Most major U.S. airlines stayed profitable in the second quarter despite dramatically higher fuel costs. Delta, United Continental, US Airways, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue all reported quarterly profit in earnings releases late last month. An exception was American Airlines, which reported a net loss of $286 million blamed in large part on fuel prices. The story sounded similar across the Atlantic.
In late April, scientists from Denmark’s University of Copenhagen and the University of Iceland in Reykjavik published the findings of an almost year-long study into last year’s eruption of the Eyjafjallajokul volcano.
The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced new airline passenger protections that will extend the ban on ramp delays to international flights and, crucially for regional airlines, require carriers to coordinate so-called ramp delay contingency plans with small and non-hub airports.
Ryanair, at its annual general meeting today, called on the European Commission to end the ability of Europe’s air traffic control providers to strike, primarily by exposing them to competition under a market-based system.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary is pushing for single-pilot commercial aircraft operations.
Air Ranking International, a Geneva-based consultancy firm, has just released its inaugural safety ranking of commercial airlines.
Should anybody harbor any doubts, two recent events confirmed that the mid-decade airline-order boom has ended: Airbus announced A320 production cutbacks and Ryanair has come looking for bargain-basement prices for single-aisle airplanes. Airbus now plans to cut single-aisle production from 36 to 34 a month starting in October and possibly to a lower rate later.
European low-cost carrier Ryanair has entered “early negotiations” to order 200 to 300 new Boeing 737-800s or Airbus A320-series airliners in the coming two years. The equipment, which includes replacement capacity, would support continued expansion during the 2012 to 2017 timeframe, with Ryanair potentially benefiting from any decline in aircraft prices during the current recession.
What will the regional airline industry look like when the economic dust settles? That’s the question the Regional Airline Association challenged its panelists to answer at the RAA fall meeting, held October 28 and 29 in Washington, D.C.
UK regional airline Eastern Airways is “exactly on track, or slightly ahead” of projections for this year, according to COO Chris Holliday. Although he attributes continued profitability to tight financial controls, Eastern has “always been extremely focused on costs,” he said.