Issue No. 792

Too Many Fish in the Sea

Pushing Back: Inside This Issue

In another unwelcome first for the airline industry, Emirates — the mighty airline of Dubai — suffered a half-year loss. Mercifully, it’s a pretty big cargo player, at a time when cargo is a major distinguishing factor between carriers with horrific losses, and carriers with losses somewhat more bearable. More worrisome to Emirates than its half-year red ink? Its future ability to fill giant planes. 

Norwegian’s problems are more existential — will it survive the winter? Air Canada hasn’t gotten much love from its government but still might. American and Southwest said the run-up to the presidential election, combined with the latest Covid spike, is slowing demand momentum for the final two months of 2020. That awful 2020.

Southwest is separately adding yet another new sunshine spot in Florida, as United returns to the transcon market from New York JFK. Hong Kong and Singapore have their travel bubble set to open, eliminating the need for traveler quarantines. On the other hand, travel restrictions are tightening again in Europe and the U.S. The U.K., for one, doesn’t want anyone to leave the country for non-essential reasons this month. More U.S. states including California are asking people to self-quarantine for two weeks if they arrive from another state.

Most major airlines have now reported their summertime financial results. But there’s still some earnings action left. Britain’s easyJet will show its numbers this week. So will Panama’s Copa. Also, executives from leading airlines and suppliers from around the world will present at an online forum this week jointly hosted by Skift and Dallas-Fort Worth airport.  In the meantime, news on the vaccine front is encouraging. And governments are slowly accepting passenger Covid testing as an alternative to quarantines. Nevertheless, meaningful demand recovery seems at best still months away.


“Despite all these challenges, now more than ever, we have absolutely no doubt that the airline industry will recover. The timing of recovery, I leave to your own crystal balls.”

Air Lease Corp. CEO John Plueger


July-September 2020 (3 Months)

  • Air Canada: -$515m/-$760m*; -129%
  • Norwegian: -$105m/-$292m*; -151%
  • Garuda: -$368m/-$431m*; -156%
  • SpiceJet: -$15m/-$49m*; -36%
  • Cebu Pacific: -$113m/-$145m*; -336%
  • Jeju Air: -$56m; -118%
  • Air Arabia: -$12m; -20%
  • Air Astana: -$22m/; -18%
  • Chorus/Jazz: $15m/-$25m*; -4%

April-September 2020 (6 Months)

  • Emirates: -$3.4b; -79%

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

Skift Aviation Forum November 19

Join us for the inaugural Skift Aviation Forum, held online in partnership with Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport. Guests include Air Lease Corp. Executive Chairman Steven Udvar-Hazy, American Airlines President Robert Isom, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, and United Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Nocella. You can check out the latest list of confirmed speakers here. Registration is free for annual Airline Weekly subscribers.

Weekly Skies

It’s a symbol of globalization, in a world with closed borders. That captures the uncomfortable predicament of Emirates, the Dubai-based giant entirely dependent on international traffic. Mercifully, it’s a big cargo player, which enabled it to muster some $3b in…


“People will get back on the plane as soon as they can.” So believes Air France/KLM CEO Ben Smith, who spoke last week with Les Echos. “There was never the slightest doubt in my mind about the ability of air…


Four major leasing companies — AerCap, Air Lease, Aircastle, and Fly — held their Q3 earnings calls last week. And all four sounded optimistic, particularly beyond this winter. They cited developments like Pfizer’s extremely positive vaccine results, the near-complete recovery…


Amadeus, in its latest earnings call, mentioned Turkish Airlines as a prime candidate for a passenger service system (PSS) upgrade. “Turkish is a very close customer to us,” said CEO Luis Maroto. “We provide them with different functionalities. And we…

Routes and Networks

There was a reason United stopped flying from New York JFK five years ago. The few flights it had there lost money. The markets it did serve, furthermore, were ably served across the river from Newark, a major United hub.…

Covid Crisis 2020

 Southwest, in a mid-quarter investor update, rattled investors with a warning about November and December. It reports “a deceleration in improving revenue trends” for the two months, partly attributed to the recent presidential election. (It’s not uncommon for airline bookings…

Feature Story

It’s beginning to feel different in East Asia. Not very different yet. But different.

Around the World

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