Airbus and Qatar Bury the Hatchet, are Friends Again
Following 18 months of he-said, she-said, and he-painted, she-painted, Airbus and Qatar Airways settled their dispute out of court, putting a stop to a UK trial that would have led down a path that would have made no one happy but the lawyers.
At the core of the dispute, Qatar claimed that Airbus’s paint job led to erosion on its fleet of A350s causing a safety issue — which the manufacturer flatly denied. Qatar pouted its way toward Boeing during the dispute while Airbus pulled orders from Qatar, refusing to deliver any planes in a classic “take my ball and go home” maneuver. The battle then shifted into the government arena, with Qatar’s regulatory bodies backing its airline, while the EASA, Europe’s version of the FAA, backed Airbus.
Under the agreement, the orders which had been canceled — remember, mostly out of spite — are back. The plan is for 23 A350s and 50 A321neos to be delivered to Qatar when Airbus gets around to it. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Airbus is expected to be paying several hundred million dollars to Qatar in damages, which will finally give Qatar a chance to bling out the interior of its planes like it always dreamed. To sweeten the pot beyond the cash, Airbus threw in four two-night stay certificates at a Courtyard by Marriott just around the corner from its plant in Toulouse and a free tour for four at its A380 assembly plant in Hamburg.
Allegiant’s Q4 Buoys 2022 Results
Allegiant Air posted a profitable Q4 to end the calendar year with a net income of $52.5 million, a nearly 400% jump from Q4 2019, the last full quarter in the industry before the term “social distancing” became a thing.
Operating revenue for the year’s final three months was $612 million, a 33% jump from those carefree, pandemic-free days at the end of 2019. The airline travel company set a new high for annual gross revenue, bringing in $2.3 billion, 25% more than 2019, while operating with 14% more capacity. Allegiant flew 16.8 million passengers this year, most of which flew between two completely random and arbitrary cities for reasons that no one — including the travelers themselves — could explain.
It ended the year with $1 billion in cash, or roughly the amount it costs to secure four 50-yard line season tickets to see the terribly mediocre Las Vegas Raiders next year in Allegiant Stadium.
Frontier Sets its Sights on Puerto Rico as its Newest Frontier
Frontier Airlines is starting eight new routes to Puerto Rico beginning this May, adding to its strong position on the island, and giving it more routes to Puerto Rico than any other airline.
The new routes include seven U.S. cities and Cancun — which is basically an American city — so we’ll call it eight. The bulk of new flights will go to San Juan from six destinations with the additional requirement that the cities be near the top of the alphabet:
- Dallas-Fort Worth
Two cities in Florida will see an expanded presence on the island with new, nonstop service from Tampa to Aguadilla (BQN) and Orlando to Ponce (PSE). Lastly, Frontier will add one-stop service to San Juan in May from Denver, via DFW.
Frontier also used the announcement to introduce a 2.0 version of its GoWild! pass, at the introductory rate of $399. This summer-only version permits unlimited U.S. and international travel on the carrier between May 2 and September 30 in the unlikely event travelers can actually find an empty seat during the absolute peak travel period. Regular Frontier taxes and fees apply, and customers who sign up for the pass must choose between Frontier’s four groupings of tail animals and can only fly routes operated by planes with their selected tails.
For more on Frontier’s expansion into Puerto Rico, please visit Thursday’s post on crankyflier.com.
UK’s Slot Rules to Return this Summer
Carriers operating at UK airports will be once again required to “use ’em or lose ’em” at the pre-pandemic rates for the first time since early 2020. The government’s 80/20 rule, which requires airlines to operate at least 80% of their slot capacity or risk losing the slot will return to normal this summer.
A change introduced during the pandemic will stick, however. Airlines will be permitted to return up to 5% of their slots to the UK government to help avoid last minute cancellations. The UK is currently requiring 70% slot usage during the winter months, with the 80/20 rule returning in March. This will now match the EU, which is also going to return to 80% minimum usage this summer, with it currently at 75% for the winter.
