Issue No. 751

Chicago: Whose Kind of Town

Pushing Back: Inside This Issue

Three. Two. One… And we're underway. Fourth-quarter earnings season is here, kicked off with another fine performance by Delta. More U.S. carriers report this week, including the three with major MAX exposure (Southwest, American, and United). Also reporting this week:
JetBlue, which last week announced a big network shakeup.

Don't expect any shakeups at Qatar Airways, never mind the huge sums of money it's losing. Instead, it's expanding again, announcing eight new destinations. Back in the U.S., Allegiant announced a big expansion. The Brazilian airline Azul, which is buying a domestic regional carrier, is headed to New York. Delta is making moves on Miami, an American stronghold. American is making moves on Boston, a Delta stronghold. In Asia, Singapore Airlines and ANA appear poised to get closer, with Virgin Australia in the mix.

For three airlines, Cathay Pacific, South African Airways, and Flybe,
distress was the word of the week. Hong Kong's traffic remains depressed.
SAA is hanging by a string. And Flybe became a recipient of
government welfare.


“Securing a tentative agreement this year is the pilot group’s most important task. We’re working to regain years of lost ground.”

United Pilots Union Chairman Todd Insler


Net result in USD; operating margin

October-December (3 months)

  • Delta: $1.1b; 12%

April 18-March 19 (12 months)

  • Qatar Airways: -$640m; -12%

 *Net profit excluding special items (all operating figures exclude special items)

Weekly Skies

Could business conditions possibly be any better? For Delta right now, a strong economy means demand conditions are excellent. Missing B737-MAXs mean supply conditions are constrained. And arguably most helpful of all, fuel prices are down significantly, dropping below the…

Sky Money

It looked like problem solved. When Flybe sold itself to Virgin Atlantic, the Stobart Group, and Cyrus Capital this time last year, worries about the regional carrier’s ability to survive subsided. But the concerns came roaring back earlier this month,…


In the latest episode of “Goldman Sachs Exchanges,” a podcast, the Wall Street company asks: “What’s Next for the Airline Industry?” Catie O’Brien, a Goldman equity analyst covering U.S. carriers, says investors are currently focused on two key questions. One…


It’s do-or-die time for Malaysia Airlines. The struggling carrier isn’t achieving its financial goals established when fully nationalized in 2014. On the contrary, it’s still losing a lot of money. So it no longer wants its B737 MAXs, at least…

State of the Unions

A pilot strike last year has led China Airlines to revise its outlook downward to a possible loss for the year. The carrier is cutting employee bonuses from an average of about $900 to more like $400. The carrier said…

Landing Strip

In a sign of Ethiopian’s growing confidence and strength, its home country is building Africa’s largest airport, about 70km from Bole airport near Addis Ababa. The planned $5b facility will be able to handle 100m passengers per year, which the…

Routes and Networks

In mid-December, JetBlue said something that made investors a bit nervous. Yields for late-booking traffic, it said, came in softer than expected toward the end of November. In addition, weather disruptions messed with peak Thanksgiving travel days. And so, Q4…


Is consolidation coming to East Asia? Singapore Airlines and ANA are showing signs of interest. The Straits Times (Singapore) reports that the two Star Alliance carriers are close to announcing a joint venture before the end of this month. It…

Feature Story

Chicago’s O’Hare airport has seven active runways. Hey, London Heathrow, are you jealous?
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