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Old November 13th, 2008, 07:42 AM   #61
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TABLE - U.S. airlines October traffic data

CHICAGO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - The following table lists October airline operational data for the 10 largest U.S. airlines by passenger traffic, compared with the same month a year earlier:


Code:
          ----Traffic----    ---Capacity---    --Load factor--
           RPMs   pct chg     ASMs  pct chg     pct    Change
American     10.51      -8.8    13.30     -7.0    79.0   -1.5 pts
Delta*        9.93      -2.2    12.17     -4.7    81.6   +2.0 pts
United        8.68      -9.7    10.68     -9.9    81.3   +0.2 pts
Northwest     6.38      -1.4     7.57     -2.0    84.3   +0.5 pts
Continental   6.35      -7.6     7.99     -7.3    79.5   -0.3 pts
Southwest     6.21      +2.9     8.81     +2.9    70.4   -0.1 pts
US Airways    4.70      -3.6     5.75     -5.2    81.9   +1.4 pts
JetBlue       1.88      -5.4     2.33    -11.1    80.7   +4.8 pts
AirTran       1.43      -2.3     1.78     -5.6    80.5   +2.7 pts
Alaska**      1.42      -1.0     1.92     -3.7    73.6   +2.0 pts
NOTES: Traffic is measured in billions of revenue passenger miles, the distance traveled by paying passengers.

Capacity is measured in billions of available seat miles, reflecting the number of seats available for sale and the length of the flights.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 12:11 PM   #62
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Calyon sees US airline industry likely recovering in 2009

Nov 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. airline industry could recover in 2009, despite the downturn in the economy, helped by the sharp decline in oil prices and capacity cuts at the airlines, Calyon Securities said.

"We remain cautiously bullish on the U.S. airline industry and look for a recovery in 2009 despite the downturn in the economy that is expected to strike with full force this winter," analyst Ray Neidl wrote in a note to clients.

The U.S. airlines are prepared for the full brunt of the economic downturn with the capacity cuts initiated and financing completed before the credit crisis hit, Neidl added.

Airlines are not reducing prices and might resort to further capacity cuts if it is necessary because of demand falling beyond current expectations, and that would enable them to maintain pricing and load factors, the analyst said.

Neidl expects passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increases to be in the mid-single digit area for the remainder of the year with load factors staying high.
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Old November 13th, 2008, 04:37 PM   #63
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AirTran Airways to begin charging $15 for travelers' first checked bag
12 November 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings Inc., said Wednesday that the airline will begin to charge its customers $15 for their first checked bag when traveling on or after Dec. 5.

The new fee will not apply to customers who purchased tickets through Nov. 11.

The airline will continue to charge $25 for a second checked bag and $50 for each additional bag.

AirTran said business-class travelers and "elite" members of its rewards program will be exempt from the first-bag charges, and will continue to be exempt from second-bag charges.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 08:19 AM   #64
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Menendez calls on airlines to explain fees
26 November 2008

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A month after pushing airlines to reduce fuel surcharges as oil prices dropped, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez used the heaviest travel day of the year to propose requiring them to disclose and explain other fees they charge passengers.

As planes took off behind him at Newark Liberty International Airport on Wednesday, Menendez, D-N.J., noted that fees and surcharges frequently aren't represented in the initial price listed online, nor are they broken down and explained. He said he's drafted legislation to require airlines to make them clear upfront.

To illustrate his point, he held up a printout of an online search he had done recently. It produced a flight from Newark to Detroit for $291, which wound up costing $334 when extra fees were added, not including any fees for baggage.

"We're living in hard economic times, and Americans are mindful of every penny they spend," Menendez said. "Fees should be plain to see and easy to figure out, and fuel surcharges should actually correlate to fuel costs instead of being an excuse to raise prices."

Last month, Menendez called on airlines to reduce ticket surcharges that were instituted in response to record oil prices that eventually dropped 45 percent from July to October.

On Wednesday he said many airlines have folded the surcharges into their ticket pricing, but criticized them for continuing to charge baggage fees that were initiated partly as a response to high fuel costs.

"If fuel is down 50 percent and you're still charging the same for baggage fees, that would be changed" under his legislation, he said.

Menendez said his legislation would require airlines to demonstrate that fuel surcharges are directly related to the fuel costs for a particular route. He said he was able to search online and find flights on the same carrier between the same two cities that levied different fuel surcharges.

The Air Transport Association, which represents the airline industry, said in a letter to Menendez last month that the airlines expect to lose $6 billion to $8 billion in 2008 due to fuel costs and reduced travel due to the weak economy. It estimated airlines will spend between $10 billion and $20 billion more on fuel in 2008 than in 2007.

In an e-mail Wednesday, ATA spokesman David Castelveter said airlines already disclose fees and surcharges before ticket purchases.

"We are and should remain a deregulated industry," Castelveter wrote. "Let competition determine the price of a ticket."
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Old December 7th, 2008, 04:34 PM   #65
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New flier fees likely to remain:
Delta and AirTran join others in the airline industry charging customers for everything from bags to seat assignments.

5 December 2008
The Atlanta Journal - Constitution

Delta Air Lines and AirTran Airways' new $15 charge for a first checked bag, effective today, marks another step in the shift of how passengers pay for air travel.

