Issue No. 898

U.S. Earnings Highlights

Allegiant's Margin Led U.S. Airlines in Fourth Quarter

Pushing Back: Inside the Issue

Reliving bad memories is never pleasant. But Southwest Airlines didn’t have much of a choice as it faced a barrage of hostile questions about its holiday fiasco. How did it happen? What are you doing to ensure it never happens again?

The setting was Capitol Hill. And interestingly, Southwest sent its chief operating officer Andrew Watterson, not its CEO Bob Jordan. There, Watterson was under fire not just from Senators but also from the airline’s pilot union.

Outside the Beltway, Southwest’s smaller rival Frontier Airlines reported a full-year loss for 2022, joining JetBlue, Hawaiian, and Spirit in the red column. Frontier did make money in the fourth quarter, but not much. JetBlue and Spirit themselves are laying out arguments why regulators should allow their merger. In the meantime, there’s another possible merger in South America as JetSmart wants to grab hold of Viva Air. Avianca’s not happy about that. There's not much happiness in Brazil either, where Azul and Gol are apparently fighting to stave off a bankruptcy filing.

The pace of earnings season picks back up this week, headlined by Air France-KLM and Air Canada on Friday. What will they have to say?

Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

Spirit lags other U.S. airlines in financial performance. In fact, it lost money last year while most of its peers produced profits. Can it fix its cost problems and restore order? Plus, Azul may be in trouble. Listen to this week’s episode to find out. A full archive of the Lounge is here.

Weekly Skies

Southwest Airlines Chief Operating Officer Andrew Watterson promised lawmakers "hundreds of millions of dollars" in additional upgrades to the carrier's winter operations infrastructure while in Washington, D.C., during a hearing last week.

Routes and Networks

JetBlue is in clear selling mode of its proposed merger with Spirit as the U.S. Justice Department weighs the combination that would create the country's fifth largest airline.

Feature Story

Allegiant Air, please approach the stage to accept your trophy. No other U.S. airline had a better fourth quarter.