Headline News

Headline News

America West Airlines it may still be interested in buying ATA Airlines, a day after discount carrier ATA filed for bankruptcy protection. “We’re looking at it. We may still be interested. We may continue to work on an offering. We think a potential America West proposal may be more desirable for (ATA) creditors and employees,” America West spokeswoman Janice Monahan said Wednesday. She said America West had held talks with ATA recently, but did not make a formal offer. On Tuesday, ATA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it would raise $87.6 million by selling its Chicago hub and other airport slots to AirTran Airways Inc. ATA founder and chief executive George Mikelsons’ pledge to reporters Tuesday to “recreate ATA as a formidable, low-cost carrier” had barely left his lips when America West Airlines indicated it remained interested in making a bid for most, if not all, of ATA. An AirTran spokesman conceded that ATA’s plan to remain independent, albeit considerably smaller, with the cash infusion could hit turbulence in bankruptcy court. AirTran, based in Orlando, Fla., has agreed to take over ATA’s flight operations, 14 gate leases and routes at Chicago Midway Airport, as well as arrival and departure slots at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Oct 27, 2004

America West Airlines reported a third-quarter loss of $47.1 million. The airline also reduced its outlook and scaled back its 2005 expansion plans — but said it would still consider a bid for part of bankrupt ATA Airlines Inc. For the three months ending Sept. 30, America West Holdings Corp. lost $1.30 per share, its first quarterly shortfall in more than a year for the company that was just rebounding after the Sept. 11 attacks. A year ago, the company had reported a profit of $32.9 million, or 60 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had projected a loss of about 63 cents per share for the quarter. In trading Wednesday, America West shares closed down 7 cents, or 1.6 percent, at $4.36 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has fallen more than 60 percent since the beginning of the year. Quarterly revenue was down 2.3 percent to $578.5 million. Oct 27, 2004

Most folks probably don’t think about going to Vegas to get their Christmas shopping done, but there are actually many exclusive boutiques for those one-of-a-kind gifts and outlet malls for presents that won’t break the budget. Customers who purchase tickets in the next two weeks can get fantastic deals from America West Vacations that’ll make the shopping trip a treat for the shopper as well, including free spa passes and a two-for-one lunch buffet from Luxor. Customers who purchase tickets today through Nov. 12, 2004 for travel from Nov. 29 through Dec. 20, 2004 can take advantage of these unbelievable packages priced as low as $91 for roundtrip air and a two-night hotel stay. These special deals are 20 percent below normal package prices. The Luxor is offering the following value-added amenities: two complimentary spa passes per room, for use Monday through Friday; one two-for-one lunch buffet per room; a $2 discount per person, up to two, at Passport to Adventure; and one discount coupon per room for up to $35 at Luxor retail stores at the Giza Galleria. To make a reservation, customers may go to www.americawestvacations.com or call 1-800-2-FLY-AWV (1-800-235-9298) and use the promotional code “Vegas Style.” Oct 25, 2004

American Airlines is encouraged that the National Transportation Safety Board today ruled that the highly- sensitive rudder system on the Airbus A300-600 aircraft was a contributing factor in the Flight 587 accident that occurred Nov. 12, 2001, in New York City. American is extremely disappointed, however, that the Board named the pilot’s actions as the probable cause, and that elements of American’s advanced aircraft maneuvering program, which teaches pilots to recover from aircraft upsets, were a contributing factor. Today, American safely flies the Airbus A300-600 because of the knowledge it gained from the Flight 587 investigation, and changes it made to its procedures as a result. In fact, in one of his final statements, Mark Rosenker, vice chairman of the NTSB, said he was confident that the Airbus was a safe airplane and that he and his family are taking a trip on it in the near future. Oct 26, 2004

American Airlines has applied to the US Department of Transportation for authority to resume daily nonstop services between Dallas/Fort Worth and Osaka from November 2005, and to launch daily nonstop services between Chicago and Nagoya next April. Osaka would become American’s 33rd international destination from its Dallas/Fort Worth hub, and Nagoya will increase to 19 the number of international points American serves from its Chicago hub. Together, Osaka and Nagoya will give the airline a total of seven routes between the US and Japan and allow American to expand access to an area of Japan that is home to many major Japanese and several key US companies. Both routes would use 236-seat Boeing 777s. If you have not been there Kansai International Airport, which serves the Osaka region, was opened in 1994 on a manmade island in Osaka Bay, a sort of super London City. A major expansion that includes a second runway was begun in 1999 and is scheduled to open in 2007. http://www.aa.com Oct 24, 2004