Although airlines are enjoying lower fuel costs, it doesn't mean the end of extra fees for travelers. That's because the airline industry has made fees for everything from seat assignments to checked bags part of a new strategy which appears to be here to stay. Tacking on fees makes it easier to charge passengers more, even if competition makes it difficult to raise fares.

"For many years, airlines have stuck with one price gets you everything whether you need it or not," said AirTran chief financial officer Arne Haak at a conference last month. "Really what is happening is an unbundling of the services. . . . That's how customers respond. Our customers will spend three hours on the Internet figuring out how to save $8 when they buy an airplane ticket. Then they're going to come to the airport and spend $20 to buy a soda, a bag of chips, a candy bar and a magazine that they could have bought for half the price."

For passengers, it means paying more to get full service while paying less for bare-bones service.

"Customers have an option to either purchase higher-fare tickets that include the full range of services offered or can choose to purchase a deeply discounted seat where the costs of some services are unbundled," said Delta spokesman Kent Landers in a written statement.

AirTran chief executive Bob Fornaro said during a presentation at an investor conference this week that the company's focus on ancillary revenues "is starting to pay some dividends and will pay huge benefits next year."

AirTran expects to generate more than $30 million in revenue from selling seat assignments at time of purchase. Its first checked bag fee could generate $50 million to $100 million in revenue, according to Haak.

"I think quite frankly the environment that we're in we're really unlikely to roll any of those back," Fornaro has said.

Delta's stream of revenue from fees "has been going fairly well," said Delta president Ed Bastian, during a presentation at an investor conference this week.

Some airlines cited high fuel costs when they added certain fees earlier this year, but "I think that was a convenient excuse," said Port Washington, N.Y.-based airline consultant Bob Mann.

With checked bag fees, for example, Mann said airlines pay more to handle bags and pay for lost and damaged bags. "If you eliminate all that stuff, you eliminate some of the mechanical systems costs, some of the labor component and a lot of the loss and damage," he said.

But not all of the new fees have stuck.

When Delta announced it would begin charging $15 to passengers for their first checked bag and $25 for a second checked bag on domestic flights, it also said it would drop a fuel surcharge for frequent flier award tickets and its $3 fee for curbside check-in.

Delta also discontinued a program launched in October to charge a $5 to $25 fee for some window, aisle and exit row seats. Delta pulled back the program after its elite SkyMiles Medallion frequent fliers complained en masse. The airline returned to its original preferred seating system to allow Medallion members to book any preferred seats at booking for free. Merger partner Northwest is retaining its existing Coach Choice program. Delta said it is reviewing introducing a modified program to charge for a choice seat in coach while still offering Medallion members their preferred seats.

Airlines also have pulled back on some of their fuel surcharges tacked onto fares at the time of sale. Delta said it has eliminated many of its surcharges with the changing fuel environment. But observers say the surcharges are sometimes replaced by an increase in fares.

"Some of the fuel surcharges will quietly become part of the fare --- they'll just be internalized as part of the fare," Mann said.

LOCAL CARRIER BAGGAGE FEES

DELTA

Delta's fees for checked bags, including the new $15 first checked bag fee effective today for travel booked Nov. 6 or later:

For domestic travel

Bag 1 --- $15

Bag 2 --- $25

Bag 3 --- $125

Bags 4-10 --- $200 each

For international travel

Bags 1 and 2 are free

Bag 3 --- $200

Bags 4-5 --- $350

Bags 6-10 --- $600 each

Overweight bag fees:

51-70 pounds --- $90 each for domestic travel, $150 for international travel

71-100 pounds --- $175 each for domestic travel, $300 for international travel

Over 100 pounds --- not accepted

Oversized bag fees

Length plus width plus height totals 63-80 inches --- $175 each

Length plus width plus height totals more than 80 inches --- not accepted

Passengers checking a bag that goes over the weight limit and size limit could be charged three times: $15 plus $90 plus $175 = $280, for example.

First-class and business-class passengers will be exempt from fees for the first three bags up to 70 pounds each, while SkyMiles Medallion members and WorldPerks elite members in coach class will be exempt from fees for the first two checked bags up to 70 pounds each.

---

AIRTRAN

AirTran's fees for checked bags, including the new $15 first checked bag fee effective today for travel booked Nov. 12 or later:

Bag 1 --- $15

Bag 2 --- $25

More than 2 bags --- $50 each

Overweight bag fees:

51-70 pounds --- $39

71-100 pounds --- $79

Over 100 pounds --- not accepted

Oversized bag fees:

Length plus width plus height totals 62-70 inches --- $39

Length plus width plus height totals 71-80 inches --- $79

Length plus width plus height totals more than 80 inches --- not accepted

Business class travelers on AirTran and the airline's elite-level frequent fliers will be exempt from the first-checked-bag charge and will continue to be exempt from the second-checked-bag charge.
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Old December 7th, 2008, 04:59 PM   #66
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TABLE-U.S. airlines November traffic data

CHICAGO, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The following table lists November mainline operational data for the 10 largest U.S. airlines by passenger traffic, compared with the same month a year earlier:

