September 26, 2019
In this episode of the Skift Airline Weekly Lounge podcast, Skift Travel Senior Aviation Business Editor Brian Sumers and I discuss the interviews we did on stage at Skift Global Forum in New York City, Sept. 18–19. Air France/KLM CEO Ben Smith told us how he's trying to rationalize and simplify Air France's network (while leaving KLM largely alone). American Airlines Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr promised the carrier would recover from a difficult summer. And Delta CEO Ed Bastian spoke about transforming the airline into a trusted global brand.
Sumers and I chew on our conversations at Skift Global Forum and wonder just why Smith's favorite aircraft is the B747. —Madhu Unnikrishnan, editor, Skift Airline Weekly
September 20, 2019
Andrew Watterson, Southwest's chief revenue officer, had a few minutes to talk to Skift Airline Weekly Editor Madhu Unnikrishnan and Skift Travel Senior Aviation Business Editor Brian Sumers at the Boyd Group's International Aviation Forecast Summit in Las Vegas last month. Watterson still is bullish on Hawaii and says Southwest will expand its service to the state from California. He explained why Southwest pulled out of Mexico City and how its international network is optimized to take U.S. residents to Mexican and Caribbean leisure destinations. Watterson also explained that Southwest is seen as a leisure carrier in the Eastern half of the country and a business carrier in the West.
September 12, 2019
Rosemary Vassiliadis, director of aviation for Clark County, Nevada, leads operations at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport and oversees four other airports in southern Nevada. Vassiliadis thinks airlines are flat wrong in their opposition to raising the passenger facility charge, or PFC. Airports have long argued for raising this fee to a maximum of $8.50 per passenger, up from $4.50 today, but airlines say doing so would crimp demand for travel. This isn't true, Vassiliadis argued in this interview, pointing to the many — and higher — ancillary fees that airlines already levy that haven't dampened demand. Airports are pushing for the increase, ultimately, in order to better serve the passenger, she noted.
Vassiliadis also told Skift Airline Weekly about McCarran's new air service and plans for a new airport on the California-Nevada border.
September 5, 2019
Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram isn't too worried about increasing competition from U.S. and Japanese carriers on routes to Hawaii. During an an interview with Skift Airline Weekly Editor Madhu Unnikrishnan in Las Vegas on Aug. 26, Ingram said Hawaiian has been competing fiercely on those routes for 90 years, so this is nothing new, Ingram said. What is new, at least since Aloha and Go went bankrupt, is competition on inter-island routes. Southwest recently began flying limited routes between the Hawaiian islands, but Hawaiian's deep routes in the community, its long history serving what Ingram calls "the neighbor islands," and the frequency of its routes will stand it in good stead.
Ingram also admitted that he may be among the 717's last defenders, and argues that the airframe's engineering is perfectly suited to Hawaiian's needs. To hear more, listen to this week's episode of the Skift Airline Weekly Lounge.