Chicago757 From United States of America, joined May 2003, 374 posts, RR: 1 Posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 7077 times:
As a gate agent for ATA at MDW, I'm quite concerned as to our airline's future. With leases not paid, and fares so low, the airline is running out of cash. What do you guys think will happen to us? I think we'll probably get restructuring in the company to avert liquidation. I'd hate to see the airline fold. Its really a good company, and has positive potential.
Leelaw From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 7047 times:
I'm not sure what the source of this article is but it was posted in another thread late last night.
ATA seeks to avert bankruptcy with asset sale
By Caroline Daniel in Chicago
Published: August 23 2004 22:09 | Last updated: August 23 2004 22:09
Consolidation of the overcrowded US low-cost airline sector could begin as ATA, the country's 10th largest carrier, prepares to sell assets to avert bankruptcy.
Seabury Group, a boutique investment bank that specialises in transportation, has been appointed to find buyers for ATA's operations at Chicago's Midway airport, where it accounts for about 40 per cent of all departures.
ATA is seeking buyers for its airport gates and is considering transferring the leases on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft, according to several investment bankers.
Seabury declined to comment.
One banker said ATA was seeking to raise about $500m from the transactions but suggested a price tag of $200m-$300m was more realistic.
“They want to pay off their [$148.5m] loan to the Airline Transportation Stabilisation Board, and their unsecured bond holders,” the banker said.
AirTran, the low-cost carrier, and Mesa, a regional carrier, are among those understood to be interested.
Although America West has been looking to expand its operations and has talked about the need for consolidation among low-cost carriers, it has been focusing on Airbus aircraft.
In a filing this month, ATA said it faced “substantial additional liquidity concerns” after plunging to a first-half loss of $90m, from income of $32m a year ago.
It blamed high fuel prices and intense fare competition from Southwest, which also operates at Midway.
ATA warned it would not meet cash obligations due in the first half of 2005.
ATA is pursuing other strategies to improve revenues, including the addition of business class and possible transatlantic flights.
However, if it proceeds with the asset sale or is forced into bankruptcy, it would make the first big retrenchment by a low-cost airline in this downturn.
“It is a question of survival but it is a Band Aid approach,” said another banker. “It still does not address their strategic problem. There are active buyers who would also be interested in buying the whole company.”
ATA, which is still about 70 per cent owned by George Mikelsons, its Latvian founder, was founded in 1973 in Indianapolis, offering military and leisure charter services.
Since 2000 it expanded aggressively into scheduled services, agreeing to pay big upfront leasing costs to buy a fleet of 25 Boeing 757 aircraft and 13 737-800s. It has seven more 737-800s on order.
Concerns about the future of ATA led Boeing Capital last month to take a $29m non-cash charge after concluding that its unsecured preferred stock investment, initially valued at $50m, was “other-than-temporarily impaired”.
...Sounds like George has given up on the scheduled operation and is trying to salvage the charter business.
TZSFO From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 202 posts, RR: 7 Reply 2, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 7023 times:
I feel for you....I was with ATA until recently.
I worry for the company. I think George will do everything possible to avert a Chap11. I mean we are talking about a guy that owns 75% percent of the available common stock. Common stock is the first thing that gets wiped from the books in a bankruptcy.
The prospects don't look awesome - with some of the lowest costs in the industry there isn't much else that can be cut to help save the company. The pilots already approved a pay-cut. The FA's can be renegiotated. Management and support staff can take another cut. The earnings power needs to come up and with the competiveness of the ORD/MDW market it just doesn't look like there will be any relief in that market for some time to come. The fares are rock bottom and look to stay that way for the near future.
I don't want to sound all doom and gloom - but TZ's unrestricted cash is not a whole lot. I would expect to see a little bit of sell off of assets. Maybe some gates at MDW.
Some airline needs to raise fares and all the others need to follow. We are all getting eaten alive by the fuel costs. It all comes down to who will jump off the cliff first....
I wish all the best to ATA - I have more to write...maybe tomorrow...I am tired tonight....
It takes nerves of steel to stay neurotic. — Herb Kelleher
Leelaw From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6968 times:
I don't see how the piecemeal "sale" of TZ's MDW gates, if in fact that's possible, in order to raise cash accomplishes much. IMO, that would only devalue the remaining assets and won't come close to raising the cash necessary to workout the company's problems.
Quickmover From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2464 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6804 times:
I didn't realize that Mickelson owned 3/4s of the stock. If he wants to avoid ch. 11 and preserve that stock, any action should be coming shortly. Otherwise, if stock value is not a consideration, they should just as well cut costs in ch.11. Probably not an enormous market for those 757s or L1011s, but if they are going back to the charter business, they are perfect for that and the 737s wouldn't be as usefull as they are for scheduled ops. Question is, would anyone pay up for those assets now or just wait and try to grab them out of a potential bankruptcy. I think Southwest has a full plate expanding at PHL and BWI right now. Do they really have extra jets to fill any potential void at MDW?