Code:
          ----Traffic----    ---Capacity---    --Load factor--
           RPMs   pct chg     ASMs  pct chg     pct     Change
American      9.53     -14.5    12.45     -9.3    76.6   -4.6 pts
Delta*        8.91      -4.9    11.50     -5.3    77.4   +0.3 pts
United        7.47     -17.0     9.71    -14.2    76.9   -2.7 pts
Continental   5.86     -10.7     7.53     -7.8    77.8   -2.6 pts
Northwest*    5.67      -7.4     7.08     -4.7    80.1   -2.3 pts
Southwest     5.26      -8.3     8.33     +0.4    63.2   -6.1 pts
US Airways    4.26      -6.9     5.48     -6.1    77.7   -0.7 pts
JetBlue       1.90      -7.8     2.51     -6.3    75.7   -1.3 pts
AirTran       1.33      -6.6     1.76     -7.1    75.8   +0.4 pts
Alaska**      1.40      -6.9     1.83     -6.8    76.7    0.0 pts
NOTES: Traffic is measured in billions of revenue passenger miles, the distance traveled by paying passengers.

Capacity is measured in billions of available seat miles, reflecting the number of seats available for sale and the length of the flights.

Load factor is the percentage of seats occupied by paying passengers and change is in percentage points.

*Figures for Delta and Northwest, which have merged, include data for regional affiliates.

**Alaska Airlines doesn't include unit Horizon Air.

All data are from the airlines.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 04:37 PM   #67
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US airline sector to have bad Q1 - UBS

Dec 9 (Reuters) - UBS expects the U.S. airline sector to have a bad first quarter due to losses on fuel hedges and weak demand, but said future quarters should be much better as the hedges roll off.

The brokerage raised its price targets on several airline stocks to reflect a better 2009 earnings outlook.

Analyst Kevin Crissey said travel demand in November was worse than expected, but fuel prices are lower than he had modelled.

"The sector has moved nicely higher over the last few weeks, but many stocks still look cheap to us," said Crissey, adding that his top pick is Delta Air Lines Inc .

The brokerage, which recently completed its semi-annual corporate travel manager survey, said almost 75 percent of the managers believe their firms will cut air travel spend next year.

Travel managers identified the U.S. domestic market as the region with the largest spending cuts planned in 2009, Crissey said. Travel to Europe is expected to be cut sharply, he added.
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Old December 9th, 2008, 10:27 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
In an e-mail Wednesday, ATA spokesman David Castelveter said airlines already disclose fees and surcharges before ticket purchases.

"We are and should remain a deregulated industry," Castelveter wrote. "Let competition determine the price of a ticket."
Translation= we want to **** over the paying customer and don't want anyone representing the interests of the people to undermine our ability to continue ******* over the paying customer.

American airlines are shit and I hope they all go bankrupt.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 05:27 AM   #69
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DEALTALK-U.S. airline merger talks could resume in '09

CHICAGO/NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Reuters) - As several European airlines talk about merging to create big global networks even as fuel prices ebb, the question on a lot of minds is: will merger talks in the U.S. airline industry take off again?

The answer is likely to be "yes" in an industry that clearly has excess capacity, is adding surcharges despite a retreat in gas prices, and is facing international competitors likely to consolidate significantly in the coming year.

"As we are in a recession that is becoming worse, there is going to be an impact on air travel," said Bruce Zirinsky, a bankruptcy attorney at Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft. "There is already shrinking demand and if that continues, it is fair to say we will see more consolidation."

For some of the world's biggest airlines, it is a question of clout. The carrier with the strongest international route system often wins the biggest chunk of the lucrative corporate travel market.

International business travelers -- those that pay top dollar for flights -- are an increasingly valuable market for airlines.

"Some, like (American Airlines parent) AMR Corp , face the prospect of going from the No. 1 to the No. 3 network in the U.S., with the loss of interest by high-paying corporate accounts that goes with that," said airline consultant Robert Mann.

American lost its status as the world's largest airline this year when Delta Air Lines bought Northwest Airlines to take the top slot. Additional pressure on American comes from a strategic alliance announced this year by UAL Corp's United Airlines and Continental Airlines .

Across the oceans, a wave of merger talks is taking place. British Airways is in talks with Australia's Qantas Airways about a merger while also having a set of parallel talks with Spain's Iberia . A tie-up of those three airlines would create the world's largest carrier.

Virgin Atlantic [VA.UL], which is interested in buying British carrier bmi, said this week it is in talks with the airline's majority owner, Germany's Lufthansa .

Ryanair Holdings has made a bid for Aer Lingus Group . Lufthansa has agreed to buy Austrian Airlines.

Efforts to increase cash flow and decrease capacity will likely force U.S. carriers back to the discussion table in 2009, but limited access to credit markets to finance deals might keep mergers from happening.

"Following a year of operating weakness characterized by extreme volatility in jet fuel costs and a steady erosion of air travel demand in a deepening recession, U.S. airlines face another year of intense cash flow uncertainty in 2009," Fitch Ratings analyst Bill Warlick said.

"Attention has now shifted to the management of an increasingly precarious supply-demand relationship that will force airlines to once again monitor scheduled capacity plans closely," he added.

FOREIGN OWNERSHIP

U.S. law currently restricts foreign ownership of U.S. airlines to 25 percent or less of voting stock.

Even though political opposition to foreign control of U.S. carriers remains strong, many industry experts and analysts expect some easing of restrictions in 2009.

