|Vol. 19 No. 35||
Monday April 27, 2020
Rationalizing Nationalizing Airlines
If you examine the Continuation of Air Service Document obligations for air carriers receiving financial relief, dated April 7 and issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the “strings attached” to the bailout funding for the airlines reveals some numbers about service levels that are truly shocking.
It’s not about the money that the airlines will or have already received. The DOT paper is a grim, graphic reminder of the crushing blow on the industry we all serve.
Between now and September 30, when the current finances and time frame for the CARES program runs out, major airlines in the U.S. will reportedly lose, on average, $100 million dollars a day, and only flying a couple of percentage points of their former service levels.
That number may rest at around one percent as carriers are now asking for relief from serving markets that simply cannot muster enough people to fill a few flights a week.
Sacramento, California, is a good example of a medium-sized U.S. gateway operation.
Before COVID-19, the airport handled 1,107 flights a week.
Today, that number has dipped to 42.
What that means (and these percentages and impacted airlines are repeated at all U.S. gateways) is that Southwest, for example, with 525 weekly departures from Sacramento, will be mandated to operate just five weekly flights between now and September 30, unless something changes.
San Francisco, with 5,781 flights weekly, will handle just 48 with that number split between all U.S. flags, representing a whopping 99 percent reduction in service.
Again, Southwest at SFO, which formerly featured 1,745 weekly flights, is now moving just 5 frequencies a week between now and the end of September.
Unless conditions improve markedly, the larger picture will surface when the benefits run out. The airline business could face top to bottom reorganization. But that is another story.
In Europe, carriers from the UK to the mainland are cutting back, applying for government support, and grounding airplanes in rapid numbers.
As May 1 approaches, “May Day” is the word as every single Airbus A380 has been grounded.
In the meantime, we continue to see pictures of ghost fleets of aircraft plying the skies with passenger seats and holds filled with cargo.
Just below the surface of what has emerged as a major air cargo success are growing concerns by some regulators. Sources say IATA has centered their concerns upon helping to address the safety issues that arise from carrying main deck cargo in passenger seats. IATA is concerned that there has never been global guidance on procedures for carrying cargo in the passenger cabin so expect something to come down on that front as soon as the agency figures that one out.
Cargo people do not need any more headaches in their valiant effort to continue generating revenue in the sky whilst delivering to a shut-down world.
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Vol. 19 No. 32
Picture for Sunday Afternoon
Chuckles for April 17, 2020
Don't Worry Be Happy
Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend •
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend • Advertising Sales-Judy Miller
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