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Btriple7
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Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:03 pm

What airlines would you say were the "smartest of the decade"? In other words, what airlines do you think made a series of very smart (or very lucky) decisions over the last ten years that dramatically altered the company and why? I would argue that the smartest airlines recently are not necessarily the most profitable ones. For example, you could say that the FR business model was already in place by 2000 that over the last ten years, FR has never had to make more than a marginal decision.

My nomination: AF/KL. I think the decision to merge was not immediately apparent, but the merger has certainly benefited both airlines in the long run.

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Bt7
Just...fly.
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:07 pm

AS gets my vote.

Excellent business decisions. Smart expansion. Good decisions to ensure their long-term independence, such as partnerships with airlines from several alliances like AA and DL.

I may not always personally prefer every business decision they make such as dropping SJC-AUS; adopting a first-bag fee, retiring the QX brand or dropping cities such as RDD, ACV, FLG, LMT, etc but they sure as heck are a well run airline.
 
TeamintheSky
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:08 pm

I nominate EK. What they have done in 10 years is amazing. And I think where they will be in 10 years (with a cargo arm as well as a passenger company) will be equally amazing.
Since 2010: DL, KL, AF, WX, IG, FR , FL, U2, AK, BA, OK, UX, VS, VN, K6, AT, US, AY, BE, EI, LG, AZ, 9W, SG, AA, JL, W6
 
Jonathanxxxx
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:12 pm

I would say B6. They've grown from a small norhteastern airline to the "Alaska of the East" in around 10 years. Not to mention opening up 6 focus cities that they have stated being very profitable (JFK, BOS, SJU, FLL, LGB & MCO). They have also been able to turn up profits most quarters (emphasis on most) and they have a leading IFE and customer service (from my experiences). They definetely get my vote! 
 
deltamartin
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:14 pm

It might not be a series of smart moves, but i think AY has connected Europe to Asia very well, with a great pace of their expansion.
They have found a market that suites them well, mainly due to their geographical location.
 
coopdogyo
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:21 pm

I would vote for AS. Bill Ayers has really turned the company around making it an airline that is profitable when no others are.
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:24 pm

Quoting coopdogyo (Reply 5):
I would vote for AS.

Not only that but I'm told by AS employees that they actually really like and respect most or all of their leadership. We know that's not always the case with airlines, or large companies in general. As you point out. Ayers and those guys are doing something right.
 
joffie
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:32 pm

Down here I think what Virgin Blue - Virgin Australia has done is pretty good. I believe they started up with $10M and some old 734's from Virgin Express.

A decade on, we now got Pacific Blue, and V Australia.
 
something
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:33 pm

It's hard pick one definite winner.

EK: Not so much for their success only, but for the courageous decisions. Buying widebodies as if they were LCC narrowbodies.

LH: They've weathered many crises unscathed, expanded, made money and despite the unfavorable business environment they are in, they've managed to stay on par or on top of the competition.

Biggest loser: JAL. Amazing country, airline with great potential. And such a lousy management to mess things up behind it.
..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
 
comorin
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:57 pm

My vote goes to the national carrier of India - EK. Awesome accomplishment, good job fellas...
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:04 am

Quoting something (Reply 8):
Biggest loser: JAL. Amazing country, airline with great potential. And such a lousy management to mess things up behind it.



I'd put AA in that category too.
 
EL-AL
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Thu Jun 09, 2011 12:38 am

Smartest airline: Royal Jordanian. Under new management, RJ changed from small airline from a remote small desert country to one of the major airlines in the middle east, taking active part in the transition of Jordan to a major tourist destination. They handle thier fleet wisly and expand in a smart way - operating only successful routes and not afraid to close unprofitable routes.

Stupidest airline: El Al. After it's 2004 privatization, El Al failed to adjest itself to the new reality. LY still fly 5.5 days a week, something unthinkable nowdays, they hardly buy any new airplanes and favor leasing 10+ years old airplanes, something not worthy for it's passengers, they fail to offer good prices therefore losing more and more passengers in favor of other airlines like RJ, BA, LH, US & IB and failed to create the alliance they planned.
every day is a good day to fly
 
Gemuser
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:23 am

QF group for establishing JQ on the bones of Impulse AND making it work! Majority of Group profit now comes from JQ.