Leelaw From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6773 times:
Chapter 11 and piecemeal dissolution aren't good alternatives for George. Chapter 11 will leave George with nothing after 30+ years of work, and won't guarantee what emerges from bankruptcy protection will do any better. Piecemeal dissolution will not maximize asset value and not solve the structural problems of the company. Sale of the scheduled operation to another carrier, even at a steep discount, will allow George to get back to his knitting in charter and have something left for himself.
LN-MOW From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1896 posts, RR: 15 Reply 7, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6766 times:
No probably not .. but the article(s) are not mentioning Southwest, but airTran and Mesa as possible buyers of the gates. My guess is that we may see both parties (or more) taking some gates each.
As for the 737's, Southwest would not be interested. WN uses a special cockpit configuration to be able to cross-utilize its pilots on all 737 versions. This would not be possible with the ATA aircraft.
Keeping the 752's and the 1011's for charter operations makes perfect sense to keep the company alive, but most of us will have to bookmark a new website - the local Department of Labor Unemployment page ....
Quickmover From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2464 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6735 times:
"Chapter 11 and piecemeal dissolution aren't good alternatives for George. Chapter 11 will leave George with nothing after 30+ years of work, and won't guarantee what emerges from bankruptcy protection will do any better. Piecemeal dissolution will not maximize asset value and not solve the structural problems of the company. Sale of the scheduled operation to another carrier, even at a steep discount, will allow George to get back to his knitting in charter and have something left for himself. "
You're right, but I'm wondering how much leeway they have on those jets. I think the 737s are leased, so in the end, it will be Boeings call on how much of a discount will go to whoever takes them. #2. Who owns the gates? Does ATA own the actual gates or would it be some type of sublease for whoever would take them at attractive terms?
Leelaw From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 10, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 6681 times:
Regarding the status of "TZ's Gates" at MDW, the City of Chicago owns them (Lessor), TZ has a longterm proprietary lease (Lessee) which gives them the exclusive right to use those gates. Any assignment (transfer of the balance of the lease term) of the leases by the Lessee to third parties or successor owners undoubtedly requires approval of the Lessor. It's not easy to predict what position the City of Chicago will take in the case of either bulk or piecemeal assignment of TZ's leases.
Leelaw From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 14, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 6482 times:
TZ's MDW hub operations, as well as Mainland/Hawaii, might be a good fit for HP. HP can easily drop ORD ops. Some or all of the 757s are easily integrated operationally into HP's fleet, the 738s are a trickier problem, but it's not everyday you can purchase a well developed hub operation with a lot of potential on the cheap.
WGW2707 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1197 posts, RR: 38 Reply 15, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6445 times:
I think ATA's problems can be attributed to low revenue. ATA has the lowest costs, but also the lowest yields in the industry (rivalled only by jetBlue which in a few years time will most likely face a similiar crises). ATA should in the short term sell assets to gain liquidity, and then go about a restructuring designed to create a higher-revenue network.
Strategic development of IND as a regional hub could be one way out of this. Another would be to refocus on charter operations, which was where ATA got started and had an excellent reputation for quality. I think there are several ways ATA can turn around...but I think a vital first step should be to sell any assets worth selling in an effort to boost liquidity. If you've got assets you can sell I think it's better at ATA's state to sell them, rather than to mortage them or risk loosing them in liquidation.
I'm not at all sure of what the ownership status on ATA's fleet is (I might look into that) but assuming they own a large portion of it, a sale-leaseback transaction covering all aircraft they decide to retain could result in massive savings, assuming the leasing rate agreed on was low.
BCAInfoSys From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 16, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6408 times:
AS is in dire need of the lift those 738s could provide, and with the newbuilds still quite a ways off, taking the leases makes sense.
EA CO AS -
Just thought I'd pass along some info. The two 738s you guys (AS) have on order are due to be delivered on 2/15/05 and 7/15/05, respectively. So about 6 months or so and you'll have one of the 738s in service.
AirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3639 posts, RR: 12 Reply 19, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 6336 times:
Man if we bought TZ the litigation would last for years. All of the ALPA boys would be pissed because they would lose their seniority, and everyone would say that FL is evil and screwed the TZ guys they same way that AA screwed TW. We'll but the planes, but not the company.
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
Msp12r From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 31 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6288 times:
People seem to be ruling our HP as a suitor for TZ assets because of their move toward Airbus. Assuming HP decides that a MDW presence might make a good compliment to its existing hub, couldn't HP get Airbus to buy any 738s HP acquires from TZ from them? I seem to recall reading in other threads that Airbus has a track record of buying and releasing airlines' Boeing products in order to move their own merchandise.
