Ancillary fees saving the day
According to the latest figures released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, US scheduled passenger airlines collected some US$879m in baggage fees, along with US$735m for reservation cancellation or change fees, during the period July to September 2013. Leading the collectors was Delta Air Lines, which was followed by United, US Airways, American Airlines and then Spirit. Another low cost carrier, JetBlue Airways, finished in ninth place, raking in nearly US$20m in bag fees plus US$36.3m in reservations/change fees.
Regular readers (and indeed fliers) will note nothing new in this news: for some years now these ancillaries have been the prime sources of profitability for struggling carriers, and the fees can represent the difference between flying and grounding a fleet.
Agreement for staff at American Airlines
The unions representing flight attendants at the new American Airlines reached an agreement at the end of December on how their workgroup will be represented at the new company – and how they will work together to achieve a joint contract. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA represents the pre-merger US Airways workgroup while the Association of Professional Flight Attendants represents the pre-merger American workgroup.
Want to be on time? Then avoid Midway…
Midway firmly secured the bottom place amongst the country’s biggest airports for getting passengers into the air on time through the first ten months of 2013: this is according to government figures.
Midway’s on-time departure rate through October was just 68.7%: this means that just over two out of every three flights made it off the ground on schedule.
O’Hare International wasn’t much better, though. The airport posted an on-time rate of 70.6% from January to October, making it the second worst out of the nation’s 29 largest airports.
On-time records at both airports have declined significantly since the same period last year, at which point O’Hare had an on-time departure rate of 76.5% and Midway posted a rate of 77%.
Passengers, though, were better off when arriving at these two airports. The arrival rate at Midway through October of this year hit 78.7%, whilst O’Hare trailed with an on-time arrival rate through October of 73.8%.
Signature’s latest flourish
In mid-December, Signature Flight Support Corporation hosted an inauguration ceremony to celebrate the completion of its newly-constructed private aviation terminal at Newark Liberty International airport, which actually opened for business on November 15.
Signature Newark is a state-of-the-art terminal, aimed at providing world-class flight support services for private air travel. The new facility has a footprint of 510,000 square feet of ramp space, together with 39,000 square feet of hangarage and a new passenger terminal that spans 11,200 square feet in all. Its designers have also paid attention to the environmental side of the equation. Designed and constructed to meet US Green Building Council’s LEED Gold Certification standards, the facility features new energy-efficient lighting and environmental control systems.
The new terminal features amenities to complement the efficient transit of passengers and crew to and from the aircraft. Signature Newark includes an executive conference room, free use of computers, wireless Internet services, a round-the-clock courtesy shuttle service to hotels within the airport purlieu and the commercial terminal, wheelchair access and a lobby area. A separate, dedicated lounge area provides privacy for customers, groups and specialty aircraft charters and can provide customized services.