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Company Watch September 2005.

Airlines face staggering jet fuel refining costs. The cost to turn a barrel of crude oil into jet fuel is soaring for U.S. airlines. Before hurricanes Katrina and Rita, airlines paid $11 a barrel to refine the oil into jet fuel. Now the price has climbed to $59 a barrel. The Air Transport Association estimates U.S. passenger and cargo airlines will consume 19 billion gallons of jet fuel this year. "The spike in jet fuel prices has made an already difficult situation all the more dire," said Victoria Day, spokeswoman for the Air Transport Association. The association called for a one-year suspension of the 4.3-cent federal tax on a gallon of jet fuel, which would save the industry $600 million a year. Sep 29, 2005

Airlines suffer from high fuel prices, analysts say. Soaring fuel prices and steep competition have pushed the commercial airline industry into one of the darkest periods in its history, aviation experts recently told a House subcommittee on aviation. One analyst said he thinks American Airlines and Continental Airlines can avoid filing for bankruptcy protection. However, competitive pressure on the two airlines could increase if bankrupt Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines are allowed to shed their pension plans. Sep 29, 2005

European Commission votes to put airlines in emissions program. The European Commission voted to include airlines in a trading program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Each company would get an emissions allowance, and companies that can reduce their emissions may sell their unused allowances. The commission said the program would have a modest financial impact on the airlines. The plan still needs approval from the European Parliament and European Union governments. It is part of the Kyoto Treaty. Sep 28, 2005

Mergers create more problems than they solve, analysts say. Airlines should not attempt to merge with each other as they struggle through the current financial crisis, some airline analysts said. Mergers have historically increased costs for carriers, said Michael E. Levine, a former airline executive. Merging work forces and corporate cultures also presents challenges for merged carriers, analysts said. Sep 27, 2005

Government regulations stand in the way of U.S. airlines' ability to compete, said United Airlines Chief Executive Officer Glenn Tilton. He said airlines could better withstand higher fuel prices and events like Hurricane Katrina if the government would allow meaningful consolidation. United expects to leave bankruptcy protection in a few months in a "much stronger position to seize growth opportunities as we move forward." Sep 23, 2005

Oil companies close Texas refineries ahead of Hurricane Rita: Oil companies began closing Texas refineries Wednesday ahead of powerful Hurricane Rita. Rita could exacerbate problems caused by Katrina, which damaged oil platforms and knocked out refineries. Damage from the storm could raise oil prices for airlines and consumers. Four Louisiana refineries still have not resumed operations. They account for 5% of U.S. refining capacity. Sep 21, 2005

U.S., Mexico to expand flights between countries. The U.S. and Mexico agreed to expand flights between the two countries, according to the Department of Transportation. Three commercial airlines from each country now may fly between any U.S. city and any of 14 Mexican cities. The agreement had extended to only two airlines from each country. It is not clear when the agreement will be implemented. Sep 21, 2005

Hubs or in the convoluted words of the European Commission, "airport capacity shortages", are to be investigated by that organization. It has launched a Consultation Paper on "airport capacity, efficiency and safety" addressed to airlines, airports, air navigation providers and all other stakeholders of the air transport industry. A recent study noted by the EC, revealed that if demand grows just below the current rate, airports would be severely constrained in 2025. By 2025 more than 60 (European) airports will be congested and the top 20 airports will be saturated at least 8-10 hours per day. This is because traffic demand will have increased by a factor of 2.5 from its 2003 level. Despite a 60% increase of airport capacity in the network, only twice the volume of the 2003 traffic will be satisfied, clearly saturation being reached. Stakeholders are asked to submit written contributions by 15 November 2005. Sep 19, 2005

Legacy carriers can't seem to recover from prolonged losses. This Wall Street Journal analysis suggests big U.S. airlines face a simple problem: They cannot generate enough revenue to cover their costs. The bankruptcy process exacerbates the problem because carriers are allowed to lower costs, making it difficult for rivals to raise prices. The federal government has also prevented the industry from restructuring by providing loan guarantees, preventing mergers and limiting foreign competition. Steep competition from low-fare airlines and strikes have also hurt large carriers. Sep 18, 2005

Fuel now comprises almost one-quarter of airlines' costs. Jet fuel now accounts for 24% of airlines' costs, up 14% from five years ago. The world's airlines will pay $97 billion this year for fuel, according to the International Air Transport Association. Sep 18, 2005

Congress should demand high safety standards as outsourcing increases. Airlines and authorities cannot afford to neglect airline maintenance, equipment and training, writes Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, in a USA TODAY opinion piece. Airlines are increasingly outsourcing maintenance work to lower costs and become more efficient. Hall believes airline customers and Congress should demand carriers maintain high maintenance standards. Sep 18, 2005

Low-fare carriers could profit from two bankruptcies. Low-fare airlines may benefit from financial problems at Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines. The two large carriers filed for bankruptcy protection last week. Both are expected to scale back domestic routes as they reorganize. Southwest Airlines, JetBlue and AirTran Airways could benefit, analysts say. Sep 18, 2005

Legacy carriers can't compete with discounters: Expensive union contracts and other high labor costs make it difficult for legacy airlines to compete against low-fare rivals, Slate's Daniel Engber writes. Bankruptcy allows the big carriers to void their labor contracts and devise a new business plan to pay off creditors. Lower operating costs could help bigger airlines compete with discounters. Sep 18, 2005

Airlines can't resist filing for bankruptcy. The airline industry would become strong and profitable if it stopped relying on bankruptcy to solve its problems, The Washington Post's Jerry Knight writes. Bankruptcy gave United Airlines and US Airways advantages over their rivals, including the ability to cancel their contracts, Knight writes. This system encourages other carriers to file for protection so they can compete with their peers. Sep 18, 2005

Airline bankruptcies hurt smaller firms. Small companies that do business with large airlines often suffer when carriers file for bankruptcy. Small businesses are usually unsecured creditors who hold no airline assets as collateral. After an airline files for bankruptcy, the unsecured creditors are generally repaid a fraction of what is owed to them.

