Issue No. 773

United's Piles of Miles

Pushing Back: Inside This Issue

With each passing week, more and more Americans are returning to the air. But will the current sunbelt spike in Covid cases, affecting markets like Florida, Arizona, Texas, and southern California, derail the nascent leisure recovery? Or are enough people now simply unafraid of the virus? Would a second wave of infections this fall reverse the industry’s momentum?

Hoping to benefit from the revival while it lasts, JetBlue is bringing more of its planes and people back. Most interestingly, it’s disavowing the principle of sticking to its core network strengths, instead launching a scattershot of new routes that in normal times would elicit a ferocious competitive response. Its boldest move: Marching into Newark while United lies dormant, attacking even its prime-time California routes. Florida, unsurprisingly, also features prominently in JetBlue’s forceful reawakening.

A reawakening is underway within Europe too, as leisure carriers like Norwegian and TUI see encouraging restart opportunities. Wizz Air, for its part, continues to add new bases, including one in Russia. The goliath of central Europe meanwhile, Lufthansa, awaits a fateful shareholder vote on the bailout it’s supposed to get from Berlin — a bailout with heavy strings attached.

Latam will detach Argentina from its South American empire, closing its unit there. It will still fly to and from the land of Tango, just not within. Will Aeromexico be next to join Latam in bankruptcy? Another Latin bankruptcy victim, Avianca, announced a Q1 operating profit last week. But as usual, its operating profits were accompanied by heavy net losses.

Frontier’s losses were exceptionally heavy last quarter. Sun Country on the other hand, made money. On the other side of the earth, Virgin Australia is getting closer to new ownership. Will it be Bain? Or will it be Cyrus?


“We’re in the process of a recovery. No question about it.”

Delta CEO Ed Bastian, speaking on Bloomberg TV

Mondays With Skift Airline Weekly

On Mon., June 22, Editor Seth Miller answered the question: What is the passenger experience during a pandemic and what can airlines do to reassure passengers. Watch the archive version here.


January-March (3 Months)

  • Avianca: -$121m; 0%
  • Frontier: -$60m; -18%
  • Sun Country: $7m; 8%
  • VivaAerobus: -$17m/-$8m; -4%

*Net result in USD/*Net result excluding special items/ Operating margin

Weekly Skies

Drama, drama, drama. It’s never a dull moment at Colombia’s Avianca, hit by one crisis after another. Three years ago, it suffered a 51-day pilot strike. Not long after, a plan to merge with Avianca Brasil collapsed when Avianca Brasil,…


IndiGo’s chief Rono Dutta, once a top United executive, spoke with the Economic Times about managing India’s largest domestic airline during a global pandemic. There are a few positives, like cheap fuel, the momentary disappearance of airport congestion, and opportunities…


As rough as it is right now to be an airline, it’s worse being an aircraft manufacturer. It seems like every airline is cancelling or deferring orders as industry demand sharply contracts, with no visibility on when it might return.…

Landing Strip

France’s Vinci, which runs airports in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, started off its latest earnings presentation with a review of the year that was. It was a record year for the company, in terms of traffic and revenue. Its…


Latam and Azul, two rivals in the domestic Brazilian market, are now cooperating. Pressured by the new realities of pandemic-era flying, they’ll soon start codesharing on 50 non-overlapping domestic routes, and possibly more in the future. Passengers will also have…

Routes and Networks

For airline network planners everywhere in the world, the current focus is revival, that is, restarting flights when demand merits and — just as importantly — when government travel restrictions allow. Occasionally during the past weeks, Europe’s Wizz Air and…

Covid Crisis 2020

Among IATA’s latest asks of governments: Extend waivers on airport slot usage rules through the upcoming winter season. European airports, in particular, typically practice an 80-20 rule, by which airlines lose access to their takeoff and landing slots if they…

Feature Story

Like an overcautious squirrel gathering nuts for the long winter, U.S. airlines continue to stockpile more and more cash… just in case. Just in case the current traffic recovery stalls. Just in case international travel restrictions remain in place for…