March 26, 2010

Weekly airline news roundup- Spring Break edition!

Image courtesy of Andrewmoir on Flickr

Image courtesy of Andrewmoir on Flickr

Spring Break always like totally conjures up some chaos (as well as images of coeds in Cancun), and this week was no exception. A cocktail (of the explosive kind) was found onboard a Kingfisher flight in India this week with not a clue as to how it went undetected. Security in U.S. airports meanwhile is expected to vamp up its diligence and spontaneity, potentially breaking Spring Breakers’ spirits with longer security lines than expected (but hopefully we’re all the safer as a result).

It seems half of the airlines in Europe are on strike or planning to go on strike this week in deliberate efforts to impact heavy Spring Break travel. British Airways is the most party-hearty, striking in full force during a busy travel period. The airline reacted punitively (not unlike the parents of rowdy children spring breaking rules), permanently revoking the leisure travel privileges for all those that participated in the strike. TAP Air Portugal is planning to strike this week as well, with threats to hurt tourism in the country, and Lufthansa is planning to strike again after a strike last month failed to yield the desired reformations.

The U.S. and Europe, meanwhile, battled like two frat boys over the last slice of pizza, with the WTO over aircraft subsidies. Consequently, the two super powers are also embroiled in a mostly-adult debate about limits on U.S. ownership of foreign airlines.

Unrelated, a new bill may help replace World War II radar with GPS technology, launching us into the High School Musical-era of the 21st Century. And low-cost Canadian carrier, WestJet is flexing their airline biceps this week and announcing that their codesharing program is about to get like totally huge to include many more partners (note to WestJet: please use protection). The Canadian airline is also trying to one-up Air Canada and increase their market share. Funny enough, in order to get bigger, there may be some shrinkage…in the size of their planes.

The Transport Workers Union, meanwhile, is trying to get Virgin America into bed with them and the government is working to expose hidden airline fees. US Airways doesn’t want to be left out of the tarmac delay-rule exemptions and so they are pledging the Phi Kappa DOT and are asking to be exempt from the looming regulation.

And in a break not of the spring variety, but rather from regular news, Virgin Galactic made its first test flight into outer space!

In JetBlue land (we like to think of ourselves less the frat boy and more the dorky cool kid or the cool dork, depending on how you look at it), we unveiled our big plans to keep our headquarters in New York City. We also contended with a wind storm this week, which caused some operational challenges, but delays in T5 can’t be nearly as bad as getting stuck in other terminals, as we just won awards in four categories for our outstanding offerings at JFK’s T5.

As always, safe travels and have a great weekend!

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