Sep 18, 2005

Congress should phase out pension guarantees. Lawmakers should take some responsibility for recent airline bankruptcies and eliminate government pension guarantees, according to a Wall Street Journal editorial. Much of the airlines' financial troubles are rooted in high pension costs. In the 1970s, Congress created the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. to take over the plans if the companies failed. Some airline leaders warned about pension problems and asked for pension reform, the board writes. Eventually bankruptcy became an option to relieve the companies of the high pension costs. Sep 16, 2005

Some airline passengers are growing weary of big airlines filing for bankruptcy. Since 1978, almost two-thirds of the major carriers have filed at least once, and three did not survive. For their part, the carriers are tired of the forces that have caused them to file for court protection. "Actually, what we've grown weary of are the record-high fuel costs that have masked any of the gains we've made in efficiency," Air Transport Association spokesman Jack Evans said. If fuel prices had remained where they were at the beginning of 2004, "it would be a completely different ballgame," Evans noted. Sep 15, 2005

Future unclear for large U.S. carriers. Four of the nation's top airlines are now operating under bankruptcy protection, writes The Wall Street Journal's Scott McCartney. Carriers generally continue struggling after they emerge from reorganization, and bankrupt airlines sometimes merge with or are purchased by other airlines. Future projections for industry are difficult to make, McCartney writes, noting it is unclear if Delta Air Lines can survive independently and if United Airlines' reorganization plan will succeed. Sep 15, 2005

Airlines ask for break from federal fuel tax. Soaring fuel costs could force the airline industry to cut more jobs and flights, Air Transport Association President and Chief Executive Officer James May told lawmakers Tuesday. The ATA is asking for a yearlong waiver from a federal tax on jet fuel. May said the tax break would save the industry about $600 million. Without the sharp rise in fuel prices, the industry would be at or near profitability, May said. Some lawmakers were skeptical of the proposal, wondering if a fuel-tax holiday would help airlines that are filing for bankruptcy protection anyway. Sep 15, 2005

Contract talks continue between ATA, pilots union. ATA Airlines is continuing contract talks with the union representing its pilots and flight mechanics. The workers have voted to authorize a strike, but a company spokesman said the sides have made progress in the talks. The airline, which is operating under bankruptcy protection, is asking the workers to take pay cuts. Sep 14, 2005

Airline losses could reach $10B in 2005, ATA says. U.S. airlines could report losses of $10 billion in 2005, according to the Air Transport Association. Soaring fuel prices have hurt the industry. The airlines intend to ask lawmakers to support a one-year holiday from the federal tax on jet fuel. The move would save $600 million, the ATA said. Sep 13, 2005

France's airline tax plan gets limited support. France's proposal for an international tax on airline tickets to aid poor countries did not receive wide support at an EU finance minister meeting. Germany and Spain said they have not formally decided to support the plan, and Austria denounced it. France has said it will raise money with the new tax as early as next year. Sep 13, 2005

ATA to ask lawmakers for exemption from fuel tax. The Air Transport Association plans to ask lawmakers to exempt the airline industry from a federal tax on jet fuel for one year. The proposal could save carriers $600 million. "Our principal focus is trying to get a [tax] holiday," said ATA President and Chief Executive Officer James May. "Every little bit helps. It's $600 million more than we've got today." He will present the plan Wednesday at a hearing of the Senate Aviation Subcommittee. Sep 13, 2005

Airlines lighten loads to cut fuel costs. Several large airlines have found ways to trim the weight of their jetliners in order to reduce fuel expenses. Delta Air Lines is installing lighter seats in the coach sections of some of its planes. JetBlue Airways now dumps used water out of its planes' storage tanks after each flight. Jet fuel prices have climbed since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. In a recent report, John Heimlich, chief economist for the Air Transport Association, said, "Simply put, today's jet fuel prices are crushing and could prove to be a knockout blow for some [airlines]." Sep 10, 2005

President mulls tax holiday for airlines. The White House is considering lifting a 7.5% tax on domestic airline tickets temporarily, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta said. The plan, which would require approval from Congress, would help offset an increase in jet fuel prices.

Sep 9, 2005

Busy with hurricane relief, lawmakers postpone Wright campaign. Washington, D.C., lawmakers have postponed efforts to repeal the Wright Amendment as they work on hurricane disaster relief and the confirmation of a new Supreme Court chief justice. Lawmakers say they may consider the issue later this year. Sep 8, 2005

EU gets permission to publish Europe-wide blacklist. The European Union received permission from air safety officials to publish a blacklist of unsafe airlines. The list will include companies restricted or suspended from operating their planes to, from or over Europe. Currently, countries within the EU decide individually which airlines to ban; some observers say it creates confusion when one country bans an airline and another does not. Sep 8, 2005

DOT wants airlines to provide free medical oxygen. The Department of Transportation wants to require airlines operating to and from the U.S. to provide medical oxygen for free to passengers who need it. The proposed rule also would require carriers to test four respiratory assistive devices to ensure they will not interfere with navigation or communication systems. The agency estimated it would cost U.S. carriers up to $39 million to comply, but noted that annual benefits would range from $40.2 million to $101 million. The Air Transport Association is reviewing the proposal, a spokesperson said. Sep 8, 2005

Already struggling, airlines grapple with soaring fuel: The spike in fuel prices caused by Hurricane Katrina could not have come at a worse time for the troubled airline industry, experts say. Higher fuel costs could push Delta Air Lines into bankruptcy, analysts said. Airlines are also worried about a jet fuel shortage as the storm forced major pipelines that supply fuel to Atlanta to be shut down for three days.