I guess my point is that a fleet of 738s are an asset with a dollar value and that they wouldn't necessarily need to fit into HP 's operations.
P.S. Here's hoping TZ sticks around. Love the cheap fares from MSP and the MDW layovers.
MSP - where the DC 9s and DC 10s make their last stand
Scottb From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6358 posts, RR: 34 Reply 21, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6275 times:
The problem I see with ATA selling operations at MDW is the 800-lb gorilla sitting over in Concourse B. Even with very reasonable operating costs (Q2 ASM costs were at about 7.5 cents/mile), the company's yields are weak, below 9 cents in scheduled operations. By comparison, AirTran's yields are around 12.2 cents and Southwest's are around 11.5 cents, though both have considerably shorter average stage lengths. Competition with WN (and less so, AA/UA at ORD) depresses ATA's yields in Chicago -- and any other airline taking over their MDW operation would face the same problem.
The potential buyers are few. In my opinion, Mesa would be biting off far more than it could chew by going into MDW, and Mesa itself faced significant liquidity concerns in the past year, not to mention difficulty in lining up RJ financing. Not to mention that a possible liquidation of US Airways would leave dozens of its RJ's without a home, and starting a low-cost operation at MDW would not be viewed favorably by UAL. I don't see this as being a smart move by Mesa.
AirTran is another story. They have shown that they are willing to tolerate limited competition with WN at BWI, and their potential MDW markets are largely complementary to WN's (and similar to ATA's). They could use 717's to reduce seats and raise yields at MDW, while moving the 738's to denser routes like ATL-Florida, LGA, BOS, DCA, LAX, LAS, etc. And yet, FL's history at MDW is spotty at best. Of all the routes they have tried from MDW, only MDW-ATL has succeeded. Who knows, maybe this attempt would work, but it would be a costly gamble considering that this sort of purchase would eat up much of AirTran's cash reserves. And it's pretty clear that ATA needs cash to meet its upcoming obligations.
As to potential suitors not mentioned in the Financial Times, Frontier needs to get its existing operation profitable before shelling out a bunch of cash to start another hub. They posted an operating loss of $5 million or so before special items in one of the strongest quarters of the year and it's clear that UAL intends to use Ted to pressure Frontier further. Now, jetBlue makes for an interesting situation. It's been clear that B6 wanted to go into ORD, but gate availability was a problem. With increased congestion at ORD, it looks increasingly less likely that jetBlue could obtain authorization to operate more than a handful of flights to and from ORD. This also seems unlikely to change before ORD's runways are reconfigured. So it seems that MDW may be B6's only opportunity to serve the Chicago area with more than a handful of flights, but it would certainly lead to the inevitable showdown with WN.
Fsuwxman From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 439 posts, RR: 3 Reply 22, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6264 times:
I had my first trip on ATA this weekend, went FLL-MDW, and I was very impressed by the coutesy and professionalism of all the employees I ran into. Hopefully they can stick around, I even paid a bit more for my ticket to be able to try them out...
Good luck to all the employees during this time...
Quickmover From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2464 posts, RR: 0 Reply 23, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6220 times:
"They could use 717's to reduce seats and raise yields at MDW, while moving the 738's to denser routes like ATL-Florida, LGA, BOS, DCA, LAX, LAS, etc. "
That would be the best idea. FL needs the 737s in ATL for the longer hauls. The 717s would be perfect for MDW and could reach most destinations that FL serves from their (with the exception of the west coast and LAS. They could basically swap a few jets from hub to hub and be a lot more efficient. I doubt FL would keep all of the old ATA destinations as it would mean adding several new stations and they could make a lot more money just connecting existing dots. Finding pilots and crews to do this would be the biggest problem. ATA crews would be available, but I hate to think about the Union nightmare that may result in establishing seniority etc.. As far as cash goes, FL has close to $400 mil. but Boeing would probably carry the note on the aircraft, so not an enormous cash drain depending on what they would want for gates.
EA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 12559 posts, RR: 64 Reply 24, posted (8 years 9 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 6193 times:
EA CO AS,
Any timetable on when the next AS destination is announced?
Not sure at this point. We were literally days away from signing the papers to announce SEA-ATL service when we changed course and took on SEA-MCO instead...so ATL is definitely on the company's radar, but we need more lift before we can start adding more flights to the mix - we're stretched pretty thin as far as aircraft are concerned.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
25 Deltaffindfw: I would like to see FL step in and start DFW-MDW. Helps the new focus at DFW and might steal some O&D from DFW-ORD. The other question is about IND -
26 Swaluvfa: You are about to see AirTran make a HUGE move, but a VERY smart one.
27 Quickmover: "You are about to see AirTran make a HUGE move, but a VERY smart one." Have you heard something or is this a guess? IMO-- I THINK you are right.
