Skift Airline Weekly Lounge
Whither Willie Walsh?

Whither Willie Walsh?

January 23, 2020

Airline Weekly talks this week to Skift Europe Editor Patrick Whyte on the news of International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh's retirement announcement. Walsh has been a powerhouse in the airline industry, helping transform British Airways into a pan-European behemoth. London-based Whyte walks us through the reaction in the United Kingdom. He also takes a look at what Flybe's financial problems might mean for the domestic UK market. 

Looking Into Our Crystal Ball

Looking Into Our Crystal Ball

January 16, 2020

A single year can result in dramatic change within the airline industry, so an entire decade could see it completely transformed. After 10 years of strong profits and relatively stable oil prices in the 2010s, what does the decade ahead hold in store for the U.S. airline industry? Editor Madhu Unnikrishnan and co-founder and Senior Analyst Jay Shabat game out what might happen in the next 5–10 years — and whether Boeing ever will build the NMA.

The Year in Review

The Year in Review

December 19, 2019

It's that time of year again. Airline Weekly Editor Madhu Unnikrishnan and Senior Analyst Jay Shabat look back on the year that was. It was yet another tumultuous year in this industry we love: Storied names like Thomas Cook, among others, went out of business, and the B737 MAX — one of the world's best-selling aircraft — was grounded. Can anyone make low-cost, longhaul flights work? Will Boeing ever build the new midsize airplane (NMA)? Listen to our final podcast of the year to find out.

Is The ‘Smart Airport’ Really a Thing?

Is The ‘Smart Airport’ Really a Thing?

December 12, 2019

Skeptics might say the airport of the future has always been just around the corner, but maybe the "smart airport" really is a thing.  Skift Travel Tech Editor Sean O'Neill tells Airline Weekly Editor Madhu Unnikrishnan about how advances in technology are improving the passenger experience, baggage tracking, and security. Hear what some of the world's more innovative airports are doing to implement new technologies into every part of their operations in this week's episode of the Lounge.

Why Volaris is Taking the Bus

Why Volaris is Taking the Bus

December 5, 2019

It's not other airlines. It's the bus. That's where Mexican ultra-low-cost carrier Volaris sees the most opportunity to grow: by poaching passengers from the country's long-distance bus network. In this episode of the Airline Weekly Lounge, Editor Madhu Unnikrishnan talks to Skift Travel Editor-in-Chief Tom Lowry about Volaris' growth strategy, how it allows passengers to pay for tickets, and why its employees are sometimes escorted out of bus stations by security.

What’s the Deal With Air India?

What’s the Deal With Air India?

November 21, 2019

Will there be a deal or won't there? The Indian government now says it wants to sell 100% of the state-owned carrier, but who will buy it? The airline is notoriously saddled with debt and has a restive labor force. Airline Weekly Senior Analyst Jay Shabat acknowledges Air India's problems but notes that the beleaguered carrier actually has some strengths and assets that a would-be buyer could find attractive. Will any company step forward to buy the Flying Maharajah? Listen to this week's episode to find out.

Much Ado About Europe

Much Ado About Europe

November 14, 2019

Skift Europe Editor Patrick Whyte joined Skift Airline Weekly Editor Madhu Unnikrishnan to share his insights on the latest in European airline news. First, of course, Whyte takes a look at why Air Europa's parent company Globalia would want to sell one of its largest business units to IAG. Is there a future for vertically integrated travel companies, especially after behemoth Thomas Cook went bankrupt?

Whyte points out, however, that parts of the bankrupt Thomas Cook's empire have lived to see another day, including Condor and the company's Nordic operations. Even the travel agencies have a new lease on life. Whyte also discussed Air France/KLM's plans for the future.  Listen to the full podcast here, on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.

How Does IAG Benefit From Acquiring Air Europa?

How Does IAG Benefit From Acquiring Air Europa?

November 7, 2019

International Airlines Group (IAG) had a surprise for the airline industry this week: It stated its intention to buy Spanish carrier Air Europa. This wasn't a surprise to Skift Airline Weekly, however, which earlier this year reported on the rumors afloat about the acquisition.

What's in it for IAG?  Skift Airline Weekly Senior Analyst Jay Shabat walked us through the rationale for the acquisition, the regulatory issues that may lie ahead, and just why Madrid may not be the next European megahub. Shabat also explained why IAG, which already owns Iberia, Iberia Express, Vueling, and Level, is getting its fifth Spanish airline.

Listen to the full episode.

Interview: Norwegian Executive on SFO Launch and Rebound From Tough Year

Interview: Norwegian Executive on SFO Launch and Rebound From Tough Year

October 31, 2019

Skift Airline Weekly Editor Madhu Unnikrishnan caught up with Anders Lindström, Norwegian's director of communications for the U.S., at San Francisco International Airport on Monday when the carrier launched San Francisco-Barcelona flights. Lindström explained why Norwegian is moving some flights from Oakland to SFO, and what routes in the U.S. are doing well for the carrier. He also talked through the third-quarter results and why he thinks the carrier has turned the corner from its tough year.

What Happened to Thomas Cook?

What Happened to Thomas Cook?

October 24, 2019

The UK government this week engages in another set of inquiries on why Thomas Cook went bankrupt, which is the perfect time to ask Skift Europe Editor Patrick Whyte, who has been covering the story, what happened. How did the "booking clerk to the empire" go belly-up after more than 150 years? Whyte explains that the company was struggling under a massive debt load and had struggled with maintaining a large number of travel agencies as booking habits changed. But Whyte noted that parts of the business remain — Condor, in Germany, and the subsidiary in the Nordic countries.

European and UK holidaymakers may see fares rise in the short term as airlines backfill the capacity hole left by Thomas Cook's bankruptcy, but Whyte believed the capacity shortfall would be filled by next summer.