Sep 6, 2005

Texas airlines report higher August traffic. Continental Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines posted strong increases in traffic in August. A combination of fare increases and demand also boosted revenue. Meanwhile, concerns about fuel supplies and expenses persisted in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Air Transport Association said airports would have enough fuel for now. Sep 6, 2005

Board attached tough terms to loans to protect taxpayers. Edward M. Gramlich resigned from his post of chairman of the Air Transportation Stabilization Board last week. He will return to the University of Michigan where he has been named acting provost. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the board oversaw $10 billion in loan guarantees to the airline industry. In a Q-and-A with The New York Times, Gramlich said the board set stiff terms for loan guarantees to airlines because it wanted to protect taxpayers. "We didn't want airlines coming to us expecting free money," Gramlich said. Sep 6, 2005

IATA audit useful for researching airline safety. The International Air Transportation Association's "Operational Safety Audit" is a good way for travelers to determine whether the airline they fly is safe, The Wall Street Journal's Scott McCartney writes. The audit independently examines the airlines. So far, 58 carriers have passed the audits, which are administered by six companies. A team of six experts evaluates an airline for five days, then the airline has a year to correct any problems. After the problems are fixed, the airline is listed as meeting international standards. Sep 6, 2005

France has confirmed its plan to introduce a levy on airline tickets from next year, to fund aid for Africa. A pet project of president Jacques Chirac, the "tax" is bound to be resisted by the airlines, even possibly by Air France. Chirac claims to have the support of Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Germany and Spain and says he will raise the matter at the United Nations later this month. A tax of US$1 per ticket could raise US$10bn a year, to fund campaigns against diseases in Africa. The idea has found no support in the United States and in Europe both Greece and Ireland are said to be luke-warm. Sep 2, 2005

Belgium and France have publicly listed a number of, mostly African, airlines barred from operating within each country. Landing permits have been suspended for Africa Lines (Central African Republic), Air Memphis (Egypt), Air Van Airlines (Armenia), Central Air Express (Democratic Republic of Congo), ICTTPW (Libya), International Air Tours (Nigeria), Johnsons Air (Ghana), Silverback Cargo Freighters (Rwanda) and South Airlines (Ukraine). The European Commission has now also said that a list of airlines banned from flying in the whole European Union due to safety concerns could be available within six months. The USA and the UK already publishes such lists. Sep 2, 2005

Airline passenger traffic continued to grow in July, according to figures released by Airport Councils International (ACI). Despite fuel and security surcharges, the competitive fares and summer vacation in the northern hemisphere contributed to buoyant growth in passenger travel. Worldwide traffic increased by nearly 6% compared to July 2004, continuing the solid growth trend seen in June 2005. Worldwide freight growth, however, was sluggish with a modest overall increase of 1%. Regional analysis for both the year-to-date and 12-month categories show that the Asia/Pacific, Latin American and Middle Eastern regions continue to lead passenger growth with double-digit increases, and also report the strongest growth in freight traffic, as indicated in tables 2 and 3. Examples of airports reporting high passenger growth rates in July include Johannesburg (JNB), 26%; Beijing (PEK), 20%; Buenos Aires (EZE), 19%; Dubai (DXB), 13% and Salt Lake City (SLC), 22%, and in Europe several airports increased total traffic by 9% or more, including Athens (ATH), Barcelona (BCN), Geneva (GVA), Munich (MUC) and Vienna (VIE). Sep 2, 2005

Airlines struggle as fuel climbs 20% after storm. Jet fuel prices rose more than 20% after Hurricane Katrina damaged oil refineries and disrupted oil production. Some airlines are raising ticket prices to make up for higher fuel expenses. Still, soaring fuel will increase financial pressure on carriers and possibly push some into bankruptcy. The storm's affect on U.S. travel appears limited to flooded areas hit by the storm. Most other cities are not facing delays or cancellations related to the storm. In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said it does not believe the aviation industry will face an immediate fuel shortage. Click here to listen to an audio report from MarketWatch on jet fuel price increases. Sep 2, 2005

High fuel prices could help some carriers, CEO says. Soaring fuel prices could actually help the airline industry by sending weaker carriers out of business, AirTran Airways Chief Executive Officer Joe Leonard said. Leonard said his low-fare airline would benefit if a major U.S. carrier went out of business. Leonard said he expects a large reduction in airline capacity later this year. Sep 1, 2005


Alitalia is again being plagued by strikes and prospective users should keep an eye on the airline's website before traveling. The loss making Italian national carrier, currently under very close scrutiny from other airlines and the EU, lost 52 flights early last week due to industrial action by cabin staff members of the SULT union. The airline says it will not negotiate and continues to implement a turnaround strategy to stem huge losses totaling nearly one billion dollars last year. Sep 12, 2005

America West

America West shareholders to vote on merger with US Airways. The proposed merger of America West Airlines and US Airways faces important milestones this week. America West shareholders will vote Tuesday on the merger, and a judge will hear comments on US Airways' bankruptcy reorganization plan Thursday. The hearing will provide an opportunity for US Airways' unions or creditors to object to the deal. Sep 13, 2005

America West Airlines

Merged US Airways workers to see no immediate change in pay. America West Airlines told employees all labor contracts will remain intact for at least a year after it completes its merger with US Airways. When the deal is completed, the new carrier will analyze workers' contracts, pay and work rules. The process could eventually result in changes for some workers. The airlines expect to complete the merger by Oct. 1. Sep 9, 2005

America West Airlines, Southwest Airlines

Fuel hedging helps some carriers stay profitable. The risky strategy of hedging fuel is helping some airlines maintain financial stability. Airlines hedge fuel by purchasing a contract guaranteeing a certain price. America West Airlines and Southwest Airlines are among the carriers that have lowered their fuel costs by hedging. Sep 2, 2005

America West Airlines, US Airways

Integrating workforces may challenge carriers' merger. US Airways and America West Airlines may encounter problems when they try to merge their work forces, analysts say. Pay rates and scheduling for flight crews is based on an employee's seniority. US Airways is an older company, and most of its workers would be more senior than America West employees. Unions representing pilots and flight attendants at both airlines have policies requiring the unions to negotiate the integration of seniority lists. Sep 7, 2005

