Issue No. 777

Branson's Bailout

Pushing Back: Inside This Issue

Things are getting interesting in the U.S. After a decade of mostly benign market conditions, a pandemic-induced mega-shock has some airlines rethinking their strategies. American sees opportunity to fortify is lagging Northeastern presence by partnering with JetBlue. JetBlue sees the alliance as a way to fill some of its suddenly empty planes. Alaska, like JetBlue, is making moves in Los Angeles. All the while a new airline, David Neeleman’s Breeze, plots its autumn launch.

Delta is taking a more cautious approach as it nurses a $6b quarterly loss. This week, other U.S. airlines will take their turns reporting second quarter results. Expect lots of blood. And with lots of blood will come lots of lost jobs.

In developments outside the U.S., Virgin Atlantic secured the money it needs to survive, as discussed in this week’s feature story. Its rival British Airways, meanwhile, will give an early goodbye to its iconic B747s. BA’s joint venture partner Japan Airlines started another joint venture with Malaysia Airlines. Aeroflot unveiled a new long-term strategy that gives prominence to its low-cost carrier Pobeda. Mexico’s Interjet landed some much-needed capital. South African Airways is on track for a relaunch. And the world, hopefully, is another week closer to vaccinating its way free from the Covid nightmare.


"Customers are ultimately going to determine how big the airline is."

Delta CFO Paul Jacobson

Mondays With Skift Airline Weekly

Amy Burr of JetBlue Technology Ventures and Nirali Shah of Vantage Airport Group joined us on our livestream to discuss how technology can make travel safer. Missed it? You can hear a replay on our site. Registration is free for subscribers.


April-June 2020 (3 Months)

  • Delta: -$5.7b/-$2.8b*; -308%

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

Weekly Skies

Second quarter earnings season will be like nothing the airline industry has ever experienced before. And not in a good way. Delta gave the first indication of that last week, announcing a colossal $5.7b net loss, or $2.8b excluding special…


The Wall Street Journal gives a close-up look at American’s risky strategy of aggressively restoring capacity, certainly more so than its rivals Delta and especially United. Last week, American was offering twice as many seats as United, and nearly 50%…


And then there was one less. British Airways last week became the latest carrier to permanently retire its B747-400 fleet. The airline grounded the big birds when the pandemic hit, advancing what was already a plan to retire them over…

State of the Unions

American is the latest airline to send a WARN Act letter to its employees, as all U.S. companies must do before undertaking any mass layoffs. The carrier said it was hoping to avoid layoffs and furloughs after Sept. 30, when…


Four months into the Covid pandemic, American finds itself massively indebted — more so than its rivals — and haunted by the consistently inferior profit margins it produced in the years leading up to the pandemic. No wonder why it’s…

Landing Strip

It’s an improvement, but barely. Traffic at European airports was down 93% in June y/y, according to data released by Airports Council International-Europe (ACI-Europe). But that’s better than May, which saw a 98% drop in traffic at European airports. ACI-Europe…

Routes and Networks

They’re both now friends with American, fortifying the latter’s western and eastern flanks, respectively. But Alaska and JetBlue are showing no love for one another, in Los Angeles anyway. A week after JetBlue announced a major LAX offensive, Alaska hit…

Covid Crisis 2020

It’s the greatest airline industry crisis in history. But that’s not stopping David Neeleman from proceeding with his new U.S. airline startup. The JetBlue and Azul founder set Oct. 15 as the launch date for Breeze, which is easing its…

Feature Story

Like its sister airline Virgin Australia, London’s Virgin Atlantic will survive after all.

Around the World

A look at the world’s airlines, including end-of-week equity prices