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American Airlines pleads case for lower labor costs | Virgin America will focus on IPO within 1 to 2 years, executive says | Delta Air Lines could post Q1 loss, analysts say
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April 24, 2012
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Company Watch
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Company Watch
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United is talking with Boeing for narrow-body jets, sources say
United Continental is in discussions with Boeing on purchasing more than 100 and up to 200 narrow-body jets, sources say. United Continental dropped negotiations with Airbus for the jet purchase, according to the sources. "If United goes with Boeing for this order we see this as a helpful market-share gain," said Robert Stallard, an RBC Capital Markets analyst.
Bloomberg (4/23),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (4/23),  Reuters (4/23),  The Seattle Times (tiered subscription model) (4/24) 
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American Airlines pleads case for lower labor costs
American Airlines told bankruptcy court this week that it has to reduce labor costs to stay afloat. "American has the highest labor costs in an intensely competitive industry," said attorney Jack Gallagher. "It's that simple. We need to fix this business." American wants to cut $1.25 billion from its annual labor bill. Meanwhile, in a letter to employees, American Airlines CEO Tom Horton deflected US Airways' interest in a possible merger and cautioned employees that "there is no easy path back to renewal and growth and industry leadership. It will require difficult choices." Horton wrote that American needs to be mindful of third parties "working their own agendas at our expense."
Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas) (4/23),  Air Transport World (4/24) 
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Mechanics union will vote on AMR contract next week
The union representing mechanics and other workers at American Airlines plans to vote next week on the carrier's latest contract offer. AMR Corp., the parent company of American, filed for bankruptcy in November. The contract would cut "substantially" fewer than 8,500 jobs, an AMR representative said.
Reuters (4/23),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (4/23) 
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FAA releases list of institutions that want to fly drones
The Federal Aviation Administration has released the list of U.S. institutions that have requested authorization to fly drones. Universities and police departments from across the country have requested permission.
Time.com (4/23) 
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U.S. ambassador to ICAO: ETS consensus may be difficult
The U.S. ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization is not convinced that the council can reach a consensus on the European Union's emissions-trading scheme. "In 2010, the all-important political consensus had not moved at all from 2007," said Ambassador Duane Woerth.
AIN Online (4/23) 
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Airline associations oppose mandatory GDS
Nine airline associations, including Airlines for America, have sent a joint letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood opposing the requirement that airlines use global distribution systems. "Instead, airlines should continue to have the right to utilize any distribution channel they choose, as long as in doing so they meet the letter and spirit of this shared commitment to transparency," the letter said.
Travel Weekly (4/23) 
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European airlines group backs passenger data sharing with U.S.
The Association of European Airlines has praised the new agreement on sharing passenger data between the European Union and U.S. "This new deal gives airlines flying across the Atlantic a clear legal basis for compliance with U.S. data requests," said Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, the association's secretary-general.
Air Transport World (4/24) 
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Cargo pilots could fly under same fatigue rules as other pilots
Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., has proposed legislation to include cargo pilots in new pilot-fatigue rules. Cravaack, a former pilot, introduced the Safe Skies Act of 2012 this month. "The same skies and same runways are being used for cargo and passenger aircraft," Cravaack said. In a statement, FedEx wrote, "The proposed legislation attempts to implement a 'one size fits all' approach to fatigue mitigation, an approach that the administration's own analysis determined was not practical. The FAA recognized that fact when it wisely introduced the Fatigue Risk Management System, allowing carriers and pilots to develop customized plans together to achieve the best possible alertness results."
AIN Online (4/23),  The Hill/Transportation blog (4/23) 
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Industry Trends
U.S. is on track for tourism growth, Commerce Department says
The U.S. can expect annual tourism growth of up to 5% over the next five years, the Commerce Department says. In 2012, the department predicts 65.4 million foreign tourists will visit. "Today's forecast is a positive sign that the travel and tourism industry -- our No. 1 services export -- is growing stronger," said U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson.
TravelPulse (4/23) 
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AirTran, Southwest frequent fliers can convert credits
AirTran Airways frequent fliers can now convert their credits into Southwest Airlines credits. Southwest acquired AirTran last year, but plans on maintaining separate frequent flier programs for a while. Southwest frequent fliers can also convert their credits to AirTran credits.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (subscription required) (4/23) 
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Group launches app to identify racial profiling in screening
An iPhone application developed by a human-rights organization will allow travelers to report alleged racial and religious profiling at airport security checkpoints. The FlyRight tool was created by the Sikh Coalition, a civil- and human-rights organization. Federal officials have indicated that they will consider complaints made through the app as actionable complaints, and the app has been tested for compatibility with the government's system for complaints.
Nextgov (4/23) 
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Career Development
Executives offer insights on managing millennials
Millennials bring innovative ideas and technological savvy to the workplace, but often overestimate their abilities and resist performing low-level tasks, executives said at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. Several executives detailed their retention strategies, which included online-learning programs and flexible work options.
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/22) 
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