By just a tenth of a percent, United’s fourth quarter operating profit margin bested that of Delta—and likely that of American, which reports later—making United, for the quarter, No.1 among the Big Three U.S. carriers. So, has the natural order shifted from United being a perennial laggard to leader? We’ll see. But, make no mistake, United is performing well.
Not performing well is Cathay Pacific, an airline that has in recent years been stymied by intense competition. Some job cuts notwithstanding, investors are waiting for a comprehensive turnaround plan at Cathay. Meanwhile, we introduce a new segment and pose some interesting questions such as: Why is Emirates flying Athens-Newark? Will JetBlue catch Spirit in terms of profitability? And if the U.K. follows through with a so-called “hard Brexit,” will Ryanair abandon its domestic service there?