futureualpilot
Posts: 2404
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Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 11:12 am

If you can't tell by my username, I am a hard-charging United supporter, and I love that company.

Im asking, do you think they will be able to pull out of bankruptcy and get back on their feet, as Continental did years ago, or will they be another giant that will end up being run out of business, like PanAm?


Clear skies,
Long live United Airlines
futureualpilot
Life is better when you surf.
 
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STT757
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 11:21 am

I think it the worst is behind them, however they need to get through this Winter when airtravel usually drops and get to Summer '04.

If they survive to the peak Summer travel season of '04 they should be fine, they need to get through this Winter!
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
bigphilnyc
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 11:39 am

I dont see them recovering. I think on the of the big US airlines will HAVE TO drop before the north american airline indsutry can truly recover. And that airline that drops will probably be United.

To be honest, it's either between AA or UA, and I like AA too much, so I hope United drops.

Sorry to deliver that news to you.
Phil Derner Jr.
 
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STT757
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 11:51 am

" I think on the of the big US airlines will HAVE TO drop before the north american airline indsutry can truly recover"

Actually it's not the number of airlines that is the problem , the problem is they are flying too many seats.

If AA goes ahead (as many here know) with closing their STL hub, and U goes ahead (as many here assume) with closing their PIT hub that would be better for the industry than one of the majors going under.

Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
WMUPilot
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 11:56 am

Doesn't ths topic come up about every week?
JetBlue - Bringing humanity back to air travel
 
bigphilnyc
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 12:07 pm

Doesnt someone whine about repeated topics everyDAY?  Big grin
Phil Derner Jr.
 
tekelberry
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Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 6:37 am

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 12:19 pm

Yes, our government will spoon-feed the majors the money they need to survive. It's the smaller airlines that I'm worried about (YX mainly).
 
N777UA
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 12:37 pm

The reality is, United has done a fantastic job so far in making its way through Chapter 11. They have met all the targets so far, and are on their way to meet the future ones.

If you are doubtful about United surviving...remember...if their situation was still as bad as it was 6 months ago...they would be worrying about making the next bank loan targets...instead of wrapping up talks on exit financing and forecasting an early exit of Chapter 11; as they are doing currently.

//// U N I T E D stands.
 
StevenUhl777
Posts: 3281
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 1:00 pm

...And then some! United is on its way back, and as N777UA pointed out, they are well ahead of their targets and are well positioned for an earlier pushback from "gate 11" than expected, with nearby "gate 7" permanently dismantled.

United needs to continue doing what it's doing: analyze routes, fleets, costs, and customer input to identify ways to maintain their climb. For last year, they were #1 ontime, and have broken many previous performance records re: load factor, on time arrivals, etc. The big challenge is to keep employees motivated and find some way to boost morale.

Couple more things going United's way: SARS is gone and flights to Asia are being added back and/or upgraded. Their cash reserve is growing. The war is largely over, and barring another major 9/11-type event, more people are returning to the skies.

Look for United to probably dump more of their 744's, and gradually go to a twin-engine int'l. fleet. I think that Lufthansa or another foreign airline will want a big stake in them to keep the Star Alliance going, and as long as they maintain their int'l. route structure, which is far superior to what AA or any other US airline has, they're set. They may need to close a hub, and I would recommend they make a bold move and team up with a major LCC to solidify their customer base. Alaska makes the most sense, given their West coast network.



And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!
 
syncmaster
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 2:13 pm

UAL has made leaps and bounds since filing for Chapter 11, I think they will be one of the strongest airlines around for many years to come. All AA needs to do is stop screwing over there employee's and customers and they should be ok.
 
UnitedFirst
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 3:00 pm

To be honest, it's either between AA or UA, and I like AA too much, so I hope United drops.

Sorry to deliver that news to you


What, that you hope United drops? Quite frankly, there is 0 correlation between your appreciation (or lack there of) for United Airlines and its ability to succeed in the future.

-Derek
 
Wang767
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 3:10 pm

Personally I love UAL very much. Services are always pretty good. (especially on trans pacific routes) As long as United flies to China everyday, I will support it!! (MORE airlines means More Choices)
UA 858 Heavy from PVG
 
AA717driver
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 3:13 pm

StevenUhl777--You were sounding good until the comment about dropping the 747's. As we speak, the training center in DEN is cranking up for more 744 classes because...anyone? They beat the lessors down and now...anyone? The 744's are less expensive to operate than the 777's.

