The Airline Weekly Lounge-logo

The Airline Weekly Lounge

Business & Economics Podcasts >

Every Wednesday the editors of Airline Weekly discuss a few of the week’s more interesting developments within the commercial airline industry. In keeping with Airline Weekly’s style, conversation generally centers on one question: How do you make money in this industry?

Every Wednesday the editors of Airline Weekly discuss a few of the week’s more interesting developments within the commercial airline industry. In keeping with Airline Weekly’s style, conversation generally centers on one question: How do you make money in this industry?
More Information


United States


Every Wednesday the editors of Airline Weekly discuss a few of the week’s more interesting developments within the commercial airline industry. In keeping with Airline Weekly’s style, conversation generally centers on one question: How do you make money in this industry?




Interview: United President Scott Kirby

United Airlines President Scott Kirby issued a warning to potential new-entrant low-cost-carriers, including JetBlue founder David Neeleman’s Moxie: United will match your fares. Kirby, speaking on stage at Skift Forum Asia in Singapore in June, said he’s heard of about 50 airlines over the years that were supposed to be created but Virgin America, founded in 2004, was the last startup airline in the United States that actually became a reality. The low-cost airline model is predicated...


Interview: Air Asia Deputy CEO

The latest edition of the Skift Airline Weekly Lounge contains an exclusive interview with Aireen Omar, AirAsia’s deputy CEO. There was no backtracking from AirAsia in its plan to branch out into selling other airlines on its platform, financial services, and more experiences. Asked at Skift Forum Asia in Singapore in May 2019 if becoming the Amazon of travel is overly ambitious, Aireen Omar, AirAsia’s deputy CEO, said it’s “ambitious, but I think it’s very doable.” Another AirAsia...


Interview: British Airways CEO Alex Cruz

The Skift Airline Weekly Lounge returns with an exclusive interview with British Airways CEO Alex Cruz. Since taking over as CEO and chairman of British Airways in 2016, Cruz has endured his fair share of criticism over some of the changes he made to the airline, particularly with regards to food on short-haul flights. But Cruz, speaking at Skift Forum Europe in London on April 30, 2019, said the changes were necessary in turning the carrier into a more customer-focused airline as well as...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 112: Prediction Affliction

With a new year underway, we’re thinking about what will happen in 2019—always a dicey proposition. In this episode, we consider the prospects of airlines around the world. Some, like Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines, are facing huge opportunities. Others, like Jet Airways and South African Airlines, are facing grave challenges. Will the International Airlines Group make another offer for Norwegian? Will Alitalia find a partner? Will Lion Air cancel plane orders? Will Emirates and Etihad merge?...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 111: Deal. No Deal. Deal?

After pummeling each other for years, Icelandair and Wow Air agreed to a truce in the form of a merger. But the merger fell through. Now Wow Air may be finding comfort with serial airline investor Indigo Partners. What will that mean for both airlines? Aeroflot apparently finds comfort in being big. In fact, the Russian airline is looking to nearly double its fleet size in just five years. Meanwhile, Mexico’s airline industry nervously watches as it appears more and more likely that Mexico...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 110: A Mess in Mexico

More and more people are traveling by air in Mexico, but Mexico’s airlines continue to struggle. All four of its main carriers had a disappointing 3rd quarter, which is historically peak season. VivaAerobus at least made a little money. Aeroméxico and Volaris barely broke even. And, Interjet’s numbers were simply alarming. Fortunately, oil prices have dropped so much that the outlook for airlines everywhere has changed. In the U.K., easyJet posted earnings that were strong but not nearly as...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 109: Happy at Heathrow

Of Europe’s “Big Three” airline groups, International Airlines Group (IAG) continues to significantly outperform the other two, namely Air France/KLM and Lufthansa Group. A big part of IAG’s success is simply British Airways’ coveted slot portfolio at Heathrow. But it didn’t hurt that pretty much everything else is working too. Still, Lufthansa navigated a difficult quarter operationally to deliver a respectable 14% operating profit margin. Air France/KLM, meanwhile, rode the seasonal...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 108: Is American Airlines OK?

American Airlines truly set itself apart from its peers in the third quarter—and not in a good way. AA posted a dismal 7.5% operating profit margin, nearly half of Delta’s 13.9% margin. But, with good reason, management remains optimistic. United, on the other hand, has plenty to smile about right now as it offset 100% of its rising fuel costs with rising revenues. Southwest didn’t have trouble with fuel thanks to hedges, but non-fuel costs posed a headwind. Hawaiian Airlines posted the...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 107: Amazing Race

Delta is doing a remarkable job keeping pace with rapidly rising costs. Sure, the airline’s third-quarter fuel bill rose 35% year over year. But rising revenues offset enough of those costs that Delta’s operating profit margin fell only two points. Meanwhile, what’s behind American’s recent troubles? Unfortunately, when American reports later in the month, it’s expected to be a much less happy affair. Alitalia looks like it will be restructured. Is this new direction the right direction?...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 106: Not So Sunny at Sun Country