The first phase of the international agreement called "open skies" took effect in March and replaced restrictive treaties dating to World War Two. It allows EU and U.S. airlines to serve any route between the European Union and the United States for the first time.

But EU states have threatened to scrap the deal if Washington does not agree by 2010 to a second phase allowing foreign airlines to buy more voting rights in U.S. carriers and permitting them to run domestic services.

"I think you will see a reduction in foreign ownership restrictions that will allow for greater co-operation between U.S. and foreign carriers and help sustain competitiveness," Zirinsky said. "It could open up the doors for mergers of U.S. and foreign airlines."

IF NOT NOW, WHEN?

Murmurs of consolidation have long been background noise in the U.S. airline industry. Serious talks between any two major carriers tend to spur discussions between other potential partners that do not want to be left out of a merger wave.

Industry-watchers now expect interest in consolidation to increase in 2009 after the transition to a new presidential administration and new Department of Justice leadership.

Leading consolidation advocates like US Airways Chief Executive Doug Parker and UAL CEO Glenn Tilton have said repeatedly the airline industry is too big and fragmented.

"This is a global network business with big economies of scale, yet no airline has even a 25 percent share of ... total revenues," Parker said on a webcast this month.

"And we have six airlines with shares of about 10 percent or more. So it's highly fragmented," he said.

US Airways was formed in 2005 from the merger with America West Airlines. The carrier later made a failed bid for Delta.

"The industry is still too fragmented," Parker said. "We have made some strides here and indeed some pretty important strides over this last cycle. But more is needed."
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Old December 16th, 2008, 05:39 AM   #70
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Transportation Department says big airlines' fuel spending more than doubled in 3Q
15 December 2008

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Fuel spending accounted for 36.1 of operating expenses at the big U.S. airlines over the summer, up from 13.6 percent five years ago, according to a government report issued Monday.

Fuel prices peaked in July but have declined sharply since then. The new report from the Transportation Department's Bureau of Transportation Statistics covers the third quarter, which ran from July through September.

The BTS said the six hub-and-spoke carriers spent 6.2 cents per available seat mile on fuel during the quarter, up from 1.47 cents five years ago.

The report said only Delta Air Lines Inc. reported a third-quarter operating profit. The six biggest carriers reported an operating loss margin of 5.8 percent for the quarter, their fourth quarterly loss in a row.

The reporting carriers did not include Alaska Airlines, regional carrier Mesa Airlines, or discounter Allegiant Airlines, which have asked for confidentiality for their financial reports. The BTS said it is withholding disclosure of their numbers while it reviews their requests.

The BTS said the airline industry collected $349.8 million in excess baggage fees during the third quarter, up from $178.2 million in the second quarter and $122.4 million in the third quarter of 2007. Airlines began adding baggage fees in earnest this year, although many previously charged for overweight bags or third pieces of checked luggage.

The six network carriers reported spending 16.6 cents per available seat mile in the third quarter, up from 13.6 cents a year ago. The carriers with the highest so-called unit costs were regional carriers Comair and Horizon Air, and network carrier US Airways Group Inc. The lowest unit costs were reported by Southwest Airlines Co., JetBlue Airways Corp. and ExpressJet.

Shares of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air parent Alaska Air Group Inc. fell 74 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $25.74 in afternoon trading. Allegiant Travel Co. shares fell $1.12, or 2.6 percent, to $41.96. Delta shares fell 3 cents to $10.47, while JetBlue fell 20 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $5.35 and Southwest shares were up 11 cents to $7.41. US Airways shares fell 48 cents, or 7.2 percent, to $6.20.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 03:42 AM   #71
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Despite drop in fuel prices, airlines are still charging checked-baggage fees
23 December 2008

ATLANTA (AP) - When airlines started charging some passengers $15 or more earlier this year to check their bags, they blamed soaring fuel costs. Since then, oil has plummeted. Yet the industry hasn't stowed away the bag fees.

Many of us are still paying to fly with a suitcase that doesn't squeeze into the overhead bin or under the seat.

The reason is simple: Airlines are still losing money, though now largely because of the recession instead of oil.

And don't expect the fee to disappear even when the economy rebounds. Airlines are finding the fees to be a reliable source of revenue and say that such charges allow passengers to choose only the services they want.

Passengers, meanwhile, are paying up and grumbling. Many are being socked, on average, $15 for the first bag and $25 for the second.

"I think it's unfair and I think it's highway robbery," said Benjamin Johnson, a 38-year-old government employee, as he headed from Atlanta to Orlando, Fla.

For the airlines, the bag fees, on top of charges for other once-free amenities, add up to much-needed revenue. The industry is expected to lose $4 billion for 2008, excluding one-time items, despite the plunge in the price of a barrel of oil from $147 in July to around $40 this week, said Calyon Securities airline analyst Ray Neidl.

Airlines now say they are being hurt by the recession, which has caused demand for seats to drop. The International Air Transport Association said global passenger traffic declined 1.3 percent in October from a year earlier.

Airlines also have been weighed down by bad bets they made on the price of fuel when it was skyrocketing. After locking in at prices that looked reasonable earlier this year, some are paying substantially more than market price for a portion of their fuel.

Airlines do not break out the revenue brought in by baggage fees.

