In other airline, hotel and travel industry news this week…
- This is old news now, but if you’ve stayed away from media of all types this week you should know American Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Long-time CEO Gerard Arpey also resigned as CEO and now Thomas Horton is taking the lead position. There will be few, if any, customer-side impacts with the main goal of the reorganization being reduction of costs, mainly labor. American also has asked the court to shed leases on 24 aircraft currently unutilized and in storage. My thoughts are with non-management staff as I’m sure you’ll be experiencing pay cuts (flight attendants, I know, took a 33% hit in 2003).
- The Federal Aviation Administration issued United Airlines – Continental Airlines a single operating certificate as was expected. All Continental flights will now be using “United” as their call sign when communicating with air traffic control. I believe this also now opens the door for the merged carrier cross-utilize pilots and flight attendants on either UA or CO aircraft, assuming they have the necessary qualifications of course.
- The Air Transport Association (ATA) has changed its name to Airlines for America (A4A). The trade association works closely with the airlines in being a unified voice with technical, legal and political organizations. Their purpose is to “foster a business environment that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness.” A4A member airlines and their affiliates account for more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. It was created by 14 airlines in 1936 and has played a major role in everything aviation-related in our country from the creation of the Civil Aeronautics Board to deregulation in 1978 to dealing with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
- The amount of personal data shared among countries about airline passengers flying between the European Union and the United States will be increasing. Some data has been shared since 2007, but additional passenger name record (PNR) items, info on crimes punishable by at least three years in prison and enhanced watch list information will come into play soon. After six months, personal ID and contact information will be masked, but stored for 10 years for suspects of serious crimes and 15 years for known terrorists.
- Air France fired an outsourced maintenance vendor in China after discovering one of their Airbus A340s was missing 30 screws from one of its wings. That jet flew for five days before it was noticed, but I’d also be keen to put some of the blame on Air France. Is there not a maintenance look over once an airplane comes back from service? The carrier claims safety was never compromised. I disagree.
- Finally, check out this rather Glee-like commercial from Indian carrier IndiGo Airlines. It’s pretty darn entertaining.