Issue No. 784

London's Fog

Pushing Back: Inside This Issue

The once-in-a-lifetime Covid crisis already is reshaping the global airline business in profound ways. In London, the world’s largest air travel market, the upheaval has some major players in retreat, and others (like Wizz Air) sensing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Never in its lifetime has India’s SpiceJet flown overseas. But it’s dabbling in the market now, plotting a new post-crisis strategy amid powerful forces of change like the potential privatization of Air India, the decline of Gulf carrier influence in Indian markets, the longhaul ambitions of Vistara, and the growing domestic dominance of IndiGo.

In the U.S., Frontier’s Q2 financial figures show it’s clearly benefitting from Denver’s relative strength in attracting leisure flyers. Sun Country, on the other hand, is more dependent on virus-stricken Florida, whose peak season by the way, is now just a few months away. Just a few days away, meanwhile, is the looming expiration of federal job subsidies for U.S. airlines, which continue to lobby for an extension.

In other U.S. news, Delta borrowed another massive sum of money, this time backed by its 100m member-strong loyalty program. Spirit detailed its path toward cash breakeven. Southwest, for its part, said it too is seeing a modest increase in leisure demand. Elsewhere, Cathay Pacific will soon unveil big changes to its business model. Thai Airways is undertaking big changes in bankruptcy. And in China, the Big Three are taking advantage of big changes in the competitive landscape, most importantly a big retreat by Hainan Airlines. 


"We are not at the stage of recovery. We are still at the stage of survival."

LOT Polish CEO Sebastian Mikosz


April-June (3 Months)

  • SpiceJet: -$79m; -119%
  • Frontier: $17m/-$69m*; -41%
  • Sun Country: -$6m; -95%

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

Skift Global Forum

Delta CEO Ed Bastian, United CEO Scott Kirby, JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty, and American CIO Maya Leibman headline Skift Global Forum, held virtually this year. Join us Mon., Sept. 21-Weds., Sept. 23 to hear from them as well as more than 60 leaders from across the travel industry. Airline Weekly subscribers get a 25% discount on the registration with code SAW202025. Details and agenda are here.

Weekly Skies

SpiceJet’s crisis management delayed it from reporting Q2 earnings until last week. But the numbers are now in, and the Delhi-based LCC showed a $79m net loss from April through June, along with a negative 119% operating margin. Revenues dropped…


A scathing report from the U.S. House of Representatives said Boeing’s “faulty technical assumptions” and the FAA's “grossly insufficient oversight” were responsible for the B737 MAX operating with flawed flight control software, resulting in the Lion Air and Ethiopian accidents. The report,…

Landing Strip

The FAA is proposing to extend its slot-use wavier at Washington Reagan National, New York LaGuardia, and New York John F. Kennedy International, through March 27, 2021, the end of the winter scheduling season. The proposal, which is open for comments, is…


Now that the busy summer season is over, and by “busy” we mean “less empty than earlier this year,” airlines are engaging in a furious round of promotions to get passengers in seats. American reported that business travel is off…

State of the Unions

United and union leadership reached a deal to prevent involuntary furloughs of almost 3k pilots, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) said. The deal will prevent pilot furloughs until June 2021, calls for more voluntary separation packages for pilots over…

Routes and Networks

In the strange post-pandemic world of airline demand, Pakistan is suddenly a hot market. It is after all, the fifth most-populous country in the world with 234m people, plus a large diaspora living in places like North America and Europe.…

Covid Crisis 2020

Southwest joined the chorus of U.S. airlines spotlighting a modest improvement in leisure demand during August, a trend that’s continued into September, and for travel in October as well. New bookings, as others have also noted, are mostly close-in. Under…

Feature Story

For all the profound changes the Covid crisis is unleashing, few will prove as consequential to the global airline industry as those unfolding in London. 

Around the World

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