As usual, in the airline business, nothing is as it seems.

Also, TWA led the industry(even SWA) in operational performance(other than our miserable bag handling stats--thanks, IAM!) right up to the end. There is a huge disconnect between the performance of those in the "trenches" and the "leaders" in the boardroom.

If UAL is rushing to exit Ch. 11, watch out. Not dooming and glooming, but suggesting the UAL 'grunts' be as wary of good news as you are of the bad news.TC

P.S.--I really do hope UA makes it--I don't want my buddy trying to move into my basement if they tank and he is out of work! Big grin
FL450, M.85
 
tekelberry
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 3:58 pm

All AA needs to do is stop screwing over there employee's and customers and they should be ok.

1. AA isn't purposely "screwing over their employees". They are doing it to stay profitable.

2. How is AA screwing over their customers?
 
tekelberry
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 4:02 pm

gradually go to a twin-engine int'l. fleet

LAX/SFO-SYD is only possible on the 777-200ER (in UAs fleet besides the 744), and that is still calling it pretty short. The 777-300ER won't even be able to do it.

[Edited 2003-07-11 09:04:45]
 
united747
Posts: 99
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 4:22 pm

Let's think for a moment on what would happen to the US economy and the travel plans of hundreds of millions of people if United just ceased to exist one day. The economy would probably collapse and the infrastructure of all air travel as we know it, especially domestic, would slowly crumble to a compact pile of dust no larger than the size of a japanese sedan. Many people have no idea how much impact just one major airline has on the world. Therefore, I believe the US government would go to great lengths to keep anything like that from happening. This is only how I feel, and I'm open to other's comments, just don't blast me for my opinion.

Best Regards,
Adam Beauchamp
 
Superfly
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 5:55 pm

How can any aviation buff hope for an airline company to fall?
If United fails, that means thousands more people out of jobs, thus effecting there local economy. I am no fan of Continental but I would hate to see them go if they were in trouble.
I hope the best for United and best of luck to you Futureualpilot.
Bring back the Concorde
 
L-188
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 6:02 pm

Actually Superfly I tend to fell that way about any company that Neil Berght runs.

He is kind of the "Frank Lorenzo" of Alaska.

[Edited 2003-07-11 11:02:31]
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
L.1011
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 10:40 pm

Tekelberry,
In reguards to AA, what do you mean to STAY profitable?
 
UnitedFirst
Posts: 451
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Fri Jul 11, 2003 11:42 pm

The economy would probably collapse

Well I think that's a bit extreme. While there's no doubt it would have some disastrous effects in certain local economies – and, as you said, the air travel infrastructure, I doubt the collapse of United Airlines would cause a breakdown of the world economy.

Therefore, I believe the US government would go to great lengths to keep anything like that from happening.

While I certainly hope for this to be true (especially for United), you'd see our *Texan* president giving money to airlines like AA and Continental before United would see a penny...

-Derek
 
StevenUhl777
Posts: 3281
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:12 am

UnitedFirst: Bush would have a huge problem not giving money to United: Reps. Henry Hyde and Speaker Dennis Hastert both represent Northern Illinois, same district where UAL is HQ'd. As long as those two are in office, United stays.

AA717Driver: Didn't know that about the 744 classes...that's great news, I'm glad to hear it, as the 744's have made oodles of cash for UAL. United played hardball with lessors, glad they won out! I based my comment on the fact they were selling 744's to Thai and parking a bunch more in the desert. I stand corrected...thanks for pointing that out. Interestingly enough, there's an article on this website about Qantas being in deep doo-doo, which I found interesting. If QF goes on strike, United is going to see their traffic on LAX/SFO-SYD double, at least.

Whoever made the comment about the economy collapsing if UAL vanishes like a fart in the wind is right on the money...UAL's hub/route structure is far superior to any other US airline, and there'd be a mad dash to try to replace it overnight.

