Despite speculation that year-end earnings may prompt a postponement of its OpenSkies launch, British Airways says its new trans-Atlantic unit is still on schedule to begin service in mid-June. OpenSkies has received its Air Operators Certificate, but BA is still negotiating with pilots who held a February strike vote over the airline's plans to operate the unit under a separate labor agreement.
A recent survey by TripAdvisor found that 90% of American travelers and 91% of global respondents are planning to take a leisure travel trip this summer. Seventy-two percent of travelers (71% of U.S. respondents) said they are planning to fly this summer.
Airbus plans to add modifications including more efficient taxiing, weight reduction and enhanced service goal structural test elements to its A320 family of aircraft and will increase production. The company, which has a backlog of 2,668 planes, will increase production from the current 34 aircraft per month to 40 by 2010.
As the veteran of four merger attempts in four years, US Airways CEO Doug Parker has learned some critical lessons, including the importance of decisiveness, leadership team building and good communication with employees. With the proposed merger with United Airlines, Parker is poised to cement his reputation as a CEO who achieved industry leadership through strategic mergers, beginning four years ago when he led America West Airlines' bid for ATA.
With fuel prices skyrocketing, airlines are looking to mergers as a way of riding out the storm, but escalating costs make the ventures even riskier, analysts say. "It's not clear anything works at $125 (a barrel) oil," said one person close to the United Airlines-US Airways talks. "There is also a fear that if oil falls to $75, did we really need to do this?" In fact, a US Airways merger is reportedly just one of many options under consideration by United, including an alliance with Continental Airlines and remaining independent.