American Airlines, struggling with rising fuel costs and competition from low-fare carriers, will furlough up to 650 maintenance workers in Kansas City and St. Louis and up to 450 pilots, the company said in a memo given to employees Friday. The news came two days after Fort Worth- based AMR Corp., parent of American, reported that it lost $214 million from July through September and expected an even bigger loss in the fourth quarter. Before Friday’s memo, American had furloughed nearly 2,600 of its 11,000 pilots and more than 4,500 flight attendants, although it was recalling 610 attendants for international routes. The latest cuts would push the number of furloughed pilots above 3,000. Oct 23, 2004

American Express has published its much-respected Global Business Travel Forecast for 2005, which indicates a continued steady revival of international business travel. Although the pace varies significantly by region and country, published air and hotel prices are expected to rise incrementally next year as demand recovers, outpacing the growth of supply in several markets. At the same time, increased competition &endash; particularly in the airline sector in several regional markets &endash; is likely to dampen any significant increases in travel costs. For 2005, American Express forecasts that global economy/short haul fares will rise by 0-3%, and international business fares by 2-5%. On the hotel side, room rates for both midrange and upper-range properties will increase by 1-3%. Budget carriers will continue to impact the airline industry in 2005. Attempts by European legacy airlines to significantly increase fares, however, are likely to be dampened by competition from low cost carriers, a trend that has gathered momentum over the past two years. Asia has also experienced phenomenal activity in mass travel arena. In India alone, ten budget airlines are in, at least, the planning stage. Low cost activity has also been strong in Thailand, Singapore and Australia, and new entrants are making inroads in Japan, China and the Gulf States. http://home3.americanexpress.com/corp/pc/2004/pdf/ae_gbtf2005.pdf Oct 24, 2004

ATA Airlines, the nation’s 10th largest carrier, filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday and sold off airport slots and other assets to AirTran Airways Inc. for $87.6 million, to become the latest U.S. airline tripped up by rising fuel costs and fare wars. Orlando, Fla.- based AirTran Holdings Inc. will assume ATA’s flight operations, gate leases and routes at Chicago Midway Airport and arrival and departure slots at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The deal is subject to approvals by the bankruptcy court and other entities and is expected to take effect by early next year, ATA officials said. Chicago Department of Aviation spokeswoman Annette Martinez said ATA had not told the city of the deal, whereby Air Tran would take over ATA’s 14 gates and flights at Midway. Oct 26, 2004

Avis Rent A Car System has announced the launch of the Avis Great Escapes Sweepstakes. Agents who book Avis via Sabre from Oct. 18 through Nov. 30 2004, are eligible to win a weekly cash prize and a chance at a grand prize. Every Avis booking is an automatic sweepstakes entry and those that include a Saturday night stay-over will be given a double entry. Each week for six weeks, the Avis Great Escapes Sweepstakes will award one lucky travel agent a $500 gift check. The grand-prize winner chosen on Dec. 10 2004 will receive roundtrip air transportation for two to Boston; an Avis car rental; and a three-night, four-day stay at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. The sweepstakes is open to travel agents who book Avis on the Sabre GDS in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Visit www.zipromotions.com Oct 25, 2004

Boeing has come up with the oddest customer ever for a launch aircraft. And for a very important launch aircraft, the 7E7. If you have never heard of Primaris Airlines Inc. neither had we. Details of the customer are normally given with the order statement. Not this time. Research has discovered that Primaris is a US-based airline currently raising launch funds with notables on the board such as Rodney Slater, former secretary of the US Department of Transportation and J. Randolph Babbitt, one time president of the Air Line Pilots Association. It currently has a single 757 available for charter. Its concept is simple. 2 + 2 business class seating on high yield routes, probably not dissimilar to the excellent BusinessFirst layout on Continental Airlines. It has ordered 20 7E7 with first deliveries in 2010 and 20 737- 800 starting 2007. Primaris is looking at New York to Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington domestically and on the international front Frankfurt, London and Paris from Big Apple. http://www.primarisairlines.com http://www.boeing.com Oct 24, 2004