Sun Country is largely missing out on the golden age that U.S. carriers have been basking in since 2015. In the past 12 months (ending with the second quarter, the most recent to be reported) all the U.S. carriers posted operating profit margins ranging from a healthy 9% to an excellent 16%—except for Sun Country, which delivered a distant 4% margin. Will Sun shine again? One airline enjoying the U.S. party is Frontier, which had a solid second quarter despite a 19% increase in operating...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 105: Satisfaction in Sydney

Qantas continues to romp. In the first half of 2018, the flying kangaroo posted a 9% profit margin—one point better than in the same period last year. And with that, Qantas is working on its fourth consecutive calendar year with double-digit margins. Despite more exposure to rising fuel prices, Air New Zealand still mostly kept pace. Virgin Australia, meanwhile, continues to miss out on Australasia’s booming airline sector. Scandinavia’s SAS appears to be having a great summer, which of...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 104: Better, But Not Good

Revenues and margins improved for Cathay Pacific in the first half of 2018, and the second half is usually better for Cathay. Still, will it be enough to lift the Hong Kong carrier out of its malaise? Fuel costs dented Singapore Airlines’ Q2 results, which were similarly mediocre to Cathay’s. VietJet’s soaring growth is helping it control unit costs and deliver solid profits. Also delivering solid profits was Cebu Pacific, however, those profits came amid a huge margin decline. Turkish...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 103: Canadian Conundrum

Thanks to rising costs, it’s no surprise profits have declined at Air Canada and WestJet. But rising costs alone don’t explain how these Canadian carriers continue to consistently underperform their U.S. peers by a noticeable margin. Meanwhile in Europe, carriers like Ryanair, Aer Lingus, British Airways, Lufthansa, Swiss and others are putting up numbers very much like their U.S. counterparts. Unfortunately, Air France is not one of those carriers, as that airline nearly lost money in the...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 102: U.S. Airlines Sing the Blues

So far all U.S. carriers have reported shrinking year-over-year profits in the second quarter. But nobody’s margin decline was worse than that of JetBlue, which posted a 9% operating margin, down from 19% the year before. Allegiant had the best margin of the bunch, narrowly besting Southwest and Delta, both of which had shining quarters. American’s quarter was marred by its mishandling of basic economy, plus it wasn’t helped by its domestic-heavy network. Alaska has been lacking the right...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 101: Delta Holds Up Well

Rising costs aren’t keeping Delta down. Delta overcame a 33% year-over-year increase in fuel costs to produce more than $1.2b in net profits (excluding special items) and a handsome 16% quarterly operating margin. In fact, despite the increased costs, Delta almost matched last year’s 18% Q2 margin. And the airline thinks it can return to improving margins by year’s end. Meanwhile, it’s hard to imagine Norwegian’s results being more different. Norwegian chalked up a negative 3% operating...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 100: Frontier's Wild Ride

Frontier Airlines has had one of the most topsy-turvy histories of any airline, and its first-quarter earnings report was no exception. Sporting a wild animal on each tail, the airline has been soaring in recent years. In 2017, Frontier had the seventh best operating profit margin in the world. But something happened in Q1 2018, as its margin was cut in half. Meanwhile, Air France/KLM searches for a CEO. Also, how important is it that United Airlines—by a wide margin—gets more revenue from...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 99: Say it Ain’t so, Mexico!

Things haven’t gotten better in Mexico. Although Aeroméxico is at least coping better than its domestic competitors, all of which posted negative first-quarter margins in the double-digits. To make matters worse, construction of Mexico City’s much-needed new airport might be suspended as soon as July. North of the border, Delta and Southwest are seeing more cost pressures in the second quarter. Lastly, America is getting a new airline called Moxy. Adding to the excitement is that the man...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 98: Ryanair’s Resilience

Despite a 29% year-over-year increase to its labor costs, Ryanair still posted a positive profit margin in the first quarter. Ryan’s eastern European counterpart, Wizz Air, meanwhile faced an even more daunting 43% rise in labor costs and handled it with equal aplomb. Scandinavian Airlines is plodding along, but so are a lot of other legacy carriers in Europe. For the moment, that’s okay. Doing much less than okay is El Al, an airline suffering a big loss in its first quarter despite Tel...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 97: Canadian Carriers Trading Places?

For the moment, WestJet is the more profitable carrier. But in recent years, Air Canada has closed the gap and, in the first quarter of 2018, we see signs that Air Canada—after years of giving chase—might overtake its long-dominant rival. Emirates appears to be emerging from its malaise, but can it return to its former glory? AirFrance/KLM continues to struggle with its unions. Lufthansa had its best first quarter in a decade. And IAG, the airline group that includes British Airways,...


Airline Weekly Lounge Episode 96: Profit Preservation for U.S. Carriers

Revenues for U.S. carriers remained terrifically healthy in the first quarter, and everybody made money. But rising labor and fuel costs generally shrunk year-over-year profit margins. United, which continues to trail Delta and American in profitability, did a pretty good job of preserving its margin. Profits slid a bit more at American, but it was especially buoyant in Latin America, where AA is the leading U.S. carrier. One airline that saw rather grisly margin deterioration was Alaska as...