December 3, 2023

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Aloha Crunch – Airline Weekly

Is an Amazon Freighter Deal Enough to Lift Hawaiian?

Pushing Back: Inside the Issue

The airline earnings reports are flying in fast and furious. Europe’s Big Three all reported last week, revealing robust profits all around. Some things seem to never change, like IAG’s superior performance relative to Air France-KLM and Lufthansa. It’s Air France, though, that’s improving margins most, aided by a 16 percent reduction in staffing since 2019. KLM, on the other hand, while still the more profitable airline, is headed in a downward direction, challenged by discomforting developments in Amsterdam.

In the U.S. Southwest’s earnings were rather discomforting, especially given the carrier’s advantageous fuel hedges and roaring domestic demand. Southwest is just not Southwest when not sweating its assets, something it can’t do until shoring up staffing. JetBlue has cost problems too, while lifeless results at Spirit and Frontier caused investors to ask: Was United’s Scott Kirby right? Is the ultra-LCC business model ill-designed for post-pandemic realities, like supply-side constraints on growth? (Perhaps Kirby was being a bit hyperbolic in calling the model a “Ponzi scheme”).

Hawaiian’s decade-plus run of success is hardly a Ponzi scheme. But is it a relic of the past? Norwegian had a good summer, and might even have a good future — its past was tainted by overambition and reckless longhaul adventures. Latin America’s Volaris and Gol hardly dazzled with their third quarter margins, but both see better times ahead. Air Canada reached a double-digit third quarter operating margin. Many more airlines (get ready) will report this week.

Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

Who would have thought three years ago that we’d be talking about the bright future for Norwegian Air? One restructuring and pandemic later, and the discounter is profitable and taking corporate travel share from competitor SAS. Plus, Hawaiian’s continued struggles. Listen to this week’s episode to find out. A full archive of the ‘Lounge is here.

Weekly Skies

The capacity discipline foisted on the airline industry by the confluence of a myriad of constraints is not expected to dissipate anytime soon. But that’s good financial news, Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr said last week.

Landing Strip

French airport operator Vinci, which owns terminals around the world, said passenger numbers “continued to accelerate in Q3” at almost all of its facilities. “Momentum was strong in Europe, South America, and the Caribbean,” it said, adding that traffic volumes…

Routes and Networks

Norwegian Air will open a new base in Riga, Lativa, with two Boeing 737s next year. While routes have not been announced, CEO Geir Karlsen said they will complement its existing flights to Norway. Norwegian serves Riga from Oslo and…

State of the Unions

American is near a tentative agreement with its pilots union, the Allied Pilots Association, that would include at least 12 percent raises, CNBC reported. First officers at the airline would start at around $110 an hour under the accord. The…


Boeing posted a $2.8 billion operating loss, or $3.3 billion net loss, on nearly $16 billion in revenues during the third quarter. The results were driven by “losses on our fixed-price defense development programs,” Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said. The…

Feature Story

Sweet memories of the Great Recession? Not exactly, but for Hawaiian Airlines, the global economic calamity of 2008 and 2009 didn’t leave many scars. Hawaii’s tourist sector felt the impact for sure—the number of visitors arriving by air dropped 10…

By the Numbers