"While fuel prices have fallen, the economy has created a new uncertainty for us, and the industry's going to lose billions of dollars this year," said Doug Parker, chief of US Airways Group Inc. "Indeed, it was fuel-driven economic concerns, but now we have different economic concerns. And having said that, I, for one at least, believe it's the right model for the business, irrespective of what environment we're in."

Airlines say the fees are a new way of doing business in which services that were once bundled into the price of a ticket are offered a la carte.

An October poll of frequent travelers found that half prefer a lower ticket price in exchange for a la carte pricing for food, beverages, headphones and blankets. But the same survey, conducted for IBM, found that 82 percent described the baggage fees as a "rip-off." By comparison, only 45 percent viewed food and nonalcoholic drinks that way.

After getting off a recent flight to Atlanta, insurance sales representative Cecilia Kolstad said it was crazy she had to fork over extra money to check a bag.

But "if it's between that and seeing an airline go out of business I guess I'll pay the $15 because I like to fly," said Kolstad, 55, of Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Some travelers bypass the fees by packing lighter. Airlines typically waive the fees for passengers who have elite status in their frequent flier clubs, first-class passengers, and travelers on international flights.

Passengers also can get around the fees for the first two bags by booking on Southwest Airlines, though it doesn't fly to some major cities such as Boston, Atlanta and Miami. But how long Southwest can go without charging the fees is anyone's guess.

Dave Ridley, a Southwest marketing executive, said in October his airline would be surveying people about charges, and he would not rule out fees in the future.

------

AP Airlines Writer Joshua Freed in Chicago and Associated Press Writer Johnny Clark in Atlanta contributed to this report.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 09:23 AM   #72
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Airlines close the books on bumpy 2008, look for brighter skies in 2009
31 December 2008

ATLANTA (AP) - The meteoric rise and fall of the price of oil was the story for the airline industry for much of 2008, but as the year that brought big losses and hefty stock declines for many carriers drew to a close the erosion of demand for seats due to the recession was the main headline.

Airlines cut jobs, made dramatic reductions in capacity, sold aircraft, raised fares and imposed new fees for checked baggage and other once-free amenities to stem the bleeding from losses that were expected, by one estimate, to total $4 billion for the year, excluding one-time items.

Several carriers even flirted with the idea of consolidation, but the only one to succeed was Delta Air Lines Inc., which acquired Northwest Airlines on Oct. 29 to create the world's biggest carrier.

Despite all the maneuvering, investors had little reason to cheer during the year -- the AMEX Airline Index fell about 30 percent in 2008. That compares to a 39 percent drop for the Dow Jones Total Market Index and a 39 percent drop for the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

"The stocks got hammered as oil went up and they have not recovered that much, though they have recovered some," airline analyst Bob McAdoo of Avondale Partners said in an interview.

The price of a barrel of oil soared to a record high of $147 in July, causing a major cash crunch for airlines. Some small niche carriers folded or filed for bankruptcy. Even some big carriers were thought to be in danger of bankruptcy before oil prices turned in the opposite direction, plummeting to under $40 a barrel in the final days of the year.

But, instead of rejoicing, airlines faced a new threat in the form of fewer people buying tickets as the global financial crisis took hold. Carriers also were weighed down by bad bets they made on the price of fuel when it was sky-high. After locking in prices that looked reasonable earlier in the year, some finished the year paying substantially more than market price for a portion of their fuel.

The news was bad for most airlines in 2008, though there were some winners.

One especially bright spot was Allegiant Air LLC, a subsidiary of Allegiant Travel Co. Las Vegas-based Allegiant focuses on flying travelers in small cities to leisure destinations such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. The carrier's shares rose more than 51 percent for the year.

Atlanta-based Delta's acquisition of Northwest is expected to result in significant cost savings for the combined carrier and give it a strong position in many markets around the world. Relatively quick labor and seniority pacts involving their pilots was good news, and that is expected to speed up the integration process, though deals involving flight attendants and ground workers remain unresolved. Delta shares fell about 23 percent in 2008.

Southwest Airlines Co. was not as hard hit by the soaring price of fuel for much of the year because of aggressive fuel hedging it did in previous years when prices were low. But as the year ended, even Southwest was feeling the pain from the weakened economy, and some analysts speculated that it's only a matter of time before the Dallas-based carrier joins the rest of the pack in charging fees for first and second checked bags on domestic flights. Southwest's stock slid about 29 percent for the year.

Meanwhile, American Airlines, a unit of Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp., and British Airways are seeking antitrust immunity for an alliance that would let them work together on pricing and scheduling for flights across the Atlantic, while Houston-based Continental Airlines Inc. is seeking approval to join a trans-Atlantic partnership of several airlines including United Airlines, a unit of Chicago-based UAL Corp., and Lufthansa, which already have antitrust immunity to work together on trans-Atlantic prices and schedules. AMR shares dropped 24 percent, Continental shares fell 19 percent, and UAL shares plunged 69 percent, in 2008.

Airline analyst Ray Neidl of Calyon Securities said in a December research note that the major carriers have sufficient liquidity to enable them to get through what the firm expects will be a very difficult upcoming six months as demand weakens.

Once the economy improves, demand should strengthen, and if fuel prices remain low, airlines, thanks to deep capacity cuts, should be able to start turning profits again.