//// UNITED...RISING again! Looking forward to my flights to and from Boston with them next month.
And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!
 
plugger
Posts: 70
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:13 am

I think UA will survive and gradually improve their product in time. I do not think a major has to drop-out in order for the industry to be healthier. The business traveller is still out there, waiting for the economy to turn around a bit before returning to the air. All the first class flights I've been on have been full lately on various carriers so I do still see a demand for high-price seats. Not everyone in FC is an upgrade. I think the major airlines need to stop trying to imitate the LCCs and concentrate on their premium products as do the Asian carriers, who, I might add, have ALL survived the SARS epidemic and are recovering nicely, gov't subsidies notwithstanding because our carriers have gotten subsidies too.

U.S. carriers seem to have forgotten that they have to butter the bread, the bread being the flying public, the butter being quality, courteous and civil customer service both in the air and on the ground. I think UA may be discovering this given the improved quality of their product in my recent experiences with them.

As for majors dropping out; I don't see that the losses of TWA, Pan Am, Eastern and Braniff International have improved the airline system one bit.
In fact all of those bankruptcies resulted in the clogged and bloated hub and spoke system we have to deal with today. They were just poorly run (in EA, TW and PA's case) or over-powered (BN by AA) and didn't stand a chance in the cut-throat era of a newly deregulated environment. This is a huge country and we like diversity in our flying choices, at least I do. Who wants an Aerofløt named American or Southwest?

[Edited 2003-07-11 17:14:54]
 
deltairlines
Posts: 6878
Joined: Mon May 24, 1999 4:47 am

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:27 am

The picture will become a lot clearer come a year from right now. As of today, we can't say with any complete affirmation that any of the Cartel Six will be making it out. They are all still losing money (I know U made a profit last quarter, but if you take out those loans, they still lost money) and all the airlines can still improve their ship a good deal. I too, think that one of the major problems in the United States market is overcapacity. I don't really see much in the way of reducing that problem, besides AA cutting its STL hub down. U can't really do much; they are obligated to keep their mainline fleet at 279 aircraft. They can't just take their PIT hub down and stick all those 737s in the desert, they would be forced to move them to PHL and CLT. That is part of the reason that there has been speculation that if STL becomes available, U would be immediately ferrying those PIT planes over to STL. DL has already been reducing the fat, the DFW hub is basically an RJ operation now. CO has also been making CLE an RJ hub for quite a while now. I think that it might not be a bad thing that if we did lose one of the major airlines if it would help out the other ones. I think one major problem on these boards is that we tend to put our emotions first, hence we want every airline to serve every city. A lot of us forget that this industry is a cut-throat business, probably one of the most cut-throat industries out there. If one airline must die to save the others, I would rather have that happen than all the airlines die because of overcapacity.

Jeff
 
Greg
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:49 am

I think there are two misconceptions floating around this thread:
1. That UAL is in good financial condition.
2. That having UAL go out of business will somehow have a devastating effect on the economy.

UAL is still very much struggling to meet its obligations. Of course it has more cash--most, if not all payments to vendors have been frozen...or reduced while reorganizing. They still have not addressed any fleet, route, or permanent staffing plans that the court has asked for--repeatedly.
Their equity and capitalization suck (sorry, no better word for that one). There stock can't even be listed as investment grade junk.

If the 80,000 folks at UAL lose their jobs, the jobless rate in this country won't even rise one percent. As cruel as it sounds, it will be an almost unnoticed ripple with the likely exception of maybe the Chicago area. So, please, nobody think that UAL will be bailed out because employees will go jobless---it ain't gonna happen.

Before I get flamed...UAL is, and has been, my carrier of choice for many years across the Pacific (Houston to Singapore). I choose them regularly over SQ and CX mostly because of their biz class product and their great attendants (in this case, maturity counts for everything!). I certainly hope they pull out of this OK...but I think deeper cuts will be necessary before any real light can be seen....
Brgds.
 
UALPHLCS
Posts: 3233
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RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 1:20 am

Now allow me to clear up some misconceptions:

1) Noone has ever insinuated that UA is in great financial condition.

In fact in UALPHLCS's perfect world UA's mechanics would have voted "yes" adn UA would not be in Chapter 11. We would be in AA"s situation. They are not much better that UA financially but at least are not carrieing around the ridiculous stigma of Chapter 11. On the other hand UA has had no problem in meeting the goals set for it by the DIP financiers, adn have moved UP the timetable for Chapter 11 emergence. No matter which side you fall on those two things show UA is heading toward recovery not Chapter 7. UA is still in a boat load of trouble but these problems are getting solved and the movement is in the right direction.

