If Thursday's announcement that Southwest Airlines intends to bid on Denver-based Frontier Airlines is successful, Southwest will control about one-third of Denver's overall capacity, compared to roughly half for United. To acquire Frontier, Southwest will have to outbid Republic Airways as well as any other competitors that might place bids before the Aug. 3 proposal deadline.
Boeing Co. saw its net new orders for 2009 more than double in the past week. Airlines ordered 12 777s and 11 737s in the week ended July 28, while no orders were canceled. For the year, Boeing has booked a net of 40 new aircraft orders.
Current efforts by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to rein in oil speculation is an issue "of huge importance to all Americans," according to a guest editorial in the Financial Times. While there is some question of how best to regulate international commodities markets, the fact remains that "current levels of speculation are unequivocally bad." Inflated stock prices may eventually hurt the holders of that stock, but inflated oil prices hurt everyone, from individuals to corporations to entire nations. "In the case of our fragile economy, high energy costs could well choke off any recovery," the writer argues.
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt says congressional efforts to boost airline safety are redundant and misguided. Regional airlines already are drawing up voluntary safety plans, and Babbitt says that effort will be well established by the time the Airline Safety and Pilot Training Improvement Act of 2009 is ready for a floor vote. As for plans to dramatically increase flight time requirements, Babbitt says Congress is focusing on the wrong thing. "The quality of training is far more important than the quantity of training or total time," he says. Babbitt's comments follow suggestions by Air Transport Association President and CEO James May that the FAA be given the opportunity to proceed to a successful conclusion.
European regulators are set to issue new rules requiring airlines to switch out many of the pitot tubes found on Airbus A330 and A340 wide-body jets. Meanwhile, Airbus has urged airlines to replace most of the European-made speed sensors on their A330 and A340 planes for more "consistent" ones made in the U.S. Investigators believe airspeed sensors manufactured by Thales contributed to the crash of Air France Flight 447, and the European Aviation Safety Agency wants to see Thales devices replaced by sensors from Goodrich Corp. The order is expected to cause some delays for airlines, which must test the new equipment on empty aircraft before flying passengers.