America West, US Airways

America West shareholders approve US Airways merger. America West Airlines shareholders on Tuesday approved the airline's proposed merger with US Airways. The merger faces another hurdle later this week as a bankruptcy judge overseeing US Airways' bankruptcy will hold a hearing to consider final approval of its reorganization plan. Sep 14, 2005

American Airlines

American pilots union president pushes for efficiency. The president of American Airlines pilots union said pilots can help the company survive by becoming more efficient and productive. "We need to focus on being the most efficient airline we can be, and we need to look at those carriers that are doing it right," Ralph Hunter said. Hunter does not think the union will have to negotiate cuts in wages or benefits; contract negotiations start next year. Sep 29, 2005

American Airlines

American may ask pilots for more concessions, union says. Leaders of American Airlines pilots' union expect the carrier to ask for new concessions to help the airline remain financially stable. The airline has given the union extensive data on its financial situation, though it has not yet broached the topic of cuts. Sep 28, 2005

American Airlines

American Airlines moves to limit 401(k) trading. The companies that administer American Airlines' 401(k) plan have imposed restrictions on frequent trading. American said a growing number of employees are trying to time the stock market and boost returns by regularly shifting large portions of their 401(k) holdings between various retirement funds. Fears about the future of the company's pension plan may be prompting the workers' interest in their 401(k) plans. Sep 8, 2005

American Airlines

American to lease fewer gates at St. Louis airport. American Airlines will reduce the number of gates it leases at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport from 56 to 25 when it renews its agreement with the airport. Analysts say it will be difficult for Lambert to find airlines to lease the gates abandoned by American. American also will scale back the cargo building space and surrounding land it rents. Sep 7, 2005

American Airlines

American hopes maintenance center creates new revenue. American Airlines hopes to turn its maintenance operations into a profit center. As its rivals outsource maintenance work, American continues to maintain most of its jetliners itself. American is also trying to attract maintenance work from other airlines. Its Tulsa, Okla., plant has set a goal of netting $500 million through cutting costs, delayed spending and new revenue. Sep 1, 2005

American Airlines, Continental Airlines

Bankruptcies could increase pressure on Continental, American. Bankruptcy filings by two major carriers will put more pressure on American Airlines and Continental Airlines to reduce costs. Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines filed for bankruptcy last week. The process will help Delta and Northwest cut costs and possibly terminate their pension plans. Analysts, however, pointed out that American and Continental have strong hubs, fuel-efficient fleets and the ability to lower labor costs. Sep 21, 2005

American Airlines, United Airlines

United, American complain about Milan codesharing. American Airlines and United Airlines have told European Commission officials that the Italian government will not allow them to add their codes to flights to and from Milan Linate airport operated by their European partners, according to a media report. The two U.S. carriers noted that an open skies agreement signed between the countries in December 1999 permits unlimited codesharing. Sep 14, 2005

American, AirTran

American, AirTran may gain from Delta bankruptcy. American Airlines and AirTran Airways could benefit if Delta Air Lines further shrinks its operations. Delta on Wednesday filed for bankruptcy protection. One analyst expects Delta to cut its capacity 15% while it operates under Chapter 11 protection. Sep 16, 2005

American Express, Delta Air Lines

Bankruptcies complicate carriers' dealings with credit card firms. Credit card companies are playing duel roles as the airline industry struggles with financial problems. American Express, for example, extended financing to Delta Air Lines to help the airline operate after filing for bankruptcy protection. The credit card company also withheld ticket revenue from the airline in case the carrier stopped flying. Sep 29, 2005


Boeing machinists approve contract, end strike. Boeing's machinists yesterday approved a three-year contract ending a strike and allowing the jetmaker to reopen its production lines. The strike forced some airlines to postpone opening routes because Boeing could not deliver planes on schedule. Though they are not required to return to work until Oct. 12, some workers are already back on the job. In November, Boeing will start a new round of contract talks with the unions representing its engineers and technical workers. Those two contracts expire in the first week of December. Sep 30, 2005


Boeing machinists to vote on contract offer today. Boeing machinists will vote today on a revised contract offer. Union leaders have recommended workers approve the contract, and they say it addresses pension and health care benefits. The machinists have been on strike since Sept. 2. A simple majority is needed to approve or reject the contract. If workers approve the deal, Boeing's Wichita operations could catch up on work slowed by the strike in about a week, Boeing officials said. Sep 29, 2005


Boeing, machinists union reach tentative agreement. Boeing and its machinists union have reached a tentative contract agreement. The machinists, who have been on strike for 24 days, will vote on the contract Thursday. The company has agreed not to boost premiums or deductibles for the workers' health care plan, and it will increase its pension multiplier to $70 a month for each year worked. The workers have agreed to no wage increases during the three-year contract. Sep 26, 2005


Strike will force Boeing to postpone up to 30 deliveries. A machinists strike will force Boeing to postpone delivering up to 30 jetliners this month. Chief Financial Officer James Bell told analysts the company could make up the shortfall if the strike, now 14 days old, ends soon. No talks are scheduled, and the sides remain $1 billion apart on terms for the contract. Sep 15, 2005


Boeing machinists strike could hurt Rockwell Collins. Boeing supplier Rockwell Collins said the Boeing machinists strike could cause it to lose up to $15 million a month in sales next fiscal year. Boeing has shut down production of its commercial jetliners. Rockwell Collins supplies cockpit electronics for the planes. Sep 14, 2005


Boeing strike drags into 12th day; no talks scheduled. The Boeing machinists strike will enter its 12th day today with no end in sight and no new negotiations scheduled. Some analysts say the strike could last more than a month. The company has already shut down commercial airline production. The union members say Boeing is demanding cuts as its profits soar, while Boeing counters it must control expenses to remain competitive against its European rival Airbus. Sep 13, 2005


