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Aviation Industry Updates: January 26, 2021


Message To Doug: Apparently American Airlines Will Lose Money Again


  • American Airlines is planning for life after CEO Doug Parker, as search firm details transition plan

  • Hanold & Associates was hired to look for a new chief human resources officer who will work with ‘a new CEO,’ but the company characterizes it as part of a multi-year succession plan
  • But that person would also “report to the new CEO, who will be a key part of this interviewing and selection process.”
  • The post from Hanold & Associates has since been changed to take out the details about the transition plans, but Eberwein and American confirmed that the carrier is making CEO transition plans, which they characterize as normal for any large publicly traded company.
  • Parker, 59, is still young in CEO years. He’s been running the airline since 2013, when he helped orchestrate the merger between American and US Airways, where he was CEO.
  • Isom has taken an increased role at American since he was named president in 2016. Most letters to employees are co-signed by Parker and Isom, and Isom does many of the face-to-face meetings with worker groups.
  • “It’s true Robert is the ideal internal candidate. It’s true Doug will celebrate 20 years this year as CEO. Someday, not today, next month, or year, Doug will retire. Robert will likely become CEO if all goes as planned. That was made pretty obvious several years ago,” she wrote in a post on Twitter confirmed by American Airlines.

Dallas Morning News

Delta Pardons 400 Pilots


  • Delta Air Lines is planning to bring hundreds of its pilots back by this summer as the airline seeks to position itself for a rebound in travel demand.
  • Delta’s pilots avoided furloughs last year after the union agreed to reduced pay and no flying requirements for some 1,700 junior aviators. Delta is now going to offer some 400 of them active status, according to a company memo that was seen by CNBC.
  • That will include required flight training to fly certain aircraft as the company aims to have them trained and ready for summer 2022.
  • But Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian, on the heels of the airline’s more than $12 billion annual loss, its biggest ever, was optimistic about the recovery. Earlier this month Bastian said he expects the airline to return to profitability this summer as more people are vaccinated.
  • “We’re excited to be able to offer 400 full-time pilot positions now, but it’s important to remember that the recovery road ahead of us will be long and choppy,” Laughter said in the memo to pilots last week. “However, we’re cautiously optimistic that demand will increase as vaccinations roll out across the world, and we look forward to restoring all affected pilots back to full flying status as the recovery continues.”


Tax Loophole Fuels New Private Jet Jobs


  • The research from Strategic Vision closely mirrors an analysis by McKinsey showing private jet providers have a largely untapped market of affluent consumers
  • “Our research shows this pent-up demand is generating keen interest in safaris, European vacations, and far-flung destinations — if not in the immediate term, then in the near future. At the same time, luxury travelers are being careful and following the science on vaccines, testing, and therapeutics.”
  • Further, a slight majority of travelers (53%) said they had already booked a trip for 2021, with another 41% saying they’re likely to do so. More of these 2021 travelers are planning trips for the second half of the year than the first. Two-thirds of respondents signaled their intention to book a trip for 2022 or beyond.
  • Despite the surge in newcomers to private aviation, 82% of respondents said they haven’t used private aviation since the beginning of the pandemic, inferring there is still a largely untapped market.ce on vaccines, testing, and therapeutics.”

Private Jet Card

Southwest vs. United: Social Responsibility vs. Dictatorship


  • Southwest Airlines announced Thursday it would be providing COVID-19 vaccinations for free to its employees. The administration of the vaccine will be covered by the company’s health plans and likely become available during later phases of the rollout.
  • No mention has been made whether or not it would be mandatory for Southwest staff to get vaccinated, or which, if any, group of staff would be prioritized.
  • “We have teams working to identify third parties who can provide vaccines to our employees as soon as they are able to do so – likely during later phases in the vaccine roll-out plan,” Southwest said in a statement seen by Reuters.

Southwest - Simple Flying


  • United’s CEO wants to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for the company’s more than 60,000 employees.
  • CEO Scott Kirby said other companies should adopt a similar stance.
  • “The worst thing that I believe I will ever do in my career is the letters that I have written to the surviving family members of coworkers that we have lost to the coronavirus,” CEO Scott Kirby said at an employee town hall Thursday, a transcript of which was reviewed by CNBC. “And so, for me, because I have confidence in the safety of the vaccine – and I recognize it’s controversial – I think the right thing to do is for United Airlines, and for other companies, to require the vaccines and to make them mandatory.”
  • “I don’t think United will get away with and can realistically be the only company that requires vaccines and makes them mandatory,” he said. “We need some others. We need some others to show leadership. Particularly in the healthcare industry.”
  • “It’s certainly a sensitive topic all the way around,” Michael Klemm, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 141, which represents fleet and passenger service workers at United, said in an email. “We’ve received some frustration from members who don’t want to take the vaccine as well as concern from members who don’t want to work with someone who doesn’t take it.”