"We remain cautiously optimistic for 2009 even in what is expected to be a very difficult economic environment," Neidl wrote.

Neidl, who predicted the industry would lose $4 billion in 2008, estimates the airline industry will earn $5 billion in 2009.

McAdoo said airlines are positioned well for 2009.

"It's one of the few groups where earnings estimates are generally coming up in the midst of an economic slowdown," McAdoo said.
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Old January 9th, 2009, 05:11 AM   #73
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EARNINGS PREVIEW: Most US Airlines Seen Posting Losses Again
8 January 2009
Dow Jones News Service

TAKING THE PULSE: Most U.S. airlines face another quarter of red ink amid lower demand, despite a break in fuel prices, which have fallen about 70% from their mid-summer peak. The outlier is expected to again be Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV), which posted its first quarterly net loss since 1991 in October on fuel-hedging losses. The company is expected to return to the black.

Airlines have cut less-traveled and unprofitable routes, but consumers continue to spend less on vacations and airfare amid the global recession. December traffic reports released this week showed passenger demand has slowed, but with their capacity cuts, airlines have been able to keep planes relatively full.

COMPANIES TO WATCH:

AMR Corp. (AMR) - report date expected to be Jan. 21

Wall Street Expectations: Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters anticipate a loss of 65 cents a share on revenue of $5.57 billion. The American Airlines parent had a year-earlier loss of 74 cents on revenue of $5.68 billion.

Key Issues: AMR lost its title as the world's largest carrier by passengers with October's merger of Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) and Northwest Airlines. As competition continues to heat up, AMR is hoping for antitrust clearance by midyear to form a joint venture with British Airways PLC (BAIRY). Nonetheless, AMR expects fourth-quarter revenue per available seat mile, considered the best measure of revenue for airlines, to rise some 5% at American.

UAL Corp. (UAUA) - report date expected to be Jan. 21

Wall Street Expectations: Analysts forecast a loss of $3.73 a share on revenue of $4.58 billion, compared with a year-earlier loss of 47 cents on revenue of $5.03 billion.

Key Issues: The parent of United Airlines said last month it expects a 2009 profit because of the sharp drop in the price of oil. It also sees fourth-quarter revenue per available seat mile at United growing around 3%. Along with falling traffic, UAL faced rising tensions between airline workers and management during the quarter amid a sick-leave campaign that the company said resulted in cancelations of hundreds of flights and millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) - reports Jan. 22

Wall Street Expectations: Analysts anticipate earnings of 7 cents a share on revenue of $2.67 billion. Last year the company posted a 12-cent profit on revenue of $2.49 billion.

Key Issues: Southwest reported a quarterly net loss for the third quarter as its long-successful fuel-hedging program was hurt by the plunge in crude-oil prices that started over the summer. But the nation's largest airline by domestic traffic is now taking aim at the nation's biggest and most congested market, submitting a bid to acquire takeoff and landing rights of bankrupt carrier ATA Airlines at New York's LaGuardia Airport.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) - reports Jan. 27

Wall Street Expectations: Analysts project a loss of 25 cents a share on revenue of $8.15 billion, compared with a year-earlier loss of 18 cents on revenue of $4.68 billion.

Key Issues: Delta, which completed its $2.6 billion acquisition of Northwest during the quarter, plans to cut 2009 capacity 6% to 8% amid the economic slump sapping travel demand. It also plans to start swapping the airlines' fleet in the spring to optimize their combined network. One cushion the company has obtained is the $1 billion liquidity boost through the extension of its SkyMiles credit card partnerships with American Express Co. (AXP).

Continental Airlines Inc. (CAL) - reports Jan. 29

Wall Street Expectations: Analysts expect a loss of $1.02 a share on revenue of $3.5 billion; last year's net loss was 33 cents on revenue of $3.52 billion.

Key Issues: Continental, which cut capacity some 7% last year, is poised to save some $1.5 billion this year thanks to lower fuel prices, according to Fitch Ratings. The carrier, the only one that reports monthly passenger revenue, came in with better-than-expected results for December, saying mainline revenue per available seat mile rose 4% to 5%. Potentially coming soon is a federal ruling on a proposed marketing alliance with UAL.

(The Thomson Reuters estimates and year-ago figures may not be comparable because of one-time items and other adjustments.)
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Old January 9th, 2009, 05:39 AM   #74
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TABLE - U.S. airlines December traffic data

CHICAGO, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The following table lists December mainline operational data for the 10 largest U.S. airlines by passenger traffic, compared with the same month a year earlier:


Code:
 ----Traffic----    ---Capacity---    --Load factor--
           RPMs   pct chg     ASMs  pct chg     pct     Change
American     10.32      -8.2    13.03     -8.6    79.2   +0.4 pts
Delta*        9.78      +0.7    12.20     -2.4    80.1   +2.4 pts
United        8.20     -11.5    10.26    -12.7    79.9   +1.1 pts
Continental   6.33      -7.3     7.88     -9.0    80.4   +1.6 pts
Northwest     6.04      -3.6     7.38     -4.5    81.9   +0.7 pts
Southwest     5.79      +1.1     8.32     -1.0    69.7   +1.5 pts
US Airways    4.66      -1.1     5.80     -6.4    80.3   +4.4 pts
JetBlue       2.12      -1.8     2.67     +5.1    79.4   +2.6 pts
Alaska**      1.48      -5.2     1.84    -10.9    80.7   +4.9 pts
AirTran       1.46      +2.3     1.83     -6.9    79.8   +7.1 pts
NOTES: Traffic is measured in billions of revenue passenger miles, the distance traveled by paying passengers.