Boeing may shut down airplanes unit if strike persists. Boeing could fully shut down its commercial airplanes unit if a machinists strike does not end soon, according to media reports. However, the company may decide to keep the operation running as long as possible to keep the rest of its work force happy. Boeing is also in contract talks with the union representing its 20,000 engineers and technical workers. Sep 13, 2005


Boeing director Lewis Platt dies at 64. Boeing's lead director Lewis Platt died Thursday at age 64. Platt served as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard from 1993 until 1999, the same year he became a member of Boeing's board. He recently led the search for Boeing's new chief executive. Boeing CEO James McNerney called Platt "a compassionate man who put his own retirement and personal plans on the back burner to ensure that Boeing never missed a beat through its recent recovery." Sep 13, 2005


Boeing official: Sides were $1B apart when strike began. Boeing's machinists union demanded $1 billion more than the company's final offer during contract negotiations, according to Boeing Commercial Airplanes head Alan Mulally. Though the two sides left the bargaining table far apart, Mulally still hopes the strike will be short. No new talks are scheduled, he said. Boeing halted commercial airline production shortly after the strike started. The workers say pension benefits are the biggest issue in the dispute. Sep 9, 2005


New Boeing CEO not planning to intervene in strike. Boeing Chief Executive Jim McNerney said he has no plans to intervene in a machinists strike at the company's commercial airplane unit. McNerney has received updates on the strike since it began Friday; The company has halted production of its commercial jetliners. Alan Mulally, chief of the commercial airplanes unit, is representing the company on the issue. Sep 8, 2005


Machinists strike may delay some Boeing deliveries. Boeing may delay the delivery of 42 jetliners if a machinists strike continues until the end of September, The Seattle Times reported. The planes are worth $4.1 billion based on list prices. The company declined to comment on its delivery outlook. The strike presents a difficult challenge for Boeing Chief Executive W. James McNerney, who was named to the post earlier this year. McNerney may eventually decide how much to compromise on the workers' contract. Sep 7, 2005


Boeing machinists spend Labor Day on the picket line. Boeing machinists spent the Labor Day holiday walking the picket line. The workers left their jobs last week after rejecting the company's contract offer. Boeing has halted commercial aircraft production. The strike will affect aerospace suppliers if it continues for more than two months. Experts say the end result of the strike will demonstrate whether the labor organizations can still influence the way corporations do business. Both sides say they are willing to return to negotiations. Sep 6, 2005


Boeing machinists strike; plane production halted. Boeing stopped production of its jetliners early Friday after more than 18,000 machinists went on strike. The workers rejected a three-year contract proposal that union leaders said fell short in job security and pension and health care benefits. The strike hurts Boeing at a time when orders for commercial jetliners are growing. The last machinists strike at Boeing was a 69-day walkout in 1995. Sep 2, 2005


Machinists union urges Boeing workers to strike. Boeing's machinists union declared that the company's final contract offer was inadequate and urged members to strike. Members will vote on the contract today. If they approve a strike, workers could walk off the job on Friday and production of jetliners would shut down. Boeing has called the contract "industry leading," but the union said it falls short of its goals for pension, health care and job security. Sep 1, 2005

British Airways

British Airways, in what will be seen as the first move of CEO designate Willie Walsh (who takes over from Rod Eddington at the end of the month), is to reorganise its customer service and operations department. Also retiring is operations director Mike Street. The re-organisation, effective from 1 October, will see Geoff Want, currently director of safety and security, become responsible for all ground operations in the UK and overseas. He will also head up the airline's move in 2008 to a single terminal operation in Heathrow's T 5. David Noyes (director Heathrow) and Beverley Bennett (head of UK regional and international customer service) will both report to Mr Want in a role that will see him join the airline's leadership team. Joy Hordern, director of in-flight service, will report to commercial director Martin George in a move that aligns product development and delivery. Robert Boyle, currently director of commercial planning, will become director planning with the creation of a new department that includes the airline's operations control and operations planning departments. Mr Boyle keeps his current responsibilities of network planning and fleet planning and will now take overall charge for commercial planning as well as operational planning. Sep 2, 2005

Continental Airlines

Ex-airline chief says feds should cut taxes, improve infrastructure. The government should change the role it plays in the airline industry, writes the former chief executive officer of Continental Airlines in Time magazine. Gordon Bethune said taxes should be reduced, and the government and manufacturers should stop bailing out weak carriers. The government should also spend more on airports and air traffic control, Bethune writes. Sep 19, 2005

Delta Air Lines

Trustee names unsecured creditors committee in Delta case. The federal bankruptcy court trustee overseeing Delta Air Lines' bankruptcy case has included Boeing, Delta's pilots union, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., Coca Cola and Fidelity on the airline's committee of unsecured creditors. Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport did not get a seat on the committee. The committee will represent creditors with claims that are not backed by collateral. Delta filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. Sep 29, 2005

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines may be trading in bankruptcy but, and as with other insolvent US carriers, this has not stopped them from launching new routes and seeking fresh marketing initiatives. Beginning April 3 2006, Delta will offer the only daily non-stop service between Atlanta and Copenhagen, the first ever scheduled operation between Scandinavia and the southern United States. The airline says further routes are to be announced, which will add to the 17 daily non-stop destinations between its largest hub and Europe. Two-class Boeing 767s, with a flight time of less than nine hours, are expected to be used on the route. Sep 26, 2005

Delta Air Lines

Delta may stop lump sum pension payments for pilots: Delta Air Lines may stop making lump sum pension payouts to retiring pilots, according to the union representing the workers. Union Chairman John Malone said Delta told the union that lump sums paid to a large number of pilots who retired on Sept. 1 -- two weeks before the company filed for bankruptcy -- will create a cash shortfall for the pension plan. The airline cannot make more lump sum payments if it does not make a special contribution to make up the shortfall. Sep 22, 2005

Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines needs image overhaul, marketing experts say. Delta Air Lines must restore the public's faith in its brand to pull itself out of bankruptcy protection, some marketing experts say. They say the airline should first launch an internal campaign to improve its performance and the customer experience. The airline filed for bankruptcy protection last week. Sep 18, 2005

Delta Air Lines

Delta asks pilots for a second round of cuts. Delta Air Lines has asked its pilots to take additional pay and benefit cuts, the pilots union said. The union told the pilots about Delta's request in a recorded message and did not disclose the size of the cuts. In a statement, Delta said the proposals were "necessary to address the severe financial problems that the company and its people are facing." Delta is close to filing for bankruptcy protection, according to media reports. Sep 13, 2005

Delta Air Lines

Delta could file for bankruptcy Wednesday, report says: Delta Air Lines could file for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, according to an Associated Press report quoting unnamed sources. The company would file in New York. It is working with creditors to arrange debtor-in-possession financing. Sep 13, 2005

Delta Air Lines

Delta bankruptcy filing could come this week, reports say. Delta Air Lines could file for bankruptcy as early as this week, according to media reports. The airline's board, which must approve the filing, held a special meeting in New York last week, and observers say the airline is trying to line up financing that would allow it to operate during a bankruptcy proceeding. Delta has struggled amid soaring fuel prices. Delta declined to comment. Sep 13, 2005

Delta Air Lines

Delta completes sale of Atlantic Southeast. Delta Air Lines has completed the sale of its Atlantic Southeast Airlines commuter airline. Delta sold the unit to SkyWest for $425 million. Delta is struggling to avoid filing for bankruptcy and said it will use $100 million from the sale to reduce its debt. Sep 9, 2005

Delta Air Lines

Delta to cut 1,000 jobs in Cincinnati, sell 11 jets. Delta Air Lines will eliminate up to 1,000 jobs in Cincinnati and sell 11 large jets in an attempt to restructure quickly. Analysts say the airline is trying to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection. Delta operates its second-largest hub in Cincinnati. Delta will reduce capacity by 26%. The airline said the hub was "oversized relative to local traffic." Delta will also add more international and domestic flights to its Atlanta hub. Sep 8, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Comair

Bankruptcy may create tension between Delta, Comair: Delta Air Lines' Comair unit will probably be restructured even though it may be close to breaking even, airline analysts say. Delta filed for bankruptcy protection last week and four of its additional procedural filings involved Comair. Analysts say Delta could cut more Comair flights, which could increase tension within its unions. The bankruptcy process could also create tension between Delta creditors and Comair creditors. Sep 19, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Northwest

Delta Air Lines and Northwest are both now in Chapter 11, leaving just American Airlines, of the US 'big three' not trading in bankruptcy. The move was hardly unexpected and Delta says it will operate its full schedule of flights and honor tickets and reservations, and provide refunds and exchanges as usual. The Sky Miles program will be continued and for the staff, wages, healthcare, vacation, sick leave and similar benefits continue without interruption. The airline says it plans to streamline its fleet by only operating seven mainline aircraft types going into 2007. How long the reorganization will take is anyone's guess. United Airlines has been in C11 for over three years with no true end in sight. The position with Northwest, the fifth largest American airline, is much the same as Delta but an ongoing strike by mechanics further complicates the situation. What happens in the future we do not know. Pan Am and TWA both disappeared after C11 problems but Continental, after twice verging on disappearing altogether, came back stronger and healthier, and US Airways (see below) is about to make a comeback. The SkyTeam Alliance, to which both Delta and Northwest belong, says that the North American problems will not affect the inter-airline relationship. Sep 19, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Bankruptcies could impact pensions taken over by feds. Bankruptcies of large U.S. airlines could weaken the retirement security for millions of workers, according to a San Francisco Chronicle editorial. Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines could add $11 billion in responsibilities to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. if they default on pension obligations. The PBGC is on track to have a deficit during the next 10 years, which could mean cuts to benefits paid to many retirees, according to the editorial. Sep 23, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Big airlines suffer amid soaring fuel prices. Soaring fuel prices are preventing large airlines from cutting costs and from becoming more competitive, experts say. Higher fuel prices helped send Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines into bankruptcy protection last week. Some carriers expect average oil prices to climb higher than $65 a barrel. Analysts say prices that high could force more airlines to file for bankruptcy protection. Looming Hurricane Rita threatens about one-quarter of the nation's fuel supply, and damage by the storm could send prices even higher. Sep 23, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Attorneys may make millions in airline bankruptcy cases. Attorneys representing Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines in bankruptcy court could earn legal fees of hundreds of millions of dollars in the next few years. A partner at one firm representing Delta charges the airline $795 an hour. Lawyers are given priority for repayment by the bankruptcy court, and a new bankruptcy law, effective Oct. 17., does not limit the amount a bankrupt company pays lawyers. Sep 20, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Bankruptcies may hasten pension reform. Now that two more major airlines have filed for bankruptcy protection, Congress faces more pressure to reform the current pension system. Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines may turn their defined-benefit plans over to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. To offset the higher PBGC liabilities, Congress may pass laws to increase premiums paid by member companies. Sep 19, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Bankruptcies will affect fliers. Passengers will see changes in airline service now that Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines have filed for bankruptcy protection, The New York Times' Joe Sharkey writes. Both airlines have said they will cut flights, which will make flying less convenient for travelers and reduce opportunities to use frequent-flier miles. Sep 19, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Observers say future unclear for bankrupt Delta, Northwest. Few airlines that emerge from bankruptcy protection go on to operate successfully for a long period of time. However, some analysts believe Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines will survive because they have the support of creditors and manufacturers. Others say the industry must restructure in order to become financially stable. Sep 16, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Pension plans burden two newly bankrupt airlines: Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines did not include in their bankruptcy filings pension payments among the bills they plan to pay. Delta said it has not started the process of terminating its plans but said it will continue asking lawmakers for reforms that could make the pensions more affordable. Northwest officials say they would like to continue the plan, but analysts say the carrier may try to terminate it. Sep 16, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Northwest, Delta file for bankruptcy protection. Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York's Southern District. Four of the U.S.' six largest airlines are now operating in bankruptcy protection. Delta's filing comes after a yearlong effort to cut costs and restructure in order to compete effectively with discount airlines. Northwest's filing comes after defaults on some payments and as it endures a strike by its mechanics' union. United Airlines and US Airways are also operating under bankruptcy protection. Sep 15, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Delta, Northwest close to bankruptcy filings; boards meet today. The boards of Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines are expected to meet today to decide whether the carriers should file for bankruptcy protection. The airlines could file as soon as today; Northwest, however, may delay filing to give unions a chance to take pay and benefit cuts. The airline industry is suffering from soaring fuel prices which have been made worse by Hurricane Katrina. Bankruptcies by the two carriers would likely reduce their costs and increase competition in the industry. Representatives for both airlines said no decision on filing has been made. Sep 14, 2005

