Issue No. 749

The 2010s in Review

Welcome to the 2020s! It will be, for sure, another decade of ups and downs for the world’s airlines. But will there be more ups than downs? That was happily the case last decade, broadly speaking, as strong industry profitability makes clear. A decade earlier, by contrast, the downs were frustratingly more prevalent than the ups. 

The new year, alas, starts on a worrisome note as oil prices jumped in response to escalating U.S.-Iran tensions. On the other hand, airlines are heartened by some signs of optimism about the global economy, including new trade deals, more certainty on Brexit, and a late-2019 strengthening of non-dollar currencies. The U.S. economy, as it begins a tense election year, remains strong, notwithstanding the adverse impact of Boeing’s ongoing MAX crisis.    

The Hong Kong airline market, by contrast, as Cathay Pacific detailed, remains deeply depressed. In other airline developments, British Airways, United, and LOT Polish all announced new B787 transatlantic routes. Emirates, like United, Latam, Norwegian, Air New Zealand, and Kenya Airways this year, will undertake a chief executive leadership transition. More joint ventures are in the works.   

Here’s hoping you had a joyful holiday season, returning ready and rested for Q4 earnings season. Delta gets things started next Tuesday.


“We’re going to get as loud and noisy as it takes so that management hears us loud and clear.”

Captain Eric Ferguson, president of American’s pilots union


July-September 2019 (3 months)

  •  Royal Jordanian: $32m; 16%

Weekly Skies

Since its founding more than 30 years ago, Emirates has had just two top executives managing day-to-day affairs. First came the late Maurice Flannigan, who retired in 2013. Now Tim Clark, the airline’s president, says he’ll do the same in…

Sky Money

Hong Kong Airlines made it to 2020. Barely. Regulators nearly shut it down last month, concerned about its precarious financial situation. In a frantic bid to preserve cash, HKA dismantled its longhaul network and took other cost-cutting steps. It then…


“I’m actually not afraid of Emirates, I’m afraid of this.” What is Sebastian Mikosz referring to? The now-former CEO of Kenya Airways, talking to the Daily Nation in his final days on the job last month, spoke of a workforce…

Landing Strip

Mexico City won’t get a new airport — those plans died with the election of the current president. But the city’s main airport is progressing with plans to build a third terminal. Aeromexico, frustrated by capacity constraints, says it’s willing…


It’s 2020, and the B737 MAX is still grounded. Boeing begins the new year with a new CEO, prioritizing the company’s frayed relations with the FAA. Since the plane’s removal from service on safety grounds in March, Boeing repeatedly said…

State of the Unions

Qantas took another step toward ultra-ultra-long range flying by securing a tentative agreement with the Australian and International Pilots Association. It includes a 3% wage hike in exchange for unspecified productivity improvements. Pilots will vote on the terms this month.…

Routes and Networks

Thanks in part to new aircraft featuring better economics, the number of peak summer seats between the U.S. and Europe increased by 50% last decade, according to Cirium schedule data. More airlines entered the transatlantic market. More secondary U.S. cities…


British Airways finally has a close friend in mainland China. With Air China wedded to the Star Alliance, and SkyTeam claiming both China Eastern and China Southern, oneworld members like BA were largely friendless. But now that China Southern is…

Feature Story

On Jan. 4, 2010, Airline Weekly began the new decade with a review of the progress and perils of the prior 10 years. From 2000 to 2009, the world saw a flowering of low-cost carriers on shorthaul routes, the rise…