Issue No. 870

Indian Disruptor

Newcomer Akasa Air Looks to Shake Up India's Airline Market

Pushing Back: Inside the Issue

As expected, America’s skies were busy this Independence Day holiday. And they would have been busier still were it not for high ticket prices, elevated by high fuel prices, and constrained capacity. Also, as expected, traveler patience was a must, in the face of cancellations, delays, long lines, understaffing and other woes becoming all too synonymous with air travel this summer.  

As bad as things are in America’s skies, Europe’s are worse. British Airways, for one, announced another round of capacity reductions as it grapples with a devil’s brew of operational and labor distress. But the airline's problems pale in comparison to those at SAS. Scandinavia’s largest airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, pushed to the wall by a pilot strike but chronically ailing for reasons that go well beyond matters of labor. Will bankruptcy finally present SAS with an opportunity to become a strong and durable airline? Not an airline, in other words, that’s constantly forced to scramble for savings just to keep its head above water. Or, should we say, its planes above ground?

Back in the U.S., the skies could soon be a little less crowded in at least one respect: Spirit Airlines may be no more, swallowed by either Frontier or JetBlue. A Spirit shareholder vote on the matter was again postponed, this time to July 15, hinting at a growing likelihood that JetBlue will emerge victorious. It is, after all, offering a richer deal than Frontier, at least as things currently stand. Will Frontier counter again? One thing that has changed recently: The Spirit and JetBlue management teams are now talking to each other, beyond just hurling angry public denunciations. This week could prove decisive.

This week separately marks the start of second quarter earnings season, kicked off with Delta’s results on Wednesday. It’s got plenty to talk about, from the state of the recovery to the outlook for operations. There’s also talk brewing that Delta could soon place a big Boeing 737 Max order.

Elsewhere across the industry, Spirit received new slots at Newark airport, India will soon have a new airline, Hong Kong has a new runway, Star Alliance has a new partner, and the U.S. FAA a potential new chief. Atlanta airport, meanwhile, retains its old title: The World’s Busiest Airport.

The Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

SAS is in bankruptcy after years of struggles. Edward Russell and Jay Shabat discuss how the carrier could still struggle to extract needed savings, particularly from aircraft lessors. And, will Star Alliance's new partnership with German rail operator Deutsche Bahn really reduce carbon emissions? Listen to this week’s episode to find out. A full archive of the 'Lounge is here.

Weekly Skies

Last week, one of Europe’s storied airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy — during the peak summer season, no less. SAS, based in Scandinavia, essentially said it had no choice in the face of a mainline pilot strike. Setting aside…

Landing Strip

The Federal Aviation Administration is doling out the Biden administration’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law airport funds one small project at a time.

Routes and Networks

It's been a quarter-century since Taiwan's Eva Air embarked on a major European expansion. But last week, it announced new nonstop service from Taipei to both Milan (twice weekly starting in October) and Munich (four-times weekly in November) with Boeing…

Feature Story

Akasa Air, India’s newest low-cost carrier, received its air operator certificate on July 7, marking the completion of regulatory and compliance requirements. With the airline on track for its end-July launch, founder and CEO Vinay Dube caught up with Peden…