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Airlines continue feeling pain from soaring fuel prices. Soaring fuel prices continue to batter the airline industry, even though it has restructured and lowered other costs. Fuel may push two more airlines into bankruptcy protection: Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines may file for bankruptcy soon, according to media reports. The Air Transport Association is asking lawmakers for $600 million in fuel tax breaks for the carriers. Sep 14, 2005

Frontier Airlines

Colorado low-fare airline expands; plans to raise more cash. Colorado low-fare carrier Frontier Airlines has grown over the past few years as rivals have endured financial problems. The airline went from 2,332 employees in July 2001 to 4,117 workers in July of this year. It expects to have 2,000 more by 2008. Also, Frontier this week filed a shelf registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission that will allow it to sell debt securities, stock and securities warrants to repay debt, buy planes, prepay aircraft leases or add to working capital. Sep 20, 2005

GE Aircraft Engines, Airbus, Boeing

GE Aircraft Engines CEO "confident" in market for GEnX. GE Aircraft Engines Chief Executive Officer Scott Donnelly took his post two months ago. In a Q-and-A with The Cincinnati Enquirer, Donnelly said he is "confident" the company will win many orders for its GEnX engine, which will power the Boeing 787 and Airbus 350. He said passenger growth in the airline industry is encouraging but noted overcapacity still exists in the domestic network. Sep 7, 2005

General Electric

General Electric owns largest commercial fleet in U.S. General Electric's financial arm owned 1,342 commercial jetliners at the end of 2004, more than any other U.S. company. Airlines operate the planes under lease agreements. In the first half of 2005, GE Aviation Services made $1.9 million each day off of its leased planes and its loans to commercial airlines. It also has helped airlines with financial problems by renegotiating lease terms. Sep 18, 2005

Minneapolis Airport

Minneapolis airport commission cancels expansion. The Metropolitan Airports Commission has canceled plans to expand the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Northwest Airlines, the airport's largest tenant, recently filed for bankruptcy protection. The airline's financial problems could have other affects on the airport: The airport floated $275 million in general obligation bonds for Northwest, and Northwest directly accounts for 35% of the airport's revenue. An airport spokeswoman said the airline is current in all obligations. Sep 26, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Northwest asks pilots for deeper cuts. Northwest Airlines now says it needs $358 million in annual concessions from its pilots. The request is 11% higher than the company's last proposal. The head of the company's pilot union called the proposal "extreme" and said it would push pay rates for domestic pilots below pay at some regional carriers. Northwest filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month. Sep 30, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Northwest asks three unions for deeper cuts. Northwest Airlines is asking employee groups represented by three unions for larger pay and benefit concessions. Northwest's flight attendant union says the company has asked for $195 million in annual savings, up from the $143 million requested before it filed for bankruptcy earlier this month. The unions representing Northwest pilots and customer service and ramp workers also said the company is demanding more cuts. Sep 29, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Northwest wants deeper cuts from ground workers: Northwest Airlines has raised the amount of pay and benefit cuts it is looking for from baggage handlers, clerks and other ground workers. The airline now wants $190 million in concessions, up from a previous target of $107 million. The bankrupt airline said it will file a motion in court to reject the current contract if it cannot reach an agreement with the union representing the workers. Sep 28, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Union says Northwest looking to outsource attendant jobs. The union representing Northwest Airlines' flight attendants says the carrier hopes to outsource flight attendant jobs on all international flights and some jobs on some smaller planes. The airline is seeking pay cuts from flight attendants and other workers. Northwest would not comment on the negotiations or possible job cuts. Sep 20, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Protesters block road to Northwest Airlines hangar. More than 100 motorists blocked a road leading to a Northwest Airlines maintenance hangar Saturday. Two men were arrested. The road leads to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Northwest uses it to transport replacement mechanics. Northwest mechanics went on strike Aug. 20, and the company began hiring replacement workers last week. Sep 19, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Mechanics will not participate in bankruptcy. Striking mechanics at Northwest Airlines will not participate in its bankruptcy reorganization process. Northwest said it will not try to amend the contract it imposed on the employees. "Because Northwest is operating under the implemented contract terms that provide the necessary labor cost savings from technicians, it is unnecessary to seek bankruptcy court relief for technician labor costs," a company spokesman said. A union spokesman insisted the workers will be a part of the bankruptcy process. Sep 18, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Northwest and Delta filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday. Northwest has told its pilots that it will cut 400 pilot jobs. It also plans to negotiate pay cuts with workers. Meanwhile, Delta asked the bankruptcy court to allow it to stop paying retirement benefits higher than the limits of the company's basic pensions. Sep 16, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Unions see power diminished as airlines file for bankruptcy. Unions can do little to keep bankrupt airlines from seeking additional pay cuts from employees. Northwest Airlines has operated through a mechanics strike by using replacement workers. However, experts say strikes by pilots could be more difficult for an airline to endure. Some union leaders say unions must continue to negotiate with carriers, even after they have filed for bankruptcy protection. Sep 16, 2005

