Cranky Flier (quickly becoming my favorite read) has put out a post about Virgin America’s latest quarterly report. Basically, they don’t sound like they’re doing that well. Virgin American rolled out the red carpet for those of us that attended the KivaDo back in February (for which I have a draft post that still has never been completed…), and I think most people generally like the airline. Unfortunately, their loyalty program leaves a lot to be desired. And apparently, so does their financial performance.
Virgin attributes their losses to their rapid growth, but this contrasts with another recent CF article about Southwest Airlines, where SWA managed to grow rapidly and pay their staff well without hemorrhaging money. Well, hopefully VX can turn it around. They’re more innovative and edgy with their airplanes and business philosophy with other airlines, and it’s nice to see their influence in the market bringing down fares in certain markets/on certain routes.
I unfortunately didn’t get around to posting this earlier, but as has been reported in several places, United recent announced layoffs in the Houston area because the city approved allowing Southwest to build an international terminal at Houston’s Hobby airport, and being international service. Now, for those of you who follow Southwest, their international destinations are likely going to be Mexico and the Caribbean. They won’t be flying to Australia or Asia or any of that, most likely. However, United made this sound like the end of the world, and in addition to the layoffs, they even cancelled their proposed upcoming Houston-Auckland (New Zealand) service on 787s.
I agree with Cranky Flier on this one (who award United his “Cranky Jackass” award). These were probably planned or needed layoffs, which are typical after a merger, and United is trying to win some points by blaming these layoffs on what the city of Houston has decided to do. Sure they will face some more competition as a result of the vote, but I highly doubt thinks like Houston to Auckland would be affected by that (plus Southwest will not even be flying out of Hobby internationally for several years). I think United overplayed their hand on this one…
I’ve got a backlog of interesting things I ran across and wanted to post, but never did. I’ve been working on some websites keeping me busy (which weren’t in WordPress, which would’ve saved me a lot of time), but I’m winding those up now, and hopefully I’ll be able to post regularly again!
Anyway, I started following Cranky Flier at some point, and just wanted to post a couple of articles I read on his site. The first was an article about some of the intricacies of airlines and change planes on the same flight number, among other things. What I really like about Cranky Flier’s posts is that when he runs across something funny, it’s not just a half-baked, superficial treatment of the topic with a link to the article (like the posts that guy Frequent Flyer Collector makes :-P), but it usually involves a history of the topic, and how things came to be. That particular article talks about how the current convoluted flight number systems “evolved” from marketing strategies.
Another article he wrote was about Delta’s purchase of a refinery. Great analysis, and a quick primer to how the oil/refining market works, and what was going through Delta’s head when they made this move. I highly recommend reading those two articles and following Crank Flier’s blog as well, for many interesting, well-researched articles.