Frontier Sale Could Be Soon 

The sale of Frontier Airlines will happen soon, or not at all, says owner Republic Airways Holdings, noting that the divestiture, “if it occurs,” will be completed early in the third quarter. “We will know more in the next two to four weeks and will update you when we have something we can say publicly,” the holding company said in slides presented at the Cowen and Company Investors Conference. A non-disclosure agreement prevents Republic from releasing any additional details right now, it added.

Pressures Continue To Depress U.S. Airlines’ Unit Revenue Gains 

Major U.S. carriers reported either year-over-year declines or negligible gains in passenger unit revenue in May, dashing any expectations that significant unit revenue growth would resume after an early Easter made March particularly strong and April misleadingly weak because of the shift in holiday travel.

Estimated performance for May—as measured by passenger revenue per available seat mile—included year-over-year declines of 2% at Southwest Airlines, 1.8% at American Airlines (including American Eagle Airlines) and 1% at US Airways.

JetBlue Says A321 Business Cabin Not Targeting New York Corporate Clients 

The business class with mini-suites that JetBlue Airways is planning for some of its transcontinental routes is not aimed specifically at corporate clients and will be priced at a point designed to stimulate new traffic, says Scott Laurence, the low-cost carrier’s vice president of network planning.

People Express Takes One Step Closer To Launch Later this Year 

The reconstituted People Express has acquired Xtra Airways, a charter operator also certificated to offer scheduled service, and says it will use that authority to begin its own scheduled service later this year from Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Virginia.

People Express also expects to announce a CEO as soon as this week, reveal its first routes next month and begin taking reservations in August, Michael Morisi, the start-up’s president and COO tells Aviation Week.

JetBlue’s A321s To Offer 'Mini-Suites' In Business
Is seeking FAA approval to install four 'mini-suites' on A321s
Slowing Demand Prompts FedEx To Expedite Aircraft Retirements 

FedEx Corp. will accelerate the retirement of 60 MD-10 and 16 Airbus A310 aircraft—along with 282 related engines—as the result of a double-edged sword in which weakened global demand for air cargo services provides the company the opportunity to speed up its fleet modernization schedule.

Memphis Airport’s Owner Sees Opportunities From Delta’s Decision To De-Hub Operation 

Delta Air Lines’ decision to stop using Memphis International Airport as a hub could open up new opportunities for lower airline ticket prices for local travelers, says Larry Cox, president of the Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority.

Delta will de-hub Memphis in September after reducing service there for years, with another round of cuts that will drop the number of daily flights at the airport from 96 to about 60 and the number of destinations served from 42 to 29.

DOT IG Audit Questions FAA’s ATC Upgrade Schedule, Cost Estimates 

The FAA still is not using a reliable schedule and cost estimates for replacing the automation systems at some of the largest U.S. air traffic control (ATC) facilities, the U.S. Transportation Department’s inspector general concludes in a new audit of the program, which is considered an essential base for the air traffic control system’s modernization.

Latam Sale-Leaseback Deal To Add A350s, 787s To AerCap’s Fleet 

AerCap will generate $20 million in after-tax net income in the second half of this year from the 10 Airbus A330s it is acquiring from Latam Airlines Group and leasing back to the South American operator, leaders of the Amsterdam-based lessor say.

The 10 A330s, which already are in the group’s fleet with an average age of four years, are part of a 25-aircraft, $2.6 billion sale-leaseback agreement that also includes nine new Airbus A350-900s and four new Boeing 787-9 jets that Latam is scheduled to receive from 2014-2018.

DOT Waives Ownership Conditions To Grant U.S. Access To InselAir Aruba 

The U.S. Transportation Department (DOT) has tentatively approved InselAir Aruba’s request for authority to begin service to the U.S., waiving a requirement in the U.S.-Netherlands air transport agreement that a carrier must be “substantially owned and effectively controlled” by nationals who are permanent residents of Aruba.

Sun Country Seeks DOT Approval To Expand Fleet Beyond 18 Aircraft Cap 

Sun Country Airlines wants to increase its fleet size by at least two aircraft per year for the next three years as part of a “conservative” growth plan, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul-based low-cost carrier is asking the U.S. Transportation Department (DOT) to remove a fleet-size restriction that would prevent it from doing so.

TSA Move To Shift Exit Lane Funding Responsibility Irks Industry Groups 

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a proposed policy change that would shift the responsibility for monitoring passenger exits to airport operators—a plan that airports and airlines are condemning as an “unconscionable” effort to push national security costs onto the private sector without Congressional approval.

NATCA Expects Sequester To Continue To Adversely Impact NextGen 

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)—committed to monthly meetings with the FAA on sequestration’s ongoing impact following a flurry of conclaves since mid-April—still is expecting some delays this year in the progress on NextGen and the constitution of the controller-inclusive teams that help push the air traffic modernization program forward.

American’s Operating Profit Boosted By Lower Labor, Fuel Expenses 

American Airlines’ parent company AMR Corp. lost $104 million in April but posted an operating profit of $14 million, which it says portends a strong operating profit for the second quarter.

“Excluding reorganization and special items, we posted a very strong improvement to our bottom line. And, if current trends continue, we are well on our way to a strongly profitable second quarter,” Chairman and CEO Tom Horton says in a May 29 message to employees.

Regulator’s Objection To AMR CEO Payout Provides Possible Solution 

The bankruptcy court overseeing AMR Corp.’s Chapter 11 reorganization should block the next step in the company’s plan to emerge from court protection and merge with US Airways because of the nearly $20 million in severance promised to Chairman and CEO Tom Horton, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) says.

In a court filing late last week, the U.S. trustee—part of the DOJ—argues that the amount of the proposed payment in cash and stock violates the requirements of the U.S. bankruptcy code.

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