24/7 Wall Street‘s / Yahoo‘s “10 brands that will disappear in 2015” actually lists Alaska Airlines as a potential company that might not be around after 2015…what hogwash! Alaska management has said multiple times that they are not interested in selling the company nor do they need to in order to effectively compete. The article doesn’t even provide any new facts to make their case. Instead, it notes the fact that Alaska is one of the last independent carriers, larger airlines have been acquired in the past, and Alaska’s profits and customer service make it a great prize. Additionally, Delta’s desire to gain Alaska’s West Coast routes is mentioned.
Alaska Air Group Inc. is one of the few remaining independent airlines in the United States that is not owned by one of the four larger carriers. Even larger airlines have been acquired: Northwest was bought by Delta, Continental merged with United and U.S. Airways joined with American Airlines. The recent consolidations in the industry have been successful, leading to significant cost cuts. Alaska Air, with its profits and customer service reputation, is the last real prize left. There has been speculation that Delta might buy Alaska Air for its West Coast routes. The rumors have pushed Alaska Air shares higher. Alaska Air is particularly strong in the busiest West Coast markets, especially in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Seattle. It has also begun to challenge carriers in East Coast markets, including several cities in Florida. Revenue and net income have risen steadily over the past five years. And Alaska Air often ranks highest in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers.
On to a few more reliable Alaska / Delta stories…
TheStreet reports that Alaska is countering Delta’s assault with their secret weapon – unified employees (thanks to Mark from Yahoo! for sharing with PMttP readers):
For Alaska the reality of being under assault by a stronger adversary sank in at the end of July, when the carrier reported earnings that beat estimates — yet watched its shares fall 9% as analysts worried about capacity increases in key markets. But Delta’s effort to build a Seattle hub on top of Alaska’s Seattle hub is also having a positive impact for the airline, in that it is further uniting Alaska’s approximately 10,200 workers, 83% of them unionized. It has not escaped the workers that Delta is a largely non-union carrier, one that strongly resisted efforts by the International Association of Machinists and the Association of Flight Attendants to organize its workers following the 2008 merger with Northwest. IAM and AFA are the two largest unions at Alaska. The employees “know Delta is anti-union,” said Tom Higginbotham, president of IAM District Lodge 142. “Their focus is on making Alaska work better than Delta. “The company is definitely doing everything it can to bring everyone together for what it believes is a war,” Higginbotham said. “Our relationship with Alaska over the last five or six years has been very good, and this has strengthened everybody’s willingness to cooperate with each other.” The IAM represents about 3,100 employees, including 2,500 agents and 600 ramp and stores workers. Jeff Peterson, president of the Alaska chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants, said, “Considering Delta is one of our closest code share partners, Delta management isn’t playing very nice. “Many of Delta’s flight attendants seem to have the impression that Delta is going to buy us or run us out of business,” Peterson said. “That opinion must be coming from their management [but] I can assure you that’s not going to happen. Delta does a nice job, we don’t begrudge their employees anything, but we’re here to stay.”
Check out the full article from TheStreet here.
The Seattle Times shares Delta CEO Richard Anderson’s thoughts on the “Seattle Wars” (thanks to Jenny from ST for sharing with our readers):
Some analysts see Delta exerting pressure for an endgame in which the giant Atlanta-based enterprise swallows its smaller Pacific Northwest rival. Anderson deflects talk of that possibility and insists Delta is here “to be successful unilaterally” in a rough-and-tumble industry. “There’s no drama. It’s just business,” Anderson said. “Is Airbus tough with Boeing? Is Apple tough on Microsoft? It’s a competitive marketplace.” Recently, Delta inaugurated direct flights from Seattle to Hong Kong, bringing to 10 the number of its daily international nonstop routes out of the city, six to Asia and four to Europe. Anderson said that adding such destinations from Seattle is “huge for the economic and cultural development of the community.” Delta’s expansion requires building up its base at Sea-Tac. Anderson said the airline has about 2,800 employees based here now and will soon grow past 3,000. “We’re in the process right now of hiring 1,400 flight attendants and 600 pilots,” he said. “A lot of those will end up based here.”
Check out the full Seattle Times article here.
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