January 14, 2011

Weekly Airline New Roundup – sNo’ More!

As if we haven’t seen enough already, this week brought more snow to the airline industry — and to the East Coast specifically — causing additional delays and cancellations from Augusta, Georgia up to Augusta, Maine.

Virgin Atlantic risked having its aircraft seized this week after refusing to pay airport fees to Heathrow, claiming it did a bad job of cleaning up after the big snowstorm there a couple of weeks ago. Air France reported this week that it took a €70 million hit from the storm.

Several Russian airlines have grounded their Tupolev jets after one caught on fire on the taxiway, killing three and producing a ball of flames that spanned a city block. Indonesian budget airline Mandala has ceased operations until it can figure out a financial plan that will help get it out of debt. And an IranAir 727 plane broke into pieces this week over its arrival city, Orumiyah, killing close to 80 of the more than 100 onboard.

The FAA is ordering an inspection of all 757 planes to check for cracked fuselages, the TSA announced this week that all airlines have to disclose at the time of purchase what carrier is operating the flights, and British Airways is entering into its third year in a standoff with the cabin crew union. US Airways meanwhile is cutting jobs, Southwest is introducing new navigation technology that will create more energy-efficient landings, and USA Today reported that November was the second month in a row with no violations of the tarmac delay rule.

Also this week, our German friends at Lufthansa reported that their 2010 passenger traffic reached 90 million, a 17% jump from 2009. Southwest announced its highest-ever load factor for December, with behinds filling 80.4% of seats. Conversely, Aer Lingus saw a quarter fewer passengers this December over last. And our newest partner Emirates asked for $1 billion in financing this week to help fund new aircraft. Plus, Airbus received the largest commercial plane order ever this week, a $15.6 billion deal.

In the theme of partnering, Japanese airline JAL announced this week that it will begin a revenue-sharing business on trans-Pacific flights with American Airlines. Speaking of trans-Pacific, Qantas will resume A380 flights between Sydney and Los Angeles after getting a sign-off from safety regulators.

Delta this week announced that it has started an online auction system for passengers to bid on overbooked seats (talk about less for more!). And according to one report this week, short haul flights are becoming less popular.

In JetBlue’s world this week we focused on operations to get through the second winter weather event in two weeks, but managed to have some fun all the while. We also took home the 2010 Frost & Sullivan U.S. Air Travelers’ Choice Award for Best Airline Website Booking Experience and tickets went on sale this week to our newest desirable New England vacation destination, Martha’s Vineyard.

As always, safe travels and have a great weekend. Thanks for reading!

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