United - CNBC


  • American Airlines has a similar approach, telling employees last week that “We do not plan to require our team members to receive the vaccine unless vaccinations are ultimately mandated for entry to certain destinations.”
  • Delta Air Lines, meanwhile, said it is “actively working with all of the states to understand how Delta employees will be prioritized in the initial distribution of vaccines.”

Cargo Airlines Spend Money Like Sailors On Shore Leave


  • There was a big demand for air cargo in 2020, and that’s staying strong. The demand is fuelled by disruptions to normal supply chains and a huge increase in e-commerce. While many passenger airlines are culling their fleets and postponing orders, the opposite is happening at cargo carriers.
  • New York state-based Atlas Air made a splash when it decided to buy the last four 747-8 Freighters to be made by Boeing. Atlas Air already flies 72 aircraft and is the world’s largest operator of the 747 jumbo jet.
  • Boeing’s Stan Deal said he expected the global air cargo fleet to grow by more than 60% over the next 20 years.
  • Atlas Air competitor DHL also decided to take an additional eight new Boeing 777 freighters. That builds on an original order of 14 aircraft made in 2018. According to DHL, they already operate over 260 dedicated aircraft with 17 partner airlines.
  • The buys are welcome news at Boeing, having just announced a desultory total sales figure of 157 commercial aircraft across 2020. But it’s not just good news for new aircraft manufacturers like Boeing. Last week, Simple Flying reported Cirium expects demand for over 3,300 freighters across the next 20 years. While approximately 1,000 of those freighters will be factory fresh, most of the extra freighters will come from conversions.

Simple Flying

Frontier Airlines: Pilot Pathway OR Dream Crusher


James' Take

Frontier’s recent ATP Pilot Pathway Program kind of feels like a slap in the face.

Think about it, if you’re a furloughed ExpressJet, Compass, or TSA pilot, you’re probably pretty pissed right now.

Why is some snot-nosed flight school kid passing you by?

After all, you’ve proven you can pass 121 training, have time in jets, and are actually QUALIFIED for the job!

Before you say “F*CK this place, they’re undercutting our jobs” let’s take a look at what this program really does:

  • This is clearly a long term play by Frontier management to steal pilots from Legacy’s down the line during a pilot shortage that will surely kick up within the next 3 to 5 years.
  • These “Student Pilots” will only make up 1 to 3 new hires per month. Basically, a token amount that’s just enough to secure and develop a long term pilot pipeline. NOT ENOUGH TO THREATEN YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING HIRED NOW.
  • For flight school students this is a HUGE carrot at the end of a 30-mile long stick. It isn’t a true threat to any furloughed regional or military pilot wanting a stable career there.

Should you apply to Frontier? That depends on a few details:

Why You Should Apply Why You Shouldn’t
Deep Investor Pockets There Is NO INDUSTRY STATUS In Being A Frontier Pilot…
WAY Less Likely To Get Furloughed You’ll Never Fly A Widebody
Quick Upgrade You’ll Never Fly True International
Stable Growth You Will NEVER Make 400K Per Year
They’re Rapidly Adding Aircraft And Growing Their Fleet  
They’re The First Passenger Airline To Hire in 2021  
They Have A Low Cost Structure Which Enables Them To Compete  
ULCC’s Stole Market Share After 9/11 And The Financial Crisis  
They Actually Make Money At The Fares This Market Demands  


If you plan on applying, and make sure your Airline Apps application turns into an interview.

As you will hear in our upcoming podcast with Ben Baldanza the former CEO of Spirit & Current JetBlue Board Member; ULCC's will emerge stronger and soak up more market share post-Covid-19.

The real threat to furloughed or military transition pilots is the thousands of other pilots who are fully-qualified looking for work.

The pilots who have been networking on LinkedIn and updating their apps over the previous months are the pilots you’re competing with.

Frontier’s application window closes on February 17th.

~James Onieal

Read ATP Full Press Release

Weekly TSA Numbers

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