Cathay Pacific has been granted rights to operate additional services to Beijing and introduce Xiamen from Hong Kong. With these allocations Cathay Pacific intends to increase its three times weekly flights to Beijing to a daily service from December and introduce three rotations per week to Xiamen. In a statement the airline made clear that one priority is the early licensing of services to Shanghai, currently the third-busiest passenger route out of Hong Kong after Taipei and Bangkok. In another development the airline has also procured a 9.9% stake in Air China which could precipitate the Beijing-based carrier joining Oneworld. http://www.cathaypacific.com Oct 24, 2004

Delta Air Lines has reached a tentative agreement with its pilots union on wage and benefit cuts aimed at avoiding a bankruptcy filing, The Wall Street Journal said in a report late Wednesday on its Web site. According to the report, the Air Line Pilots Association which represents Delta pilots told its members the union’s leadership committee was planning to review the agreement late Wednesday and release details Thursday. Delta spokeswoman Tanya Dunn declined to comment to Reuters when contacted about the report. Union officials at the Air Line Pilots Association were not immediately available for comment. Oct 27, 2004

Delta Air Lines customers soon will have access to more destinations from the airline’s Atlanta and Salt Lake City hubs, and expanded service to existing destinations in Alaska, Mexico, Latin America and the United States. From Salt Lake City, Delta will add service to: Fairbanks, Alaska, with daily seasonal service beginning May 13 and ending Sept. 11, 2005; Baltimore/Washington International Airport, with one daily nonstop flight beginning Jan. 31, 2005; Cancun, Mexico, with a nonstop Sunday flight being added to previously announced Saturday service, effective Jan. 31, 2005. Anchorage, Alaska, with a third daily seasonal nonstop flight beginning April 3 and ending Oct. 16, 2005; Customers in Salt Lake City are reaping the benefits of Delta’s continued expansion in Salt Lake City. Baltimore/Washington is the most popular destination from Salt Lake City without any Delta nonstop service. Fairbanks is the gateway to Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve, the home of Mt. McKinley, the highest point in North America. Cancun, which will now be served from Salt Lake City twice a week, is one of the most popular leisure destinations in the world. In addition, Salt Lake City customers also will have access to daily, nonstop seasonal flights to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, beginning Feb. 5 and ending May 31 2004. From Atlanta, Delta will add flights to Cozumel, Mexico; with Saturday and Sunday service beginning March 5, 2005. Delta will also now offer customers daily service to Guanacaste Liberia, Costa Rica, beginning Jan. 31, 2005. The airline had previously offered service six times weekly. Oct 25, 2004

Delta Air Lines, busy celebrating its 75th anniversary, is yet another American airline struggling to survive. Last Wednesday Delta reported losses of $646m for the quarter and it was in good company. Moreover, its unrestricted cash levels have slumped to $1.45bn from $2bn at the end of June, a psychological level that most analysts see as the minimum to successfully finance a bankruptcy restructuring. In order of size American Airlines, presently the world’s largest carrier, says its losses for the third quarter are $214m, United are yet to report, followed by Delta. Next up Northwest, an airline that does operate into Heathrow but has little visibility, lost $46m, whilst the nation’s fifth largest carrier Continental was only $16m down. And in sixth place is US Airways (which we reported on last week). Not a rosy picture with soaring oil prices but a presidential election imminent. Airline number ten in the pecking order, ATA, now a budget carrier is said to be within days of Chapter 11. http://www.delta.com Oct 24, 2004

Just four months after its launch, Independence Air is right up there with some of the largest U.S. carriers, in survival mode. Its planes less than half full despite dirt-cheap fares, Independence Air said Wednesday it will overhaul its ticket distribution system, cut capacity in some markets and negotiate with lenders in order to preserve cash necessary to avoid bankruptcy. The airline’s parent company, FLYi, announced third-quarter losses Wednesday of $83 million, or $1.82 a share. A year ago the carrier, then known as Atlantic Coast Airlines, turned a $23 million third-quarter profit. It operated at the time as a regional carrier for UAL Corp.’s United Airlines, which is in Chapter 11, and Delta Air Lines Inc., which is struggling to avoid it. This summer the company embarked on a risky transformation, remaking itself into a low-fare carrier based at Dulles International Airport. The airline is unique among low-fare carriers, with a fleet comprised largely of small, 50-seat regional jets, which generally cost more to operate on a per-person basis. The airline’s stock dropped more than 50 percent last week after UBS Securities analyst Robert Ashcroft warned that the company might have to file for bankruptcy as soon as January and said “it’s clear to us that FLYi’s business plan isn’t working.” On Wednesday the airline’s stock fell 24 cents, or 15 percent, to $1.40 a share on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The airline believed that round-trip fares as low as $58 would generate sufficient demand to fill 600 daily departures to 39 East Coast cities, including many smaller airports like Lansing, Mich., Portland, Maine, Charleston, W.V. and Dayton, Ohio. Oct 27, 2004