2) UAL's failure would not cause too much of a dent in the nations unempoyement numbers. That is a fact. However, UA comprises nearly a quarter of the nations air capacity. That sudden loss of infrastructure WILL cause a major problem nation wide. Think of all the contractors and That a huge company has to do buisness with the ripple efect from employees and other buisnesses should not be disounted and trivial. Also the air transportation system would be thrown into chaos. Imagine if almost 25% of the nations highways where suddenly unuseable. While this is no argument for the government to prop up UAL, I think that with the new buisness plan the ATSB will give UA the loan gaurantee's it needs to exit Chapter 11 this coming Fall.
A little less Hooah, and a little more Dooah.
 
klwright69
Posts: 2441
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2000 4:22 am

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 1:25 am

I know this will burst some bubbles here but.....

With all the trouble the airlines are in, I haven't heard any realistic discussion about bailouts. But some in this forum would count on it if things get really bad.

I doubt that Dennis Hastert or Henry Hyde have the power to ante up BILLIONS to save UAL. It's equally unbelievable that GW Bush will find BILLIONS to save AA or CO as some claim he would do if it ever came to that. Where would the money come from?

Can you imagine the political and economic implications if one of them actually did that? (and I have NO idea how one of them would) Imagine the precedent. It would be a political feeding frenzy! Yes, it would save jobs of working people, but then every politician will then believe their pet company is "important" and will be entitled to a bail out when it is in trouble. Every troubled company will pull strings to get taxpayer dollars to secure a bailout. Then imagine the fallout if the companies that are bailed out get in more financial trouble several years from now.

Realistically now, what exact steps would these politicians do to "save" these companies? A break here or an incentive there won't be enough for a complete financial rescue. I know some people in this forum swear that certain politicians "won't let an airline go under" (without ever saying how that will be accomplished!). But I find it hard to believe the taxpaying public will stand for a tax increase, run up deficits, or cut government services to get the necessary funds to "save" a company that may be perceived as ineffiecient. It's not realistic. If politicians determine the markets winners and loosers, we might as well go the socialism route.

I live in Denver, and I am amused by letters to the editor in the local paper where people have complained that the city of Denver isn't doing enough to "save" United Airlines. I think these writers have no concept about the amount of money Denver would need to do that.

I also remember people saying that Pan Am and Eastern are too important and that the government will not let them fail.

The reality is we live in a market economy. Companies that can't compete will fail. The cold reality is airline X or airline Y are not ordained by god to stay in business. Likewise airline Q or airline Z can serve markets served by airline X and airline Y and do so easily.....
 
ConcordeBoy
Posts: 16852
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2001 8:04 am

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 1:45 am

LAX/SFO-SYD is only possible on the 777-200ER (in UAs fleet besides the 744), and that is still calling it pretty short. The 777-300ER won't even be able to do it.

Wrong!

The basic great circle distance between LAX and SYD is 7488mi (the still air isnt that much worse) and the 773ER has a range of 8539mi... which by the way is longer than that of the 744s which UA currently have on the route.



[Edited 2003-07-11 18:47:13]
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
 
MarcoPolo747
Posts: 446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 7:37 am

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:08 am




Does anyone know exactly what are UA's plans to emerge from chapter 11 and target dates for the actions ?
 
artsyman
Posts: 4516
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2001 12:35 pm

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 2:23 am

It's a tough topic to discuss what surviving will mean. A have noticed a lot of you mentioning that they have met all the DIP covenants thus far and therefore will be fine, but it is important to note that the covenants thus far have been extremely lenient ones to acheive. United are still losing $5 million dollars per day (when you factor in the proper running of the airline). I would like to know what they plan to do to get that to a positive figure before I would suggest that they are going to be ok. This is not a slight on them, but a realistic observation. I am not suggesting that they don't have a plan for this either, but they have yet to make a declaration of a plan.

My feeling is that United were hoping that cuts would take up most of the slack, and then they would hope that some sort of an economic recovery would fix the rest.

There are a few financial analysts on this board that work as consultants for airlines, and they tend to feel that United are in trouble, but nowdays stay out of the discussions as they get mauled by other posters whenever they comment

Jeremy
 
tekelberry
Posts: 1309
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 6:37 am

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 3:10 am

Wrong!