Capacity is measured in billions of available seat miles, reflecting the number of seats available for sale and the length of the flights.

Load factor is the percentage of seats occupied by paying passengers and change is in percentage points.

*Figures for Delta and Northwest, which have merged, include data for regional affiliates.

**Alaska Airlines does not include unit Horizon Air.

All data from the airlines.
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Old January 9th, 2009, 05:58 AM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoosier View Post
Translation= we want to **** over the paying customer and don't want anyone representing the interests of the people to undermine our ability to continue ******* over the paying customer.

American airlines are shit and I hope they all go bankrupt.
Please, accounting for inflation the cost of flying has increased competitiveness and decreased fares drastically overall since the days of regulation.
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Old January 10th, 2009, 07:05 AM   #76
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Long-lasting fare sales hint at US airline gloom

CHICAGO, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Post-holiday fare sales offered by U.S. airlines are scheduled to last much longer than usual this year, reflecting pessimism by those carriers about the economy and travel demand.

The sales, some of which extend into May, reveal a defensive posture by the carriers despite the just-completed holiday travel season that saw relatively high fares and full planes, said Rick Seaney, chief executive of air fare research site FareCompare.com.

"There's a lot of uncertainty about what's going to happen over the next six months," Seaney said.

The airline industry was battered severely in 2008 by soaring fuel prices and later by economic weakness that put a crimp in travel demand.

Despite financial losses, top carriers persevered because of large-scaled downsizing. The capacity cuts enabled airlines to retain the concerted, systemwide fare hikes issued in 2007 and 2008.

Base fares currently are about 15 to 25 percent higher for bigger U.S. cities than they were in the fall of 2007, Seaney said.

But the discounts are unusual, he said. Last year a typical air fare sale launched in January lasted into early March. This year, comparable sales are lasting as late as May as carriers try to ensure full planes in the spring.

"They're locking in some of the lower-cost seats for spring travel just to make sure they have all their bets hedged," Seaney said.

UAL Corp's United Airlines, for example, has offered a sale on some travel to Australia for trips as far out as April 30. Delta Air Lines has a sale on some trips between New York and Europe and the Middle East that take place between Jan. 12 and April 2.

AMR Corp's American Airlines has a sale on travel between Dallas/Ft. Worth and New Orleans that must be completed by April 30.

"We expect some type of fare sales. These sales are a little deeper and I'd say they are a lot longer than we normally would expect," said Terry Trippler at tripplersview.com, a travel opinion website.

He said the alternative to long sales would be capacity cuts, which can be difficult for airlines ahead of the busy summer travel season.

"They could cut capacity further, but then they would have to bring it back in the summer," Trippler said.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 06:15 PM   #77
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Barclays sees US airlines stabilizing in 2009

Jan 15 (Reuters) - Barclays Capital said it expects revenue in the U.S. airline industry to stabilize in 2009, citing capacity reductions and fall in fuel prices.

"We see substantial upside potential in airline equities for 2009 despite the recent run in the sector," the brokerage said in a note to clients.

However, Barclays expects significant losses in the first quarter, hurt by a drop in revenue due to the recession and seasonal weakness, and above-market fuel hedges but said it sees material earnings gains in the sector beyond the quarter.

Barclays forecast a 6.5 percent drop in revenue for the sector in 2009.

The brokerage's top picks in the sector include Delta Air Lines , United Airlines and JetBlue Airways .

Barclays also cut its price target for Delta Air Lines to $26.50 from $28 and said equity dilution at the company due to its merger with Northwest Airlines could offset earnings improvement through 2010.

Last October, Delta bought rival Northwest Airlines Inc for $2.6 billion, to create the world's biggest airline.

Delta shares closed at $10.29 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.
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Old January 22nd, 2009, 03:39 PM   #78
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Recession cutting into demand for air travel, airlines respond by cutting some fares
21 January 2009
Associated Press Newswires

Several U.S. airlines have reported less traffic for the fourth quarter of 2008 as the recession hit both business and leisure travel. Some carriers have been offering sales to lure passengers back to the skies.

Here are a few examples of current roundtrip prices for travel from Feb. 10-17, followed by the fare for February travel on the same route if booked Sept. 1. Both figures include all taxes and fuel surcharges but not extra fees for things such as checking baggage:

-- Boston-Los Angeles: $179 now on American and United; was $408 in September.

-- New York area-Chicago: $218 now on American, Continental and United; was $318 to $388 in September.

-- New York-San Francisco: $238 now on American, Delta, United and Virgin America; was $438.

-- Washington, D.C.-Vail, Colo.: $160 now on American, United, Northwest and Delta; was $560.

-- Phoenix-London: $499 on British Airways; was $869.

Source: BestFares.com
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Old January 30th, 2009, 06:24 AM   #79
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Fuel hedges burn Continental, US Airways

CHICAGO, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Four U.S. airlines became the latest major carriers to report quarterly losses and to post hundreds of millions of dollars in charges from their fuel hedging programs.