Independence Air is proud to announce its “Falling Fares Sale,” offering customers the chance to fly at special fares to every one of its current and announced future destinations for travel booked by November 8, 2004 and completed by February 15, 2005. Sale fares for nonstop flights to and from Washington Dulles International Airport are priced at $34, $44, $54, $64 and $74 one-way, depending on the destination. Connecting fares through Washington Dulles are priced at $59, $74 and $84 one-way. All sale fares require a 7-day advance Internet purchase at FLYi.com, are limited and may not be available on all flights or all days. Fare sale details and restrictions are seen below. Oct 25, 2004

Midwest Airlines is offering reduced fares for travel October 31, 2004 through February 28, 2005. Fares are available Sunday, October 24 through midnight Central time Thursday, October 28, 2004, and must be purchased at least 7 days in advance of departure. Included in the fare sale is travel on Midwest Airlines and Midwest Connect. Midwest Airlines Signature Service features seating altered from standard coach to a roomier two-by-two configuration. Midwest Airlines Saver Service provides low-fare flights between Milwaukee and popular leisure destinations. Midwest Connect provides connections throughout the Midwest Airlines and Midwest Connect route system, and point-to-point service between select markets. Travel is not permitted November 24, 27, 28; December 22, 23, 24, 26, 2004; and January 1 and 2, 2005. Fares for Signature and Midwest Connect routes require a Friday- or Saturday-night stay. Travelers who book roundtrip flights on Midwest Airlines Web site will save an additional 3% off advertised sale fares when they use promo code OCT03. For reservations or more information, visit http://www.midwestairlines.com Oct 23, 2004

Thomas Cook Airlines have come up with an interesting cabin service idea that might just catch on with the charter airlines and budget operators. Normally when Thomas Cook passengers book their holiday they are asked if they would like in-flight meals on the outbound and inbound flights. If they do require meals for both flights the charge is [pounds sterling]10 for adults and [pounds sterling]5 for children. A new service allows clients who have not pre- booked their food to order for the return leg of their journey as they check in. The price is half that for the two flights. There is a choice of gluten-free, high-fibre, diabetic, dairy-free, low salt, vegan, vegetarian, Asian vegetarian, fruit-based or low calorie/low fat meals. Nicely presented too. http://www.thomascook.info Oct 24, 2004

United Airlines now offers United Express customers a more spacious onboard experience with the introduction of the new 70-seat Embraer 170 aircraft to the United Express fleet, complementing the United Express fleet of 70-seat Canadair 700 regional jets already in service. With the most spacious regional jet cabin in the sky, the Embraer 170 aircraft offers the widest aisles and seats of any aircraft in its category and is the first regional jet in the industry with both United First(r) and United Economy Plus(SM) seating. A number of United Express Canadair 700s currently offer First Class cabins, and Economy Plus sections will be added next year. Like the Canadair 700, the Embraer 170 cabin design guarantees customers either an aisle or window seat. The Embraer 170 also provides large overhead bins that accommodate roll-on bags. Oct 26, 2004

US Airways continues to think positive in spite of its serious financial problems and is now planning for 2005. Philadelphia, which is a primary gateway to Europe, the Caribbean, and Latin America is to gain 7% more flights to 495 each business day, 32% more than the same time last year. Out goes the traditional arrival and departure banks to be replaced by a steady flow of flights throughout the day. According to the airline this is expected to relieve airfield delays and increase operational efficiency. However the system is retained at Charlotte, US Airways largest hub, where flights will grow to 564 daily weekday departures from the current 495. http://www.usairways.com Oct 24, 2004

Virgin Atlantic, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police, is developing a short crime prevention video, which will be shown on all Virgin Atlantic’s

inbound flights to London. The airline should be complemented. The three-minute video ought to be a must viewing for Londoners too, offering common sense advice to visitors and locals on how to keep themselves and their possessions safe whilst traveling around the city. As was pointed out London is no worse, and certainly much safer, than many cities around the world. But common sense should prevail. If you buy electronic goods in Tottenham Court Road, look after them. There are people about who would wish to relieve you of your new toy! http://www.virginatlantic.com Oct 24, 2004

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