Northwest Airlines

U.S. is unsecured creditor in Northwest filing: The timing of Northwest Airlines' bankruptcy filing will make the federal government an unsecured creditor for a $65 million contribution to the airline's pension fund. The payment is due today; Northwest filed for bankruptcy Wednesday. Sep 15, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Northwest asks union to allow workers to vote on offer. Northwest Airlines has asked the union representing its mechanics to allow the workers to vote on its latest contract offer. A union official, responding to the company's request, said Northwest should instead "make some substantial movement in our direction." The mechanics walked off the job Aug. 20 after leaders rejected the company's proposal. No new talks are scheduled. Northwest has said it plans to start hiring replacement mechanics today. Sep 13, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Talks end between Northwest, mechanics union. After three days of talks, Northwest Airlines and leaders of its mechanics union did not reach a new contract agreement. An airline spokeswoman said no new talks have been scheduled. The strike began Aug. 20. Northwest has said it may start hiring permanent replacement workers Tuesday. Sep 13, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Northwest, mechanics union resume negotiations. Northwest Airlines resumed talks with its mechanics union Thursday. The carrier said it wants $203 million in annual labor savings, up from its original demand of $176 million. Northwest also said it can no longer honor an offer made before the workers walked off the job, but union leaders say they will not agree to terms worse than that offer. The company said it will start permanently replacing the workers if an agreement is not reached by Tuesday. Sep 9, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Northwest to resume talks with mechanics union today. Northwest Airlines and its mechanics union will resume negotiations today. The mechanics went on strike nearly three weeks ago. Northwest said it will ask the workers to take cuts in pay deeper than the cuts that prompted the strike. "Our last best offer which was presented to you on August 18 was based on economic circumstances that no longer exist today," said a letter from Northwest sent to the union. The company told the union it will start hiring replacement workers by Sept. 13 unless the two sides reach an agreement. Sep 8, 2005

Northwest Airlines

S&P downgrades Northwest Airlines credit rating. Standard & Poor's downgraded Northwest Airlines' credit rating again and said it expects the airline to file for bankruptcy if its unions do not agree to concessions. The company declined to comment on the downgrade. Standard & Poor's said higher fuel costs and delays in union concessions are hurting the carrier's financial position. Sep 7, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines sues striking mechanics union. Northwest Airlines has sued the union representing its mechanics for blocking buses transporting replacement workers. The airline said union members are threatening safety and obstructing traffic. Union representatives said the airline has no case. Northwest mechanics walked off the job Aug. 19, and the company has hired replacement workers to maintain its fleet. Sep 6, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Northwest pilots agree to negotiate additional cuts. Northwest Airlines pilots union will start discussing a second round of pay and benefit cuts with the airline. The company's financial situation is growing worse and it would most certainly file for bankruptcy without deeper concessions from the workers, the union said. Northwest mechanics have been on strike since Aug. 20. No new talks are planned with the union. Sep 2, 2005

Northwest Airlines

Many Northwest replacements move from job to job. Many of the replacement mechanics hired by Northwest Airlines were laid off after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The mechanics have flown in from places such as Minnesota and the Carolinas. Some have spent the past few years moving from job to job and working for private contractors. Northwest has hired about 1,200 replacement workers to take over for the striking mechanics. The company has not said whether it will hire the replacements permanently. Sep 1, 2005

Polar Air

Polar Air pilots strike after contract negotiations fail. Polar Air Cargo pilots went on strike last week after their union failed to reach a contract agreement with the company. Pilot pay was the main sticking point between the union and company, which had negotiated for two years. Polar Air is a unit of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings. Atlas Air President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey H. Erickson said the company's offer included pay increases of 10.5%. Sep 19, 2005

Southwest Airlines

Wright limits flying out of Dallas Love Field, where Southwest Airlines operates a large hub. Southwest wants the law repealed, but American Airlines and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport say it should remain in place. Sep 8, 2005

United Airlines

United bankruptcy serves as blueprint for Delta, Northwest. The bankruptcy of United Airlines will provide a model for Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines as they go through the bankruptcy process. United shed its pension program and expensive labor contracts while in bankruptcy. Northwest and Delta filed for bankruptcy protection last week after cutting thousands of jobs, cutting back on their flight schedules and reducing employees' pay. Sep 18, 2005

United Airlines

United hopes to leave bankruptcy next year, filing says. United Airlines said it will emerge from bankruptcy protection early next year as a "much more competitive" airline. The airline filed its reorganization plan with a bankruptcy court Wednesday. United said unsecured creditors probably will receive just four cents to seven cents on each dollar. A $2.5 billion, all-debt loan package from Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, General Electric and Deutsche Bank AG will finance the reorganization plan. Sep 8, 2005

United Airlines

United expected to file bankruptcy reorganization plan. United Airlines is expected to release today its bankruptcy reorganization plan after spending 33 months under bankruptcy protection. The plan will explain how it will expand its business, repay creditors and secure financing. The company hopes to emerge from bankruptcy protection early next year. Sep 7, 2005

US Airways

Judge approves US Airways' plan to exit bankruptcy. A bankruptcy court judge on Friday approved US Airways' plan to leave bankruptcy protection and to merge with America West Airlines. The merger may now take place as soon as Sept. 27. US Airways Chief Executive Bruce Lakefield said he thinks the airline is now well-positioned in the industry. Sep 18, 2005

US Airways

US Airways to pay $23.5M to resolve pension claims. US Airways will pay the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. $23.5 million to resolve claims against the carrier. A bankruptcy court on Friday approved the settlement, which will resolve more than $13 billion in claims by the pension agency. The airline will make a $13.5 million cash payment and provide a $10 million note to the PBGC. Sep 6, 2005
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Publication:Airguide Online
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 30, 2005
Previous Article:Company Watch August 2005.
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