Airline Finance News

Airline Finance News – North America

Aloha Airlines

Officials investigate Aloha Airlines’ bank payments. Federal officials are looking into whether Aloha Airlines illegally paid bank loans with employee pension funds. The probe involves events before the carrier filed for bankruptcy in December 2004. Aloha emerged from bankruptcy last week. Feb 24, 2006

Aloha Airlines emerged quietly from bankruptcy Feb. 17 but released a statement on its website yesterday saying it “is now a 60-year-old startup company with a low-cost structure” and is committed “to serve the inter-island and transpacific markets,” according to President and CEO David Banmiller. The carrier filed for bankruptcy in December 2004. It is serving Hawaiian destinations as well as Oakland, Sacramento, Orange County, San Diego, Las Vegas and Reno with 737s. Feb 23, 2006

Aloha Airlines exits bankruptcy protection. Aloha Airlines has emerged from bankruptcy protection. The carrier says it has lowered its costs and secured employee concessions that will save $75 million a year. “Today, the 60-year-old tradition of Aloha Airlines has been reborn with a renewed commitment to serve the interisland and transpacific markets with the finest and friendliest service in the sky,” said David Banmiller, Aloha’s president and chief executive officer. Feb 20, 2006

American Airlines

American expects costs to climb. American Airlines will face higher costs this year related to employee medical benefits, airport fees, and costs associated with debt. Officials said the company’s cost advantage is declining because its rivals are restructuring in bankruptcy court. The airline plans to boost revenue and has identified $700 million in costs it aims to cut this year. Average fares on domestic flights last month increased almost 9%, compared to January 2005, according to Air Transport Association statistics. Feb 24, 2006

Jetliners aim to strike a careful balance. Jetliners cannot leave an airport until they are properly loaded and balanced. At American Airlines, Teri Neal monitors the weight of passengers, bags, cargo, mail, and fuel for all departing planes. “We’re looking at every pound to make sure we have everything down as perfectly as possible,” Neal said.

Feb 20, 2006

Continental Airlines

Continental Airlines has blasted US officials for suggesting that foreign investors should have a greater say over how American carriers should be run. The airline is concerned foreign interests would wield too much power in the tightly regulated US aviation market. Washington, as part of the Open Skies talks, wants to see if overseas companies can help the struggling US sector, which has seen a host of carriers enter bankruptcy protection post-911. The rules on 49% ownership and 25% voting rights for foreign firms are not up for discussion, but Congress wants to strike deals with countries that it has aviation agreements with. Feb 26, 2006

Delta Air Lines

Judge approves Delta’s severance plan. A bankruptcy judge will allow Delta Air Lines to establish a severance plan for some officers and upper-level managers who are laid off during its reorganization. The company’s pilots union had objected to the severance plan. Delta said the plan will probably cost $3 million. Feb 23, 2006

Delta pilots may not approve deep cuts, union leader says. The chairman of Delta Air Lines’ pilots union says Delta pilots are unlikely to approve pay cuts of 18% proposed by the company. Lee Moak also said the airline should be funding the pilot’s pension plan. Delta is operating under bankruptcy protection. The two sides hope to reach an agreement before a March 1 deadline. Feb 20, 2006

Delta’s Comair seeks to void flight attendant contract: Delta Air Lines’ Comair unit wants to void its contract with its flight attendants. Delta, in a court filing, also said Comair lost $120 million in 2005.

Feb 23, 2006

JetBlue Airways

After reporting first loss, JetBlue focuses on revenue. JetBlue Chief Executive David Neeleman is focusing on lifting the carrier’s revenue by $5 to $10 a ticket. JetBlue recently posted its first quarterly loss. Neeleman hopes to sell fewer deeply discounted seats. Feb 22, 2006

Mesaba Airlines

Mesaba asks judge to reject labor contracts: Mesaba Airlines is asking a bankruptcy judge to allow it to reject some labor contracts. The airline, a Northwest Airlines regional carrier, wants to cut labor costs so it can better compete with other regional carriers. Feb 24, 2006

Northwest Airlines

No agreement reached between Northwest, unions. Northwest Airlines has not reached contract agreements with its pilots and flight attendant unions, however a federal bankruptcy judge may decide today if the carrier can reject the contracts. The unions said the talks may continue Friday. Feb 24, 2006

Pinnacle Airlines

Pinnacle rebounds to black in fourth quarter, fiscal year. Northwest Airlink Pinnacle Airlines finished 2005 with a $25.7 million profit, down 36.9% from the $40.7 million earned in 2004 but somewhat satisfying during a turbulent year that featured Northwest’s entry into bankruptcy and the removal of 15 of Pinnacle’s CRJs from service last fall. The Regional rebounded from a heavy third-quarter loss to net a profit of $9.9 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2005, just 3.5% lower than the $10.3 million profit in the year-ago quarter. Feb 24, 2006

Southwest Airlines

Fuel prices pose increasing challenge to Southwest. Southwest Airlines expects to face a higher fuel bill this year when its fuel hedges start to expire. In a Q-and-A with the Arizona Republic, Chief Executive Gary Kelly said the airline must work harder to control costs, become more efficient, and raise revenue. Feb 20, 2006

United Airlines

United Airlines is to focus more on high-spending premium passengers as it attempts to boost its revenues just weeks after coming out of Chapter 11. Upgrades to United’s Economy Plus seating will generate $50 million in revenue in 2006 according to the airline, while making economy passengers pay for items like food is also expected to bring in additional cash. Feb 26, 2006

United focuses on high-end travelers to boost revenue. United Airlines hopes to generate more revenue from first-class and business-class travelers, Chief Financial Officer Jake Brace said. United has cut costs by having coach customers pay for food and for redeeming mileage awards over the telephone. Brace also said upgrades to United’s “Economy Plus” seating will generate $50 million in revenue in 2006. Feb 23, 2006

United’s contract talks with engineers continue. United Airlines and its engineers union have been negotiating a contract for several years without results. The union was formed in December 2002, two months before the airline filed for bankruptcy protection. Union negotiators say the talks are “positive and productive.” The airline declined to comment on the talks. Feb 22, 2006

United, US Airways expect to post profits in 2006. US Airways expects to post a profit in 2006, excluding one-time merger costs, Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said. United Airlines also expects a profit this year. Both carriers recently emerged from bankruptcy protection. Analysts say several other airlines may post profits if fuel prices decline.

Feb 22, 2006

US Airways

Despite improvement, new US Airways’ first full quarter results in $261 million loss. US Airways Group reported a $261 million net loss in the fourth fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, the first full three-month period following the September 2005 merger of US Airways and America West Airlines, which is treated as the acquiring company for accounting purposes. Feb 22, 2006

US Airways reports larger Q4 loss. The high cost of jet fuel increased US Airways’ fourth-quarter loss. The airline lost $261 million, compared with $69 million a year ago. Excluding one-time costs associated with its merger with America West Airlines, US Airways CEO Doug Parker said he expects the carrier to post a profit in 2006. Feb 21, 2006

World Airways

World Airways Holdings reports falling third-quarter profits. Nearly five months after its fiscal third quarter concluded, World Air Holdings, parent of World Airways and North American Airlines, reported it earned a $5.5 million profit in the three months ended Sept. 30, 2005, a 22.5% drop from the $7.1 million earned in the corresponding 2004 period. Feb 23, 2006

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