Gemuser
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tommy767
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:36 pm

I don't see why AS gets so much credit. They've expanded out of one major hub, SEA and the onboard product isn't all that impressive -- neither is their first class product (regionally it's fine but domestically it falls short behind most others.) I have to say, for all the trip reports I've read AS doesn't seem amazing.

My vote goes for B6, and I'll give a round of applause for Delta and United for getting their act together post BK.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
GBLKD
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:53 pm

I'll stick in a probrably controversial vote for FR

They've grown incredibly and have one of the youngest fleets in Europe. They don't even have to advertise, Mr O'Leary might be a complete barking mad hatstand in the eyes of some but his often strange statements to the press keep the brand in people's minds. Thing is no matter how many rediculous things the guy says from making people stand up on flights, charging for the toilets, or talking about single pilot ops it's not putting people off buying a Ryanair ticket. On here we all reguarly knock the airline and it's boss but they sure are doing something right.

Sure they have their critics but they make a large profit year after year and for every disgruntled customer they have lots who are to quote Homer Simpson "relatively gruntled"
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:53 pm

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 13):
I don't see why AS gets so much credit. They've expanded out of one major hub, SEA and the onboard product isn't all that impressive -- neither is their first class product (regionally it's fine but domestically it falls short behind most others.) I have to say, for all the trip reports I've read AS doesn't seem amazing.

Let's see, AS is profitable and they were just rated the top traditional carrier in North American by a very reputable travel pool.

I disagree that their onboard product and First Class is not good. I've been treated great everytime I've been upgraded. The beer certainly doesn't stop flowing.   QX is an excellent regional product, arguably one of the best regional airlines in the world.
 
tommy767
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:38 pm

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 15):
I disagree that their onboard product and First Class is not good. I've been treated great everytime I've been upgraded. The beer certainly doesn't stop flowing. QX is an excellent regional product, arguably one of the best regional airlines in the world.

Having Alaskian Amber on board is a plus, but I'm referring to catering here. Any airline can get you wasted up front  
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
LAXintl
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:14 am

Global scale I'd say Emirates, and as second Turkish Airlines.

Domestically, JetBlue and Southwest. JetBlue born on the steps of 9/11 but yet has survived all the turmoil and thrived with its fresh approach since, while Southwest has continued its upward trajectory delivering profitability and becoming America's largest domestic airline.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
RyanairGuru
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:29 am

1) Air New Zealand

Probably the most over-looked of the traditional western "legacy" carriers. In 2000 and 2001 they were a MESS. Had it not been for the New Zealand Government deciding that air services were essential for a geographically divided and isolated nation which is economically dependent on exports and who therefore nationalised them, then they would have gone the same way as Ansett. After that initial cash injection NZ received no further public funds but underwent a major restructuring which saw them relaunch their domestic operations effectively as an LCC and then fundamentally upgrading their long-haul product a year later. In effect they adopted two models: a rudimentary one for domestic (AKL-CHC is little more than 1h30) and a superb one for long-haul. They also successfully managed to reduce their labour costs without the major acrimony or disruption experienced by many other airlines, and their crew are generally very highly motivated and (by any account) even after job cuts, pay cuts and many other cuts relations between crew and management are much better than at many other airlines. Indeed, comparing industrial relations between NZ and QF is nothing less than embarrassing. Going forward they are being innovative introducing some bizarre concepts such as the sky couch and their new Y+ looks substantially better than any other comparable product in the world. From worst to first in 10 years.....

2) Emirates

I ardently believe that the airline is not subsidised, but without starting that debate no one can deny that what they have done is inspiring. Let's presume that they are: Gulf Air, Saudi Arabian Airlines and many others are flying proof that oil money without a fantastic management team is meaningless. Tim Clarke et al deserve to be bowed down to!
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
tommy767
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:14 pm

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 15):

Let's see, AS is profitable and they were just rated the top traditional carrier in North American by a very reputable travel pool.

Also no IFE on their transcon flights? I think this is where B6 wins out. Better Y cabin offerings.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
goblin211
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RE: Smartest Airline Of The Decade

Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:12 pm

I think DL. They've integrated their fleet in just two years, including NWA's. The are the only airline that has had 0 problems with any other airline, airport, country, etc. Not to mention beautifully expanding throughout the country and internationally, and only cutting back a few flights.
EK was denied entry into Canada and Germany and threw in the towel.
AS, maybe by expanding to ATL but just b/c of expansion to places mean it'll pay off. I'm sure they'll wind up pulling flights down the road.
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