Past Issues

A Perilous Passage to India: Memo to AirAsia and Singapore Airlines: This won’t be easy

To obtain a license to launch, an airline in India needs more bureaucratic approvals than the city Thiruvananthapuram has letters in its name. But lo and behold, AirAsia India—a joint venture between Malaysia’s AirAsia, India’s Tata Group and one other...

Read More

A Quarter of Questions: Why is United blighted, and other key questions arising from America’s Q1 earnings season

Nothing seems to stop the vastly restructured U.S. airline industry from piling on profits—not an off-peak period, not an Easter date shift, not a new set of pilot regulations, not rising labor costs and not even winter storms of biblical...

Read More

Climbing Neelemanjaro: Brazil’s Azul is looking to go abroad. Expect an uphill battle.

It certainly gets credit for boldness. Azul, an airline that today flies no plane larger than an E195 with 118 seats, plans to become an intercontinental airline practically overnight. Daring indeed, especially at a time when Brazil’s economy has slowed...

Read More

Small Pox: Air traffic is evaporating at smallish U.S. airports. Recipe for growth? Call Allegiant or find oil

Back in 2007, by most measures the peak year for U.S. air travel volumes, the town of Lexington, in Kentucky, had flights to Atlanta, Detroit, Memphis and Cincinnati. But then Delta and Northwest merged. Quickly, the new mega-carrier realized that most...

Read More

The Brussels Hustle: Suddenly, there’s an airline boom in the European Union’s capital city

After two straight years of quiet, the bells of Belgium are ringing. In 2012, and again in 2013, airline activity at Brussels Airport was largely stagnant, with passenger traffic inching up 2% last year after rising just 1% the year...

Read More

Bubble Trouble? The Gulf’s Big Three keep growing, repeatedly quieting naysayers. Can this last forever?

In 2013, London Heathrow was once again the world’s busiest airport for international traffic. True, that does include some shorthaul hops like flights to Paris and Dublin. But No. 1 is No. 1. Until, that is, it’s No. 2. This...

Read More

How to Fix Malaysia Air? Call Japan. Malaysia Airlines faced deep financial problems even before the disappearance of MH370

What happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 370? That’s naturally first and foremost on everyone’s mind. But there’s another unanswered question: What will happen to Malaysia Airlines itself? Well before the air disaster, this was an airline in bad financial shape....

Read More

Network Solutions: Blessed by low costs and hedges in decades past, Southwest’s key weapon now? Its network

This morning in Albany, N.Y., a B737-700 will begin its workday at 6 a.m. as Southwest Airlines flight 2582 to Baltimore. From there, it will fly to Cleveland and then—after a 25-minute rest—to Chicago Midway and then to Des Moines,...

Read More

One Big Difference: Unlike at its rivals, the biggest part of International Airlines Group is also one of the best

In many ways, the International Airlines Group, or IAG, is a lot like its chief European rivals Lufthansa and Air France/KLM. Its margins, in fact, were similar to Lufthansa’s last quarter—and not much higher than those at Air France/KLM. It...

Read More

Diamonds in the Rough: Sometimes airlines generate big profits in the least likely places

Many years ago, the small nation of Singapore set out to turn itself into a reliable, comfortable and headache-free place to do business with surrounding countries like China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, which… well… weren’t so headache free. Eventually Singapore...

Read More

Rocky Mountain Ultra Low: Can Frontier Airlines replicate the great success of other ultra-LCCs?

If Southwest is the godfather of low-cost aviation, then Spirit Airlines is its present manifestation, a symbol of what has come to be known as the ultra-low-cost carrier. Put another way, Spirit is low-cost aviation’s new frontier, one so profitable...

Read More

When Pigs Fly: For the airlines of Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, the yoke of Europe’s long slump is lifting

It’s not a very flattering term, and it wasn’t intended to be. The four economies of southern Europe—Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, came to be known collectively by the unfortunate acronym formed by the first letters of their names: the...

Read More