The basic great circle distance between LAX and SYD is 7488mi (the still air isnt that much worse) and the 773ER has a range of 8539mi... which by the way is longer than that of the 744s which UA currently have on the route.


Take a look at http://www.boeing.com/commercial/777family/777technical.html, click "RANGE", click "LOS ANGELES". It's hard to tell whether the 773ER would make it to SYD. There are other things to factor in than just distance (i.e. winds, weight, go-arounds, diversions, holding paterns, etc.).
 
ScottB
Posts: 5508
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 3:22 am

All the predictions of national doom and disaster in the event of a hypothetical shut-down and liquidation of United Airlines are a tad melodramatic, to say the least. One fact: United's 80,000 employees represent less than 0.1% of the national workforce; far larger numbers of layoffs in the tech sector have not plunged the national economy into a deep depression. Another fact: United does not represent 25% of national air transportation capacity; the figure is below 15% of domestic ASM's. They are the third largest carrier in domestic ASM's, and taken together, WN, B6, and FL operate more domestic ASM's than United.

If United were to shut down, Southwest and Alaska (and less so America West) would be the clear beneficiaries at LAX and SFO. It's easy to imagine WN returning to SFO and operating a bunch of shorthauls (comparable in scope to OAK) if the congestion caused by United's hub and SFO's weather were reduced. Either AA, CO, or DL would likely take the Asian routes and the 777's. At DEN, Frontier would have its hands full trying to accomodate all of United's traffic, as would the other carriers, but it has been widely speculated here that CO would take some of its planes out of the desert and out of CLE (and possibly take some of UA's 737-300/500 fleet) to begin hub operations at DEN again. At ORD, AA would be the clear winner; they'd be able to move capacity from STL and take some of United's 757's and 767's (if necessary) in order to handle the additional traffic. IAD is a big question mark, given that it is more of an international gateway coupled with 20 or so trans-cons and a good-sized RJ/prop hub. I'm not sure the network majors would touch IAD, but that airport could potentially offer a great opportunity for B6 to expand. LHR routes would obviously go to either DL, NW, or CO.

While there would be significant short-term disruption, and while ticket prices would likely go up short term, in the long term, other surviving airlines would step up to the plate to take advantage of market opportunities made available by United's failure. The world did not end when Eastern, Pan Am, and Midway I all failed within a few years of each other. It would be sad to lose a storied name in aviation, and it would undoubtedly be devastating to many of United's employees (though at least some would find employment at the surviving carriers). It's also clear this would be a serious blow to Star Alliance and US Airways, unless they (US) were able to purchase (with the help of someone providing financing) one of United's hub operations at DEN or ORD.
 
jmc1975
Posts: 2903
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2000 10:57 am

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 6:40 am

Stay tuned. We should be hearing in just a few days how many more hundreds of millions of dollars they will be hemmoraging.
.......
 
UPSfueler
Posts: 425
Joined: Sun May 25, 2003 9:40 am

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 8:59 am

I hope they survive because my job depends on it.

UALramp/UPSfueler
 
UA744Flagship
Posts: 1433
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 1999 1:55 pm

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:05 am

United does not have 80,000 employees.

These days, it is closer to 65,000, and will probably decline to around 60K.
no wire hangers!
 
ZK-NBT
Posts: 5012
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2000 5:42 pm

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:45 am

I thought the 773ER had a similar range to that of the 744? In which case I think it would struggle to make LAX/SFO-SYD being a twin. I may be wrong as i'm no expert at ranges.
 
DTWINTLFLYER
Posts: 293
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2003 11:24 pm

RE: Will United Airlines Survive?

Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:29 am

It is still too hard to say exactly what our US carriers will look like in the future...who will and who won't survive...I would think UAL will certainly remain as one of the top 4 carriers in the States, but who can say...Anything can happen to any airline........we think we will be strong and remain up in the top 2-4 range in the coming years but ????(We still have a crap load of folks on furlough - pilots FA's mechanics...) I would think the extensive code share agreements will ultimately help most of us...We do not need mergers that is for sure. What a pain those are...Air Canada/Canadian NW/Republic and the list goes on..It takes too long for mergers to go through the process and with the uneasy economic times right now, I don't think either side attempting a merger would benefit.

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