with synthetic fuel, and the Air Transport Association says it "strongly supports the development of alternatives to traditional oil-based jet fuel." Sep 21, 2006

US airlines including AA, UA, CO, NWA gather allies in battle for China. Officials from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport said yesterday that American Airlines' proposed DFW-Beijing service would generate $180 million annually for the state economy and plans to submit its own economic impact study to the US Dept. of Transportation in support of AA's application to win the new route authority. The DFW salvo is the latest volley in an all-out campaign by four US carriers competing for a new route to China made available in the most recent air services agreement between China and the US. Sep 21, 2006

Airlines cannot separate fuel surcharge in ads, DOT rules. The Department of Transportation rejected the airlines' attempt to list fuel charges separate from airfares in their ads. In December, the DOT said it would consider relaxing advertising rules. The Air Transport Association had requested the change, but the DOT said the public interest would be best served by maintaining the status quo. Sep 20, 2006

Business fares climb 13% in Q2, study says. The average domestic business airfare climbed 13% in the second quarter of this year to the highest level since the end of 2001, according to an American Express study. Strong demand for travel pushed fares higher, American Express says. Meanwhile, one-way domestic fares for economic tickets rose 3% from year-ago levels. Government statistics also showed the second quarter was the industry's best in six years. Sep 19, 2006

The network carriers reported the highest domestic unit revenues in the second quarter at 15.8 cents per ASM. Regional carriers' RASM was 15.3 cents followed by LCCs at 10.8 cents. "All three groups exhibited increases in unit revenues over the year-earlier period, with the network airlines registering the sharpest gains at 2.5 cents," BTS said. The network carriers reported the highest domestic unit costs in the quarter at 14.6 cents per ASM. Regional carriers' CASM was 14.1 cents followed LCCs at 9.7 cents. The Regionals reported the highest domestic passenger average yield at 18.9 cents per RPM, with the network carriers following at 13.1 cents and the LCCs at 12.1 cents. Sep 19, 2006

US Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that a group of 21 US passenger airlines, consisting of the seven largest network, low-cost and Regional carriers based on operating revenue, reported a collective domestic operating profit margin of 7.9% in the second quarter, the largest quarterly margin for the group since 2000. BTS said yesterday that the LCCs reported a domestic operating profit margin for the quarter of 10.6%, up 5.3 points compared to the year-ago quarter. The Regionals reported a 7.9% margin, down 2.8 points, and the network carriers a 7.2% margin, an improvement of 9.4 points. Sep 19, 2006

American Airlines

American, pilots start negotiations today: American Airlines and its pilots union will start contract negotiations today. The union says its opening proposal will be "fairly general" and not include wage targets. American says it hopes to improve pilot productivity. Sep 20, 2006

American Airlines

American to trim recall list of furloughed attendants. American Airlines says it will cut 1,156 furloughed flight attendants from its recall list in October. American says the five-year recall period expires next month for about a third of the 3,882 workers on the list. Sep 20, 2006

American Airlines

American, pilots union will start talks this week. How many hours pilots must work will be the top issue when American Airlines and its pilots union start contract talks Wednesday. The company wants to lower labor costs and boost productivity, while the union wants to guard pilots against layoffs. Sep 18, 2006

Atlantic Southeast Airlines

ASA pilots preparing for possible strike. Atlantic Southeast Airlines pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Assn., set up a strike center at an undisclosed location in Atlanta in apparent frustration over the status of four-year-old contract negotiations. "ASA management has destroyed pilot morale and goodwill by dragging negotiations through the mud for a fourth year," MEC Chairman David Nieuwenhuis said, noting that talks first began in September 2002. He further charged that SkyWest Inc., which purchased the carrier from Delta Air Lines in September 2005, is "prospering and making plans for the continued growth of the organization" while shirking its responsibility to negotiate with ASA pilots. Sep 18, 2006

Atlantic Southeast Airlines

The US National Mediation Board has been involved in the discussions between management and ASA pilots since May 2004. Those talks were recessed last May when NMB declared that the parties were too far apart on the open sections of the contract. ASA operates as a Delta Connection carrier. Pilots at SkyWest Airlines, which also operates as Delta Connection, are not members of a national union. Sep 18, 2006

Continental Airlines

Continental held a press conference in New York extolling the importance of linking two of the world's leading financial centers and pointed to the large population of Chinese living in the New York area. It currently offers service from Newark to Beijing and Hong Kong. "We have support from all over the country--not just the New York area--for the connecting service," CO spokesperson Mary Clark said. Sep 21, 2006

Continental Airlines, FedEx

Civilian airlines receive airlift contracts. Several commercial airlines, including Continental Airlines and FedEx, have received military airlift contracts from the Air Force. The contracts are worth a total of $2.3 billion. Sep 19, 2006

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines this week started the $14 million second phase of terminal renovation at its biggest hub, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where it plans to expand the lobby area by 50% as part of an effort to modernize and streamline the passenger check-in process. Sep 20, 2006

Delta Air Lines

Delta to end interline agreement with AirTran. Delta Air Lines plans to end an interline agreement with AirTran Airways. The agreement allows the airlines to rebook passengers during irregular operations at negotiated rates. Delta says the agreement isn't cost-effective, but AirTran says the termination reflects the heated rivalry between the two airlines. Sep 18, 2006

Go!, Mesa Air Group

Go!, Mesa Air Group's Hawaiian startup, reached a codeshare agreement with Mokulele Airlines. The carriers signed an MOU to begin new services operating under the go!Express brand. Mokulele, which recently was granted authority from the US Dept. of Transportation to operate scheduled services, will fly a fleet of Cessna Grand Caravans. Sep 22, 2006

