United Airlines on Tuesday reported a first-quarter loss of $537 million. The airline attributed the large loss to soaring fuel prices. It posted operating revenue of $4.71 billion, up from $4.37 billion in the same quarter a year ago.
Summer travelers are likely to face higher fares, delays and packed planes, the Wall Street Journal's Scott McCartney writes. Carriers have scaled back domestic capacity as part of an effort to offset soaring jet fuel prices, he notes. Meanwhile, efforts to improve congestion at New York area airports may not ease the problem because carriers have scheduled more flights, he notes.
United Airlines recently added a Saturday night stay requirement on discounted fares on routes where it competes with other airlines, The New York Times' Joe Sharkey writes. Other airlines are considering the new policy. Meanwhile, carriers are encouraging travelers to pay for tickets using means other than credit cards as part of an effort to lower processing costs. However, Sharkey notes that credit card issuers will return your money if the airline trip is not provided.
Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson said the merger of Delta and Northwest Airlines will create "the strongest, most durable of all the airlines." Anderson joined Delta as a member of the board in 2007 and was selected as CEO soon after. After his appointment, the board urged him to orchestrate a merger with another airline, and Anderson became convinced that airlines would need to consolidate as oil prices climbed. During negotiations with Northwest, Anderson insisted that Delta be the acquirer, and he reached a last-minute deal with Delta pilots.
Leaders of Delta Air Lines' pilots union say they are open to "expedited arbitration" that could help reach an agreement with Northwest Airlines pilots about combining the unions before the two carriers merge. Delta union chairman Lee Moak said the union wants to sign a single contract before the merger is completed.