Weekly airline news roundup


Another newsworthy week for the airline industry, starting sadly with the very unfortunate news of crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight just outside of Beirut. All 90 people onboard were killed. It was soon learned that the pilot did not follow instructions from the control tower and made a “fast and strange turn” during a thunderstorm that might have caused the crash.

Speaking of safety, this week the FAA released a report outlining their commitment to safety in response to the February Colgan Air crash near Buffalo where pilot error was cited as the cause of the accident. And Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano remarked that there is a “renewed sense of urgency in the international community” about creating safer airports after the Christmas Day underwear bomber incident.

In other news this week, many airlines released their fourth quarter and annual earnings for 2009, including our very own fourth quarter and full year profits which were announced this morning! We shouldn’t fail to also mention that our credit rating improved because we crossed the finish line with minimal perspiration in a year when all the big guys had to carry around hankies and some didn’t even have a place to squeeze the excess moisture into. Speaking of sweat gland excretion (though it’s proven that the Japanese sweat less), Japan Airlines (yes, that one that went bankrupt but is somehow still calling shots) rejected one legacy airline for another, not entirely unlike the one it rejected (both reported fourth quarter losses for 2009).

To the slight credit of those airlines that reported losses for 2009, a grim trend emerged, which showed that the demand for air travel in 2009 was the lowest both domestically and internationally in airline history.

Meanwhile, news lite: it’s barely news reported that Air New Zealand plans to launch lie-down seats in economy, which essentially means they will allow people to lie down across a row. *Caveat- you have to purchase all three seats (though folks with two seats can purchase the third at 1/2 price) in order to use the row to lie down. **Another caveat- you have to cuddle with a stranger if you’re not flying with someone you know (or else you might also have to snuggle up to an in-law, a business colleague, or whomever you might be traveling with). ***Snuggies not included.

In the vein of barely newsworthy items, we had on our hands this week yet another unruly passenger on a flight from Washington to Vegas, who tried to open the door to the aircraft while the plane was in the air. Hopefully the FBI didn’t have to rush to get involved with this one. No real risk was posed, though, as, “it’s virtually impossible to open an exterior door while in flight,” said Denver airport spokesman Jeff Green.

As always, Happy Jetting and a very good night!