Well that didn’t last long. American Airlines, the biggest carrier in the world, set a new quarterly profit record, with a $1.9b net profit in the third quarter. Of course, there are some technicalities at play here, but it broke Delta’s two-week old record. Maybe even more astonishing was United’s $1.7b figure. Has United finally narrowed the performance gap between itself and Delta and American? Meanwhile all of these airlines look like a bunch of pikers compared to Alaska Airlines. Southwest did just fine, but not as well as Volaris (by operating profit margin anyway). Plus we check in on Tigerair, Vietnam Airlines and Norwegian.
How did Delta achieve its record-breaking quarter? We touch on some of the root causes, including Delta’s push for cheap aircraft and near-perfect operations. Also, we discuss Delta’s plan for flat or zero capacity growth in the fourth quarter.
And will Delta hold on to its shiny new earnings record for longer than two weeks? Meanwhile, contrary to a lot of other airlines, JetBlue is seeing an increase in unit revenues. And American Airlines pulled off its reservation system migration with aplomb. And lastly, we revisit the industry 30 years ago from the seat of a certain DeLorean.
Lufthansa is facing competition from Ryanair, Wizz Air, easyJet, Air Berlin, Vueling, Turkish Airlines, Emirates and probably your brother. Competition is not a new thing, but the severity is growing. Meanwhile, Air New Zealand resides in a small country in a location that’s not exactly the stuff of dreams to a network planner.
But still it makes plenty of profits. How does it do so well? American Airlines is migrating US Airways onto AA’s reservation system—no small feat. Plus we talk about capacity increases by WestJet and Air Canada in Calgary, and Spirit and Frontier in Atlanta, and capacity decreases in Brazil by LATAM and Gol. And of course, we discuss the Jennifer Aniston ad.
In airline years, Southwest is certainly old enough to be put out to pasture. Instead, the massive airline is making money like never before. Could some of its contrarian moves, like no bag fees, actually be working? Or is it something else? Oil prices are driving low fares around the world, and that is driving traffic figures despite even some sluggish economies. One airline seeing remarkable traffic numbers is Volaris in Mexico. Meanwhile, Russia’s Aeroflot saw a surprise turn of events as the plug was pulled on its absorption of troubled Transaero.