Passenger levels at UK airports this summer are at about 85% of their 2019 levels, and that doesn’t include the several thousand passengers still stuck in a security queue in Amsterdam who have been trying to get home to Manchester since June.
Flyr Files Fr Bnkrptcy
Norwegian LCC and noted poor speller Flyr filed for bankruptcy in Oslo City Court on Wednesday after the carrier “was not successful with a new financing plan,” and the board of the carrier determined shutting down operations was the only solution.
All flights have been cancelled for the foreseeable future and ticket sales are halted. Although if anyone wants to lay down cash for a flight they know won’t operate, Flyr’s creditrs will find a way to take your money. Anyone who holds a ticket on Flyr that was purchased by credit card can contact their credit card company for a refund while those who used anything other than a credit card are not only nuts but are all SOL. The carrier is referring any further questions to the bankruptcy trustee that will be appointed by the Oslo City Court.
In the meantime, those left to wind things up at the airline will be given spelling lessons at no charge to them. Flyr does not own any of its airplanes, leasing a fleet of 12 planes (six B737 MAX 8s and six 737-800s). If anyone interested in one of those airplanes on the cheap, now would be a great time to contact Air Lease Corporation, Banc of America Leasing Ireland, or Standard Chartered Aviation Finance.
- Aer Lingus is knocking off service from London/Gatwick.
- Air New Zealand won $3.5 million from the Cook Islands after winning a tax refund in the High Court of the Cook Islands.
- Alaska is adding three new cities from San Diego: Eugene (begins June 15), Washington/Dulles (begins June 15), and Tampa (begins October 5)
- Antigua Airways is putting a temporary stop to its charter business while it gets its ducks in a row with the Antigua & Barbuda government. It’s believed changing the airline’s name to Antigua & Barbuda Airways could solve the problem.
- Avelo is ending Lexington – Orlando on February 20, halting the carrier’s foray into Kentucky.
- Bonza landed a bullseye in Melbourne.
- British Airways will resume service to mainland China on April 23. Daily service between London/Heathrow to Shanghai will begin then, with 3x weekly service to Beijing/Daxing to follow on June 3. Also it didn’t change its social media policy for its frontline employees. Pinky swear.
- Brussels CEO Peter Gerber resigned. If you want to know where he’s going, keep reading. Christina Foerster was named interim CEO.
- Condor determined that former Brussels CEO Peter Gerber earned his stripes and will take over as the carrier’s new CEO.
- Cyprus Airways is beginning 3x weekly service to Dubai.
- Delta is increasing its presence at Dallas/Love this summer, adding five more daily flights. Dallas/Love to Atlanta will increase from 4x to 5x daily, while it also adds 2x daily service to both Los Angeles and New York/JFK.
- EasyJet is offering jobs to laid off Flybe staff along with Ryanair.
- Finnair modified 10 A350s to carry more stuff.
- Icelandair is financing two B737 MAX aircraft.
- JetBlue pilots are expected to get 21.5% raises over the next 18 months plus all-you-can-drink Dunkin’ coffee in the crew room at their Boston hub. Meanwhile its ground ops workers voted against unionization,
- KLM is tapping the brakes on cargo flights over Suriname.
- LATAM Colombia will begin non-stop service between Bogota and Orlando on July 1 as a part of its JV with Delta.
- LOT spokesman Krzysztof Moczulski tweeted about an incident last week on a LOT flight from JFK to Warsaw that reminds us that when you gotta go, you gotta go.
- Lufthansa will operate its B787-9 Dreamliner to five more North American destinations this summer: Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, and Montreal.
- Qantas is being sued by an employee.
- Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said there could be significant air traffic control delays this summer.
- Southwest increased its firm B737 MAX 7 orders, converting ten options and swapping four earlier MAX 7 orders into MAX 8s.
- Tajik Air has one thing to say.
- WestJet suspended service from three cities to Europe this summer — Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver. Suspended services include flights to Dublin, Glasgow, London/Gatwick, and Paris. Halifax will maintain its flight to London/Heathrow while the carrier continues to consolidate its long-haul operation in Calgary.
I know a bunch of good jokes about umbrellas, but they usually go over people’s heads.