The fourth-quarter results on Thursday from Continental Airlines Inc , US Airways Group Inc , JetBlue Airways Corp and Alaska Air Group Inc follow losses reported by other major airlines that also were battered by volatile fuel prices and a shaky economy.

Even a stunning 75 percent drop in the price of oil in the second half of last year managed to sting the airlines, many of which saw their fuel hedges become liabilities. Carriers remained on the defensive this year, as some cut capacity to bolster fares as an offset to shrinking travel budgets.

"The impact of high oil prices acted as a catalyst for airlines to take unprecedented measures to bring the supply of seats back into balance with passenger demand," US Airways Chief Executive Doug Parker said in a statement.

Last year, the airline industry slashed capacity -- the number of seats for sale -- and some carriers plan more cuts.

Continental, the No. 4 U.S. airline, said it expects to reduce its mainline capacity by 7.4 percent in the first quarter and by 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent for 2009. US Airways said it would cut mainline capacity by up to 6 percent in 2009.

"That's the only thing that's going to save us in the first half," said Calyon Securities airline analyst Ray Neidl. "We're looking for a lot of weakness in the first half of the year."

Neidl said that if airlines could retain their capacity discipline, they could be profitable in the second half of 2009.

Airline shares were mostly lower, as was the broader stock market, after weak jobless claims data stoked concerns about economic recession, said Morningstar analyst Basili Alukos.

"As this recession continues, businesses will continue preserving margins by eliminating jobs and cutting unnecessary expenses, such as flying business class, which could affect the airline industry considerably," Alukos wrote in a research note.

CONTINENTAL RESULTS

Continental said its fourth-quarter net loss widened to $266 million, or $2.33 per share, from $32 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company said it took a $44 million charge for payouts to retiring pilots and a $125 million loss on some fuel hedges. The airline had said last week that it would take the charge on some fuel derivative contracts with a bankrupt counterparty.

Excluding one-time items, Continental still reported a loss of 84 cents per share. On that basis, Wall Street had forecast a loss of 89 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Continental said its revenue fell 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter to $3.5 billion.

The company's shares initially rose after the results, but were down 8 percent to $14.93 in afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange after Standard & Poor's cut its price target for Continental to $20 from $25.

US AIRWAYS RESULTS

US Airways said its fourth-quarter net loss widened to $541 million, or $4.74 per share, from $79 million, or 87 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, the company reported a loss of $1.93 per share. That compares with Wall Street forecasts for a loss of $2.15 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Special charges included $234 million of losses resulting from mark-to-market adjustments on fuel hedging instruments.

US Airways' revenue dipped 0.6 percent to $2.76 billion.

The company's shares fell 9 percent to $6.64 on the NYSE; earlier, they too had moved higher.

JETBLUE, ALASKA LOSSES

JetBlue said its pretax loss widened to $49 million for the quarter from $3 million a year earlier. The airline has not completed resolving tax issues, preventing it from finalizing net results until mid-February.

Excluding a $53 million noncash charge for the valuation of securities, JetBlue reported a $4 million pretax profit.

The company recorded $58 million in losses on fuel hedges that settled during the fourth quarter.

JetBlue shares, higher earlier in the session, were unchanged in afternoon dealings on Nasdaq.

Alaska Air also posted a fourth-quarter net loss on Thursday. The loss of $75.2 million, or $2.08 per share, compared with a year-earlier net profit of $7.4 million or 19 cents per share.

Among the special charges was a realized loss of $50 million from early termination of fuel hedging contracts.

Alaska Air shares were off their highs for the day but still up 7 percent to $28.55 on the NYSE.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 04:44 AM   #80
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TABLE - U.S. airlines January traffic data

CHICAGO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The following table lists January mainline operational data for the 10 largest U.S. airlines by passenger traffic, compared with the same month a year earlier:

Code:
          ----Traffic----    ---Capacity---    --Load factor--
           RPMs   pct chg     ASMs  pct chg     pct     Change
American      9.64     -11.7    13.07     -8.3    73.8   -2.8 pts
Delta*        8.87      -2.2    11.81     -1.9    75.1   -0.3 pts
United        7.65     -12.4    10.06    -12.0    76.0   -0.4 pts
Continental   5.78     -10.8     7.81     -6.7    74.0   -3.4 pts
Southwest     5.14      -9.7     8.17     -4.4    62.2   -1.4 pts
Northwest*    5.65      -8.2     7.27     -6.4    77.8   -1.5 pts
US Airways    4.35      -6.2     5.74     -6.9    75.8   +0.6 pts
JetBlue       1.93      -7.1     2.61     -5.1    74.0   -1.6 pts
Alaska**      1.35      -4.7     1.88     -8.4    71.7   +2.9 pts
AirTran       1.27      +4.5     1.74     -3.8    73.2   +5.8 pts
NOTES: Traffic is measured in billions of revenue passenger miles, the distance traveled by paying passengers.

Capacity is measured in billions of available seat miles, reflecting the number of seats available for sale and the length of the flights.

Load factor is the percentage of seats occupied by paying passengers and change is in percentage points.

*Figures for Delta and Northwest include data for regional affiliates.

**Alaska Airlines doesn't include unit Horizon Air.

All data are from the airlines.
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