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Aviation Industry Updates: November 17, 2020

By November 17, 2020November 23rd, 2020Industry News

90,000 Aviation Jobs Set To Evaporate By Years End


  • U.S. airline employment will soon fall to the lowest level since the mid-1980s, the result of the pandemic’s devastating impact on the sector, an industry group said Thursday.

  • Airlines will have cut the equivalent of about 90,000 jobs by year-end, including more than 30,000 furloughs at airlines like United and American that began last month and the departure of thousands of other workers who accepted buyouts from Southwest, Delta and other carriers.
  • Passenger carriers and their employees’ labor unions have repeatedly urged Congress for a second $25 billion federal aid package to preserve jobs through March, but Democrats and Republicans haven’t reached an agreement on a new national coronavirus stimulus package or for aid solely for the battered sector.
  • Air travel demand has begun to recover from more than five-decade lows hit in April, early in the pandemic, but it remains a fraction of last year’s levels. Since the start of October, the Transportation Security Administration screened 34 million people, down nearly 65% from the 97 million people who went through airport checkpoints during the same time last year.
  • Airlines for America said U.S. carriers’ Thanksgiving-week capacity will be down close to 39% from a year ago, compared with a 47% drop in the first 2½ weeks of November.
    “Keep in mind that while developing a vaccine is an important step, widespread distribution will take many months, so we continue to expect 2021 will be a year with continued challenges,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a staff note.


Southwest Airlines vs. Industry | Alien vs. Predator


  • The pandemic is forcing many airlines to defend their turf. Southwest is using it to invade.
  • The airline is adding four more cities to its network this year and announced plans for another six in 2021. And it’s looking for more. It hasn’t added airports this quickly since integrating with AirTran Holdings, which it bought in 2011.
  • “It sounds risky to go open a bunch of new cities, but the alternative is worse,” says Andrew Watterson, Southwest’s chief commercial officer. “You could wait til Covid is over. But that’s far too long.”
  • If successful this time, it would be a prime example how some U.S. companies, taking advantage of the carnage around them, can come out of crises stronger.
  • Many airlines are rewriting their route maps. But while most are experimenting with new routes among cities they already fly to, Southwest is adding airports.
  • Southwest had less debt coming into the crisis than some rivals, has lower costs and is more focused on domestic destinations where travel is expected to rebound before travel abroad. That has allowed it to move into openings at airports such as Chicago’s O’Hare airport that previously had no space for new entrants and to re-evaluate cities such as Colorado Springs, Colo., that once didn’t seem worth the investment. It started flying from Miami and Palm Springs on Sunday and announced plans last month to begin flying from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
  • Capt. Jon Weaks, head of the union representing Southwest’s pilots, which is fighting pay cuts, described the expansion strategy as “predatory and opportunistic—which we like.”
  • After 9/11, it was one of few airlines to remain profitable: While it didn’t add new cities right away, it picked up market share when rivals pulled back and expanded into long-haul routes that had been dominated by bigger airlines.
  • The pandemic offered a new chance. Most cities it has picked are ones it had hoped to fly to eventually, and it now has planes to spare and airports with space, Mr. Decaire says: “We probably put in a decade’s worth of new city growth into Southwest.”
  • Overall, other airlines have largely retreated into their main hubs. American and Delta have suspended flying in dozens of smaller markets.
  • Some of Southwest’s new destinations fit the profile of places airlines are looking at for pockets of growth, such as sun and ski destinations. Others are cities Southwest believes can feed passengers into its network through connecting traffic—a shift for a carrier that historically focused on nonstop service.
  • Southwest still needs to tap new markets and believes the strategy will hold up. Southwest is seeking markets it can stay in after the pandemic. “We don’t want to do anything now just for a few months,” he says. “We’re definitely out scouting more cities.”


American Airlines Cuts More Flights After Poor Bookings | What’s This Mean For 2021?


  • American Airlines is once again slashing its schedule due to low demand. Starting in December, the airline will cut its service to London from all its major US hubs.
  • Earlier this year, in September, we reported that American Airlines was cutting its October flight schedule by 83,000 flights. The airline also pulled flights from its November schedule, cutting some destinations entirely. Now, the airline is also cutting major routes to London because demand is so low.
  • However, the demand for cargo is still high, so American will still operate a cargo-only flight from both Chicago and New York to London.
  • The current plan is to resume operations in the new year. Until then, anyone wanting to fly from Chicago or New York to London will have to book with American Airlines’ partner, British Airways.
  • Aside from cutting London from its schedule, the airline made lots of other domestic and international cuts. American will now only operated 15 flights per day from New York’s JFK airport. However, the airline seems to believe that anyone who does travel over the coming months will want to head to warmer climates. American has added flights from Chicago to St Lucia as well as from Dallas-Fort Worth to Belize. There are also new routes to Grenada and Hawaii.
  • With these additional flights starting from today, American will be operating slightly more flights in December compared to November. However, many theorized that pent-up frustration combined with the holiday season might see increased demand over the next few weeks. Although American’s new destinations suggest they’re thinking along the same lines, they clearly don’t expect to see a massive surge in demand.

Simple Flying

Pilots’ Brains Work Differently | Why Should You Care?


  • Your brain works differently than that of non-flying folks and contrary to what those in your immediate bubble might think, that’s actually a good thing.
  • Chinese researchers have determined that the brains of pilots are wired differently to deal with the unique environment of the cockpit.
  • The researchers determined that pilots’ brains have greater connections between the “central executive network,” which is the part of the brain that makes sense of various bits of information, and the parts of the brain supplying the raw data. That’s the good thing.
  • It “might enable the network to have more diverse functions,” which helps put all the various inputs from instruments, the radio, the sight picture and others in the cockpit into coherence.
  • “Pilots are always working in complex, dynamic environments. Flying is now not so much a ‘physical job,’ but a high-level cognitive activity,” the study said. “The pilot should be completely aware of all conditions in real time, and be ready to deal with various potential emergencies.”


Charter Companies Use Discounts To Drive Up Demand | Will This Create More Jobs?


  • Costco is selling a 12-month private jet service membership for $17,499.99.
  • The Wheels Up private aviation membership includes a $3,500 Costco Shop Card and $4,000 flight credit. Those who purchase the subscription will receive membership via email.
  • Costco states that customers will receive guaranteed nationwide aircraft availability up to 365 days a year with as little as 24 hours of notice. There are added benefits with the subscription, including a complimentary one-year Inspirato membership for luxury vacations.
  • The firm highlights that customers will receive dedicated account management and access to an extensive fleet of jets. All of these planes can be booked up by using the Wheels Up App.
  • The global health crisis has caused massive shifts in the landscape within the aviation industry this year. Commercial aviation is continuing to go through a challenging time with a severe passenger downturn amid public concerns and government restrictions. As a result, several travelers are turning to private solutions.

Simple Flying

Weekly TSA Numbers

TSA Numbers Nov 17 Email