Issue No. 867

Merger Machinations

The Future of Spirit Evolves Like Sands Through the Hourglass

Note From the Editor

The next chapter in Airline Weekly is beginning. We've changed, for the better along with the airlines we cover, during the pandemic. The next chapter begins with bidding adieu to editor Madhu Unnikrishnan. This is his last issue after more than three years at the helm of Airline Weekly. He has worked tirelessly on the product and what you see today is thanks to his hard work. Let me be the first to say thank you, Madhu. He will be missed.

Stay tuned for more changes to Airline Weekly to come this summer. But we can promise you that what's not changing is the weekly newsletter with all of the airline industry insights that you've come to rely on landing in your inbox on Mondays.

— Edward Russell

Pushing Back: Inside the Issue

Who will end up as the victorious suitor in the Frontier-JetBlue competition for Spirit? A couple of weeks ago, it seemed like the smart answer was Frontier. After all, Spirit's board firmly backed the Denver-based airline's offer. But since then, JetBlue has sweetened the pot and has engaged in a relentless public relations campaign, appealing directly to Spirit's shareholders, employees, and even its customers. Spirit delayed its shareholders meeting, originally planned for June 10, to June 30 to shore up support. Now, some analysts are beginning to say JetBlue may walk away victorious.

Meanwhile, airlines are licking their chops over what they see as almost untrammeled summer leisure demand. European discounter Wizz Air expects fares to be 160 percent of 2019, for example. But Covid-19 isn't quite done with the airline industry, no matter what the airlines want to think. This is manifesting itself beyond passenger demand. To illustrate, Wizz and Canada's Transat report that Airbus is struggling to deliver aircraft, due to the pandemic's effects on supply chains. Cargo, which has been the pandemic-era lifeline for the industry, is starting to show signs of softness as economies the around the world contract, due in part to supply chain snarls from China's "Zero Covid" policy. Summer has always been good for the airline industry. Whispers are getting louder that another reckoning may be due in the autumn.

The Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

Why is Wizz Air CEO Joszef Varadi “happy” to compete with Ryanair and why does he think it’s the legacy carriers that should be scared? Edward “Ned” Russell and Madhu Unnikrishnan discuss this and the carrier’s expansion in the Middle East. Then, they turn to sustainable aviation fuel and what exactly “green hydrogen” may be, and why the JetBlue-Spirit-Frontier saga would be a good plot line on “Days of Our Lives.” Listen to this week’s episode to find out. A full archive of the 'Lounge is here.

Weekly Skies

The future of Spirit Airlines continued to play out like a soap opera last week. JetBlue Airways improved its offer for the discounter on June 6 that prompted Spirit to delay a key vote a day later, and the week…

Routes and Networks

United Airlines is leaning into its new partnership with Virgin Australia. The U.S. carrier will land in Virgin's Brisbane base with thrice-weekly flights on a Boeing 787-9 from San Francisco on October 28, a route that is also its first…

Sky Money

The Danish government has agreed to convert the aid it lent SAS during the pandemic into equity, as well as potentially investing new equity in the airline, as part of the airline's restructuring. Key to that, however, is the carrier…

Jet Green

The European Union’s reputation of leading on climate issues is proving true once again with the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels, or SAF. The bloc’s parliament is set to vote on new requirements later in June that would help cut…