December 17, 2010

Yearly Airline News Roundup – The Other Guys

Last week we brought you the Yearly Airline News Roundup for JetBlue, highlighting the top ten biggest JetBlue news stories of 2010. This week we are pleased to bring you the top ten industry stories of the year, as we think they stacked up. Feel free to add your own stories if you think there are important ones that are not included below – the industry certainly served up myriad lively tales (and tails) in 2010:

10. Passengers capture emergency landing on video from inside plane (CNN): “Two passengers aboard Delta Flight 4951 from Atlanta, Georgia, to White Plains, New York, on Saturday taped the dramatic moments of their flight’s emergency landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The footage from Flight 4951 shows sparks outside a window of the plane’s cabin. The flight experienced landing gear problems, according to a recording of a pilot’s conversation with air traffic control.”
Full story

9. BA shareholders approve merger with Iberia (The Wall Street Journal): “British Airways’ shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favor of its merger with Spain’s Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana SA, the final step before the airlines become International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, or IAG, in the new year. BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh described 2010 as an ‘excellent year so far’ for achievements, with the airline also gaining antitrust immunity to work more closely with American Airlines.”
Full story

8. First-ever in-flight same-sex wedding takes flight to NYC (MSNBC): “Giving a new meaning to the phrase ‘walking down the aisle,’ a gay couple from Germany and a lesbian couple from Poland were married on an Scandinavian Airlines flight from Stockholm, Sweden to New York.”
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7. Brazil’s TAM and Chile’s LAN to merge (Reuters): “Brazil’s largest airline TAM plans to merge with Chilean rival LAN, a deal that would create the biggest carrier in Latin America. The combined company would fly to 115 destinations in 23 countries and employ some 40,000 workers. The airlines would continue to operate under their current names but under the umbrella of a new holding company called Latam Airlines Group.”
Full story

6. Emirates overtakes Lufthansa in having world’s biggest long-haul fleet (Emirates 24/7): “Emirates airline has overtaken Lufthansa to become the world’s largest fleet for long-haul flights and long – haul traffic. According to a recent study, Emirates owns 155 long-haul aircraft which is the highest number by any airline in the world. The report also said that personnel costs and fees of Gulf carriers are 30 per cent less than those European airlines which help them make more competitive and profitable.”
Full story

5. Southwest to buy AirTran for $1.4 billion (Reuters): Southwest announced its intention to acquire AirTran Airways in a deal valued at $1.4 billion. Southwest says it will take on AirTran’s fleet of 737s and 717s and transition them to the Southwest livery in the coming years. The deal will also give Southwest its first-ever international and Caribbean service, add a major Atlanta hub where it will go head-to-head with Delta, and allow for expanded service in Boston, New York, Washington, and many other overlapping markets. It’s unclear at this point if Southwest will reduce capacity or jobs as a result of the acquisition of AirTran.
Reuters

4. TSA begins pat downs (Boston Herald): “The Transportation Security Administration will start using the new front-of-the-hand, slide-down screening technique for passengers at all 450 of the nation’s commercial airports. Passengers who opt not to walk through the full-body scanners are subject to the searches, as well as passengers who set off metal detectors at checkpoints without the scanners. The TSA also picks random passengers for the searches.”
Full article

3. Airport body scanners cause stir (The Boston Globe): “A privacy advocacy group is suing the Department of Homeland Security to suspend the use of the controversial full-body scanners employed at airports across the country, including at every major checkpoint at Logan International Airport. In the lawsuit, filed last month, the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C., said the slightly blurred but accurate pictures of passengers’ naked bodies produced by the machines are the equivalent of a ‘digital strip search.’”
Full story

2. Fuel efficiency key to airline profits (Bloomberg): “Global airlines must purchase new, more fuel-efficient planes to cut costs and increase profits if they are to survive, said Gary Scott, president of Bombardier Inc.’s commercial aircraft unit. ‘Optimized fleets’ of new aircraft ‘will drive airline profitability through cost savings and revenue growth, and help enable new business models,’ Scott said. Bombardier is the world’s third-largest commercial planemaker after Airbus SAS and Boeing Co.”
Full story

1. United/Continental merge (Bloomberg):“The $3.2 billion merger of United Airlines parent UAL Corp. and Continental Airlines Inc. closed today, bringing the two big carriers together in a company called United Continental Holdings Inc. The two airlines will continue to fly separately for as long as 18 months while they seek approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for a single operating certificate that will allow them to mix their planes, crews and maintenance programs. The combined company, which is based in Chicago and is the largest airline in the world by traffic, is headed by Jeff Smisek, Continental’s chairman and chief executive officer.”
Full story

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