I don’t typically write about airline earnings and such. It isn’t that the topic does not interest me, it certainly does. Nor is it that I don’t think I’d have anything to add to the conversation. It’s simply that I think Dan Webb does a much better job talking about the subject than I could ever possibly do! That said, I’d be a tiny bit remiss if I didn’t comment on today’s earnings announcements.
Unless I read it wrong, not counting special items, Delta made somewhere in the neighborhood of $929 million dollars last quarter. That’s within a gnat’s eye of a cool $1 billion bucks. US Airways earned $243 million. My friends over at AA earned $143 million. That’s low compared to the others, but it beats a stick in the eye, or losing money. When we get Continental/United’s results on Thursday, I think we’ll have a slightly clearer picture of an answer to a burning question, that being are the uber-gynormous networks of Delta and the new United enabling these airlines to capture a rising share of traffic attracted to their ability to basically fly everyone everywhere? While Continental and United will be reported separately, I’m sure some enterprising analysts will be all over the results looking at various “what if” scenarios based on a combined airline. Hopefully, the numbers will tell us something.
I’m still not convinced that AMR needs to merge with anyone, at least not immediately. However, if over the next year or two, it becomes clearly obvious that corporate fliers really are attracted to the larger networks of United and Delta, American is going to have to make a move. Or could someone else make a move on American? Time will tell.