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Archive for January, 2008

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Ryanair, long known for its saucy and subversive ads, is in hot water over an ad featuring French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his lady love, Carla Bruni. With rumors of their engagement swirling around Paris, the ad shows Bruni musing at Ryanair’s low fares: “With Ryanair, my whole family will be able to come to my wedding.” Funny, of course, but policy-related? Why, yes. Sarkozy and Bruni have sued the scrappy Irish airline over their inclusion in the ad, he for €1 and she for €500,000. (A settlement is likely.)

As often happens with Ryanair’s ads, the controversy has generated much more attention than the ad itself. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary relishes the attention: “This is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” The airline’s entire corporate image is endearingly crass. It recently offered “a free night of passion” in an Irish hotel to the winners of a “snogging” contest, referred to its main competitor as “Lazyjet,” distributed a racy charity calendar (those who objected “were probably just jealous”), and vigorously lobbied against the government entities it crosses.

Sarko vs. Ryanair [Things with Wings]

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DOJ OKs TPG & YX

I was trying to see how many acronyms I could get in one title. Not too many, I guess.

  • But, speaking of antitrust, the Justice Department has given the all-clear on TPG Capital’s purchase of Midwest Airlines (YX) with dominant regional neighbor Northwest holding a “passive stake.” Holly Hegeman says AirTran wins. Cranky offers up a Photoshop illustration of what might happen next.
  • JetBlue is sponsoring its own pilot recruiting and training program. [Aero-News.Net]

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Any prospective airline merger will have no small obstacle in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, which assesses the potential competitive effects of tie-ups. If it finds fault with a coupling, its threat to sue is usually enough to deep-six the merger plan.

DOJ reviews every proposed merger according to its Horizontal Merger Guidelines: (more…)

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Merger myths busted

Over at Things with Wings, Hubert Horan has a list of merger myths being floated by those with a narrow financial interest in consolidation.

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  • China is organizing the domestic investors in its jumbo jet program. [ATW Daily News]
  • The Israeli government is taking on a greater share of El Al’s security expenses, and in return, the flag carrier is giving up some of its long-haul route monopolies, opening the routes to domestic competitors. [ATW Daily News]
  • A Southwest 737 slides off a snowy runway in Spokane. No one is injured, but trial lawyers are looking for a payday. [Aero-News.Net]

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My article on recent labor-related congressional action that can make airline mergers easier is up now on Forbes.com.

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I’m working on a long post about the dynamics of the pilot shortage (and tracking down some hard data), but here’s a look at how the looming shortage of pilots is putting less experienced crews in the cockpit and (eventually) forcing airlines to up pilot pay. As for that whole “high salaries await pilots” thing, put the numbers in perspective with the helpful tools at Airline Pilot Central.

Airlines scramble to fill cockpit vacancies; high salaries await pilots [New York Daily News]

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