Horizon Air

Horizon Air flew 254.6 million RPMs in August, up 7.7% from the year-ago month. Capacity increased 6.6% to 330.6 million and load factor was up 0.8 point to 77%. Sep 19, 2006

Midwest Air Group

Midwest Air Group said its August yield rose 8.6% to an estimated 14.6 cents. Passenger RASM surged 17.5% to 11.5 cents. Midwest Airlines and Midwest Connect flew 361.7 million consolidated RPMs in August, up 18.1% from the year-ago month. Capacity rose 9.2% to 460.5 million ASMs and load factor increased 6 points to 78.6%. Sep 18, 2006

Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines cabin crew workers, represented by the Assn. of Flight Attendants-CWA, believe NWA was in the wrong when it imposed about $200 million in annual concessions on them even though two tentative concessionary agreements had been voted down. Sep 22, 2006

Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines flight attendants, prevented from engaging in work actions by a US federal judge last week, yesterday declared negotiations with management at an "impasse" and asked the National Mediation Board for a release from further mediated talks with the carrier, the first step toward gaining legal authority to strike under US laws governing airline labor relations. Sep 22, 2006

Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines has indicated a willingness to reopen talks but union leaders claim the bankrupt airline is not really interested in negotiations. If NMB officially releases the parties from talks, a 30-day cooling-off period would ensue before a strike could commence. AFA-CWA International President Patricia Friend said NWA's imposition of cuts "mocked the integrity of the NMB's role in promoting consensual resolution of labor disputes." Sep 22, 2006

Northwest Airlines

In its filing with DOT, Northwest Airlines declared that its "Detroit hub wins hands down" for the new service, saying it will provide better connections than others, "especially DFW which is absurdly circuitous for large areas of the United States." NWA currently has authority for passenger service to Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou via Tokyo Narita. Spokesperson Dean Breest said more than 70,000 people have signed the carrier's online petition in support of the new service. Sep 21, 2006

Northwest Airlines

Mediation board calls Northwest, union to Washington. The National Mediation Board next week will meet with Northwest Airlines and representatives from its flight attendants union to discuss the status of contract talks. A spokesman for Northwest says the carrier is prepared to negotiate if talks resume. A federal judge recently granted the carrier's request to ban flight attendants from striking. Sep 21, 2006

Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines flight attendants yesterday filed an appeal of last week's ruling by US District Judge Victor Marrero that prevents them from striking or engaging in work actions. The Assn. of Flight Attendants is asking for an expedited ruling on the appeal, arguing that NWA's imposition of $195 million in annual concessions despite the flight attendants' rejection of two tentative concessionary agreements gives them the right to strike or engage in disruptive CHAOS work actions. Marrero warned in his ruling that CHAOS could force the bankrupt airline to liquidate and said the courts have an obligation to stop work actions that could seriously disrupt the US air transport system. Sep 19, 2006

Northwest Airlines

Northwest flight attendants appeal strike decision. The union representing Northwest Airlines flight attendants Monday appealed a federal judge's ruling that stops the union from striking. The airline, which operates under bankruptcy protection, has renegotiated contracts with labor groups to lower its costs. Sep 19, 2006

Northwest Airlines

Judge again prevents Northwest flight attendants from striking. US District Judge Victor Marrero issued an injunction Friday that prevents Northwest Airlines flight attendants from striking or engaging in other disruptive work actions, stating that such actions could cripple the bankrupt carrier and unduly damage the US transportation system. In last week's ruling, Judge Marrero said the lower court was in error and that it does indeed have the authority to block airline strikes since US laws recognize "the importance of the nation's interstate transportation system of railroads and airlines" and the damage that could occur if work actions disrupt the system. Sep 18, 2006

Northwest Airlines

Judge blocks strike at Northwest, union will appeal. A federal judge Friday blocked a flight attendants' strike at Northwest Airlines, saying the workers' union has not made every reasonable effort to settle the dispute with the company. The ruling reverses an earlier decision by a bankruptcy court judge. The union says it will appeal the decision.

Sep 18, 2006

Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines cabin staff, represented by the Assn. of Flight Attendants-CWA, blasted the decision and accused the court of cozying up to corporate interests at the expense of workers. "Management and the courts can gang up on us but they cannot defeat us," MEC President Mollie Reiley said. AFA-CWA General Counsel David Borer said the union will appeal the ruling, which is "obviously an incorrect reading of the law." Northwest already has reached concessionary agreements with its other unions and said it is willing to reopen talks with flight attendants. Sep 18, 2006

Northwest Airlines, Compass Airlines

Northwest unit will receive operating certificate: Regulators on Friday will transfer Independence Air's operating certificate to Northwest Airlines subsidiary Compass Airlines. The Department of Transportation agreed that the airline's proposed service meets economic and public interest requirements. Sep 18, 2006

United Airlines

In battle for China, United Airlines wants to link Beijing to its Washington Dulles hub, Northwest Airlines has proposed service between Detroit and Shanghai and Continental Airlines would like to serve Shanghai from Newark. All are making their cases to DOT, which likely will choose a carrier by year end. Earlier in the week, UA launched a campaign titled "Capital-to-Capital Coalition" with a team of former US trade officials on its side. "We are unanimous in our belief that it is very much in our nation's public interest to do everything possible to strengthen the relationship between the US and China," wrote the group of eight former US trade representatives, who collectively worked for Presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan, both Bushes and Clinton. Sep 21, 2006
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Publication:Airguide Online
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Sep 25, 2006
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