Some points/highlights from the conference call:
* Took delivery of 3 737s and 1 717 in the third quarter.
* Hurricanes cost $8 million in cancellations alone.
* The 717s are out-of-warranty now. There is a power-by-the-hour deal in place for the engines, though.
* Incoming 737s are obviously under warranty as they arrive.
* Cash balance of $347 million at the end of the third quarter.
* Fourth quarter deliveries include 2 717s and 3 737s.
* The contract with Ryan Intl. ends in November.
* They've been advised that there would be no problem raising the money for the ATA deal "from several markets" rather than using their own cash, if they so choose.
* As I indicated earlier, a surprising part of the ATA deal includes the right to build a 10-gate RJ
facility at MDW
. When asked about this, management indicated that they just want the flexibility to have RJs if they deem them useful.
* Wet-lease with ATA will include "15-27" 737-800s. They'll gradually be replaced with FL
700s. The wet-lease will be in place for 6 months to 1 year, though they hope it doesn't last a full year.
* A goal by the end of 2005 is to have ATL
capacity down to 55%.
* They're expecting "rationalization" and "restructuring" of capacity (all airlines) on the East Coast.
* Specific mention was made about Southwest, US Airways, and Independence Air.
* They believe that a move into MDW
will actually help
Southwest. Using smaller aircraft will likely improve everyone's yields at MDW
* Competition from Independence Air has cost AirTran approximately $5 million in the last quarter. Operating the RJ
with their low fares is "one of the silliest things I've seen", according to Bob Fornaro (it sounded like him, if someone knows it was someone else, feel free to correct me).
* As for DFW
- "A big push into Dallas is not in the cards." Dallas "goes on the back burner" because MDW
is "easier and better".