United Airlines Reports $489 Million First-Quarter 2014 Loss Excluding Special Items; $609 Million Loss Including Special Items

On 24/04/2014, in Airline corner, by steve

United Airlines (UAL) today reported a first-quarter 2014 net loss of $489 million, or $1.33 per share, excluding $120 million of special items. Including special items, UAL reported a first-quarter 2014 net loss of $609 million, or $1.66 per share.

• Historic severe weather increased United’s first-quarter loss by approximately $200 million.
• United’s consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) decreased 2.0 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the first quarter of 2013. Weather-related cancellations reduced first-quarter 2014 consolidated PRASM by approximately 1.5 percentage points.
• First-quarter 2014 consolidated unit costs (CASM) increased 1.0 percent year-over-year. First-quarter 2014 consolidated CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, increased 3.1 percent year-over-year on a consolidated capacity reduction of 0.3 percent.
• UAL ended the first quarter with $6.0 billion in unrestricted liquidity.


“This quarter’s financial performance is well below what we can and should achieve. We are taking the appropriate steps with our operations, network, service and product to deliver significantly better financial results,” said Jeff Smisek, UAL’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The entire United team is sharply focused on accomplishing the goals we have laid out for long-term financial success.”

First-Quarter Revenue and Capacity

For the first quarter of 2014, total revenue was $8.7 billion, a decrease of 0.3 percent year-over-year. First-quarter consolidated passenger revenue decreased 2.3 percent to $7.4 billion, compared to the same period in 2013. Ancillary revenue per passenger in the first quarter increased 7.6 percent year-over-year to more than $21 per passenger. First-quarter cargo revenue decreased 7.9 percent versus the first quarter of 2013 to $209 million. Other revenue in the first quarter increased 18.0 percent year-over-year to $1.1 billion, in large part due to an agreement to sell jet fuel to a third party.

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Budapest Airport’s Long-haul Perspectives

On 18/04/2014, in Life around runways, by zoltan

Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc Airport recently won the Skytrax “Best airport in Eastern Europe” award, which is always a recognition for an airport (or an airline), particularly after such a hard period. Although if we study the regional field a little bit better, the happiness decreases.


We, here in Hungary, like to say that we live in Central Europe, and because of this, our biggest airport should play in the same league with Prague, Vienna and Warsaw (the location of Warsaw is actually further east). Actually, Bratislava is in our league, while Vienna (the distance between the two cities is approx. 60 km) is in another. Although it is surely not discrimination, and Skytrax has its explanation, it is a good reflection of the current situation: Budapest airport seems to have lost its regional hub function.

After the bankruptcy of Malév (Hungarian Airlines) in February of 2012, the traffic of the airport changed seriously. Wizz Air and Ryanair opened many “new” destinations, and national airlines provided extra frequencies or bigger aircraft on their existing flights.

In consequence, the decrease in passenger traffic in 2012 was just 4.7%, much lower than it was expected; while passenger traffic of 2011 was an absolute record (8,920,653). In 2013, passenger traffic was slightly higher than in 2012, but the difference is approximately 0.1%.
The change is more serious in case of traffic structure: market share of low-cost airlines increased dramatically, from 25% to above 50%, while transfer passengers disappeared. Nowadays, Wizz Air is the biggest airline in Budapest, with 8 aircraft stationed at the airport from this summer, providing direct services to 38 destinations. Above the “normal” low-cost destinations, Wizz Air got several of the former bilateral rights of Malév, so it can fly to Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey. Moreover, Wizz Air opened to the east, starting direct flights to Dubai (UAE), Baku (Azerbaijan) and Kutaisi (Georgia). Currently, approximately 30 destinations can be reached with scheduled and not low-cost flights, and more than 60 with low costs. Such important hub airports as Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Geneva, Kiev and Dubai are only accessible with Wizz Air, Ryanair or easyJet flights.

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Now… where did I put the ignition key???

On 13/04/2014, in Picture stories, by steve

Photo: Laszlo Daniel Dutch Aviation Photographers Group

Photo: Laszlo Daniel Dutch Aviation Photographers Group


Vedi Napoli e poi muori… or introduce Collaborative Decision Making (CDM)!

On 12/04/2014, in CDM, by steve

When you arrive in Naples, Italy, even on a Sunday evening, you are likely to spend the first 20 minutes trying to convince yourself that neither the taxi driver nor the other Naples motorists are actually trying to kill you. They are just driving the… well, Naples way. Once over this hurdle, you suddenly realize that the distance we keep between moving cars even in Brussels is a huge waste of space. Up to 30 miles an hour 2 inches will do, above, increase this to 3. The shock passes quickly however and in no time at all you start enjoying this wonderful city and its people who are full of smiles.


I was not coming for a holiday though but to deliver a Collaborative Decision Making course ordered by Gesac, the company operating Naples International Airport. The course, selected from Airsight’s training catalogue, is based on our signature CDM course material, updated to reflect the most recent thinking about collaborative decision making and also the most likely future directions. This course is being delivered world-wide and has justifiably earned acclaim from Airsight’s many clients.

I was preparing for this course delivery with special care and anticipation. Not only was this the first time the course was coming to Italy but we also knew that Gesac had very high expectations from it.

Gesac provided excellent facilities for the course. Monday morning everything was ready to go, including the computer and the beamer which all worked right from the start. 15 participants were registered for the course and they were all there on time, clearly expecting the four days we would be spending together to be both useful and fun. It was up to me to make their expectations come true…

Naples sunshine for the group photo!

Naples sunshine for the group photo!

All the participants were from various departments of the airport operating company. Gesac’s 2014 training schedule focuses on operations and this is why CDM was included.

While performing the introductions, it was abundantly clear that Gesac is a company where quality and customer orientation both have very high priority and they are also determined to be among the best airports in Italy. It was explained that although Naples had not yet been designated by air navigation service provider ENAV as a candidate CDM airport like Rome, Milan and Venice, Gesac were convinced that CDM would potentially improve their operations and they will go it alone if necessary, bringing partners on board along the way by the strength of showing the actual benefits.

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FSF Calls for International Symposium on Aircraft Monitoring and Communication Systems

On 01/04/2014, in Safety is no accident, by steve

fssIn the wake of the Malaysian government’s announcement that flight MH 370 ended in the Indian Ocean and the continuing search, the Flight Safety Foundation today called on the commercial aviation industry and national civil aviation authorities to gather for an international symposium on the current state of technology and need to incorporate practical in-flight aircraft monitoring and communications systems to enhance location tracking.

“We will hopefully know soon what happened on this tragic flight,” said David McMillan, Chairman of the FSF Board of Governors. “We do know, however, that emerging technology exists to provide much more real-time data about aircraft operations and engine performance. That data can help us unlock mysteries, leading to timely safety improvements and more focused search and rescue missions, while avoiding some of the pain and anguish felt by victims’ loved ones in the wake of a tragedy.”

“Satellite communications, navigation, and surveillance systems also represent efficient ways of tracking aircraft, especially over water,” said Kenneth Hylander, FSF’s acting president and CEO. “Given existing technology, we simply should not be losing contact with aircraft for unknown reasons. Out of respect for the families, it’s also time for the media speculation to stop, and for a knowledgeable, responsible, professional dialogue to begin to examine technological options for practical tracking of aircraft.”

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Quote of April

On 01/04/2014, in Quote of the month, by steve

Temper is what gets most of us into trouble. Pride is what keeps us there.

Mark Twain



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