28 Airfrnt: I am not sure that even FL is going to step up on this one. There are a lot of good reasons why FL would step up, but one really big reason for them t
29 NWAFA: Does any one know what kind of engines ATA's 757-300's have? Are they RR or P&W?
30 Vortex: Whatever deal ATA makes, the purchasing party would have to agree to accept the pilots and intergrate them into the seniority list. This is guaranteed
31 Jran225: In response to NWAFA's question, all of ATA's 757-300s have RR RB211-535E4-C engines. Regards, -Omar S.
32 Byrdluvs747: Apparently, 14 gates at MDW are to be sold off. http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=13645 Does any one know what kind of engines ATA's 757-3
33 Jran225: Hey guys, as I am a huge Tristar fan, I would love to know when ATA is going to retire the last of their L1011s. Any and all info is very much appreci
34 EA CO AS: Whatever deal ATA makes, the purchasing party would have to agree to accept the pilots and intergrate them into the seniority list. This is guaranteed
35 DCA-ROCguy: Hmmm....If ATA is liquidated or ceases scheduled service, I think events would unfold closest to Scottb's assessment. Two factors seem most important:
36 Airtran737: I dont think that this deal has just HP written on it. Put new engines on the 757-300 and unload them on NW. FL and AS will pick up the 737's and the
37 Ordinduaflyer: Released about an hour ago (15:57 EST) from IBJ Daily (Indianapolis Business journal) re the selling of the 14 gates at MDW. http://trinity.ibj.com/ne
38 Byrdluvs747: Put new engines on the 757-300 and unload them on NW....HP can take the 757-200's Why would anyone go through the added cost of installing new engine
39 DAYFL: What will happen to Chicago Express's flights operating for ATA as ATA Connection?
40 Access-Air: Well, what NONE of you suggested was that ATA needs to return a chunk of those HIGH COST 737-800s and bring back their OWNED fleet of 727-200s!!!!! Su
41 Leelaw: You can't sell what you don't own. See my earlier post #10. There's an interesting comment from the spokesman of City of Chicago Department of Aviatio
42 Srbmod: FL will not take on anything bigger than the 738; in the past, there have been rumors that the company (or someone connected with the company) owned s
43 Flymia: ATA is one of my favourite airlines hope everything goes good for them.
44 Flyinryan99: Thank you Access-Air....Nothing from the company has been published except it's looking at all of our options...Everything is pure speculation...just
45 Vortex: EA CO AS I don't think ATA will file Chapter 11 just to sell assets without any stings. The whole point of selling assets is to keep the company afloa
46 PSU.DTW.SCE: C8 would likely be consolidated at IND. Selling a bunch of high-time Saab's will get you pennies on the dollar. There are so many 2nd hand Saabs on th
47 Fly_ata: Employees of ATA just rececived an email from George that states we are not abandoning MDW.
48 N1120a: Considering that they fly more flights to MDW than IND, I would think they would stay. Honestly, they have generally been profitable, just not enough
49 ZID: Well, it looks like Mr. Mikelsons should have merged with AirTran a few years ago when he had the chance, and when AirTran's market value wasn't thirt
50 Vanguard737: ACCESS AIR: THANK YOU so much! You have saved me alot of typing, I literally wanted to reach through the screen and strangle the insensitive jerks who
51 ORDflyer: I'll definitely agree with vanguard737 here, As a fellow employee (although currently away for school) all this recent news about abandoning MDW came
52 PIA777: I hope ATA recovers because I would hate to see them leave MDW, they have the coolest looking 737s and they have a huge operation out of Chicago and I
53 ATAflyer: AMEN to both Access Air and Vanguard737. We have some of the most dedicated employees in the airline business and shouldn't be counted out just yet. W
54 AirTran737: Business is business. If you cant stand the heat get your @ss outta the kitchen. Those blended winglets will look sweet in the FL livery.
55 SHUPirate1: http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/1713403/ Check out reply 4: Just one moron's opinion (I'm referring to myself here, mo
56 Aa757first: Well, what NONE of you suggested was that ATA needs to return a chunk of those HIGH COST 737-800s and bring back their OWNED fleet of 727-200s!!!!! T
57 Vanguard737: AirTran737 Get a life and grow up. Thats all I have to say, ATA employee
58 Leelaw: In the case of TZ's scheduled operation, it would seem the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts. IMO, TZ's scheduled operation centered at MD
59 BNE: What Will Happen To ATA?....... 2 scenarios. a They dump all their 737s and leave MDW altogether as a scheduled airline. b They scale back some of the