July 28, 2022

All My Mergers: The Inevitable Conclusion

It’s like when you figure out who the killer is ten minutes into the movie but feel compelled to watch the whole thing to see how they get there. A day after Frontier’s bid to merge with Spirit was squashed, JetBlue announced it would be purchasing Spirit. Be careful what you ask for, because it just might happen.

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes and Spirit CEO Ted Christie held one of the more awkward TV moments this side of Will Smith and Chris Rock this morning discussing the deal showing what awkward pairing this will be. The two CEOs and their airlines are having to find a way to play nicely together after an several months where Spirit did everything it could to fend off JetBlue’s takeover bid only to be stuck with it in the end. The deal is for $3.8 billion and will create the nation’s fifth-largest airline if it manages to pass regulatory scrutiny.

JetBlue is already entangled in a lawsuit with the Justice Department over its Northeast AAlliance and knows it will need Spirit to divest itself of much of its northeast operations for the sale to have any chance to go through. In the spirit of cooperation, the two airlines are already working together to streamline the customer experience, including JetBlue beginning to introduce fees for basically everything, and Spirit’s announcement of two new Buzzball flavors: Dunkin’ and mint.

Southwest Flight Credits Will Probably Never Expire

Southwest Airlines will eliminate expiration dates on flight credits, becoming the first U.S. airline to take such a plunge.

This rule will not be retroactive and apply to credits which have already expired, but any credits scheduled to expire today or anytime into the future will last indefinitely – or until Southwest changes its mind – whichever comes first. Now, we’re dealing with airline technology, so it can’t just make the credits last forever in its system, or every Southwest plane in the air would spontaneously combust at the same time. So it’s listing the credits with a placeholder expiration of December 31, 2040 which seems reasonable for now.

Go ahead and bookmark this page as a reference for when all the outrage breaks out on the internet — or whatever will be left of the internet — in the final week of December 2040 when everyone’s $68 credit from a canceled ONT-SMF flight in 2024 expires, because Southwest never fixed the glitch. The credits only apply to Southwest’s Wanna Get Away and Wanna Get Away Plus fares, as Anytime and Business Select can be refunded for cash – a much better option than flight credits regardless of when they expire.

Southwest Cruises to $760 Million Profit

Southwest Airlines returned a $760 million profit on Texas-sized revenue of $6.7 billion for Q2, by far its best fiscal performance since before the pandemic.

In its Q2 earnings report, the carrier also disclosed that it’s expecting just 66 aircraft deliveries for the year compared to the expected 114. Southwest will end the year with 765 aircraft, yet somehow you always will get the one parked at the furthest gate at the terminal, walking past the other 764.

Its outlook for Q3 is bullish, with revenue expected to be up 8-12% from Q3 in 2019, while planning to pay about $3.30 per gallon during the quarter. WN’s Q2 RASM increased 22% from Q2 2019 while its load factor rose 0.7%. The carrier ended the quarter with $17.4 billion in liquidity, including orders for a bunch of planes Boeing still says it’ll deliver eventually, and 40 cases of champagne it bought at a bargain price from Frontier that was earmarked for a party that never happened.

  • AirAsia is looking for places to build landing sites for flying taxis in Malaysia. This appears to be real.
  • airBaltic made a $13.5 million payment to investors.
  • Avelo is adding new routes including 2x weekly service between Wilmington, NC and Fort Lauderdale beginning November 11. Also Lexington, KY to Tampa and Orlando and Kalamazoo to Orlando.
  • Etihad reported a $296 million profit for the first half of the year.
  • Ethiopian ordered Africa’s first A350-1000.
  • IAG placed an order for 37 A320neo family aircraft.
  • Jet Airways Fall 2022 relaunch hit a financial snag. It doesn’t have as much money as it thought it did.
  • JetSMART took delivery of a new A321neo.
  • Norwegian and Norse Atlantic are entering into the interline agreement we didn’t know we all needed. Thanks Bjorn.
  • Singapore ended the June quarter with a $268 million profit.
  • SirLankan settled the interest it owed on a government-guaranteed bond.

I decided it was time to start a diet. I just have way too much on my plate right now.