I attended US Airways Media Day at The Mim in Phoenix, Arizona last week. I updated the page as the day progresses but to be honest there wasn’t a lot of news until the very end. Here’s a play by play.
-Doug Parker, CEO of US Airways walked on stage with Adele’s “Rumor Has It” song playing in the background. He wouldn’t say much about a potential merger with American Airlines but he did admit they have hired advisors to evaluate a possible merger. He did go on to say US Airways does not need to merge. And he talked about the Goals for US Airways:
1. Ops: Industry leader in operating reliability
2. Revenue: Maximize value of existing assets.
3. Costs: Maintain strategic cost advantage
4. People: Actively engage employees
5. Long-term strategy: Control our destiny through profit
Scott Kirby, President of US Airways
-”I don’t think the industry would exist as it does today without ancillary revenues”
-2006 was US Airways most profitable year in history ($507 million)…2007 was US Airways 2nd biggest ($436 million)…2011 was $111 million
- He also stated that the booking demand remains strong for 2012 airline travel
Derek Kerr, CFO of US Airways
-2011 was better than 2008 – consolidation, capacity discipline, and ancillary revenue
Nick Calio, President and CEO of Airlines for America
-I lost my notes I took during Nick’s presentation because the internet cut out just as I was uploading this page. The internet was horrendous at the MIM and I’m lucky to even have salvaged what I did.
Elise Eberwein, EVP, People, Communications &Public Affairs
-Elise said if a US Airways employee volunteers for 50 hours at a charity, the airline will donate $500 in airfare to that group.
-She asked the crowd if anyone could name one of the three airline CEO’s that have held that position for longer then 10 years other than Doug Parker. Cranky shouted out Herb Kelleher from Southwest Airlines, I said Bob Crandall ex-American Airlines CEO and someone else said Gordon Bethune former Continental CEO. She gave each winner funny gag gifts like grecian formula and arthritis cream.
Robert Isom, EVP & COO
-US Airways is rolling out two-line boarding this year at all airports – will allow preferred passengers to board faster
- Being safe, reliable is the best way to run an airline. Conservation is the right way to run an airline
-US Airways is going to start a test soon responding to tweets
-Flying home I asked the gate agents what they thought of their executive team and they said that they really like Robert because he’s the only one that says thank you to them.
Hector Adler, Vice President, InFlight Services
I found Hector to be one of the most interesting and straight talkers of the whole day. He said:
-Thomas G. Plaskett, CEO of Pan Am really invented FF programs
-He instituted modern restaurant new China because customers always eat with their eyes first – if it looks great – you are almost there.
-Subtle flavors on a planes don’t work
-Ice cream is the only food that doesn’t change in the air.
-US Airways is seeing a greater demand for vegetarian meals in Envoy Class…it is now one of the four choices on every flight.
Andrew Nocella, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Planning
-He announced they are adding expanding Gogo internet to 200+ more planes & video streaming using Gogo Vision entertainment. Internet will be added to Airbus A319, A320, Embraer 190, 170 & 175.
Currently Gogo is offered on just 63 US Airways jets (all Airbus A321s) but It will be added to its 73 Embraer regional jets by this summer and to the rest of its 209 Airbus planes, in the next year. When finished, 90 percent of the airline’s mainline fleet will have Wi-Fi.
The Q&A was last and everyone wanted more info on a possible merger but Doug Parker wasn’t budging. He made a couple of persistent reporters look silly and all he would say is they have hired some advisors to assess about a possible merger with American but they don’t need them.
Again the internet was horrible so you might find more useful information from some of the other writers. Here are some of Twitter handles in attendance: @Crankyflier (His story), @DailyTravelTips, @ExecutiveTravel, @editorstephen, @ranflyer and of course me @JohnnyJet.