What to Know Now
After a two year review, Norwegian Air, the low-cost carrier expanding aggressively on international routes, finally won approval to expand further into the U.S. from a base in Ireland.
On the surface, the legacy airlines took issue with an alleged unfair tax and labor advantage that Norwegian would get by operating out of Ireland. But in reality, it’s competition that U.S. airlines fear. Norwegian offers transoceanic flights at rock-bottom prices (and a litany of fees, mind you) and the legacies don’t want to lower their prices in competition.
As of this ruling, however, it looks like the battle is on. While most business travelers won’t give Norwegian Air a second look, the competition that it provides will drag down costs on competing carriers, and challenge what’s long been one of the most profitable routes.
Social Quote of the Day
The penalty for feeling smug about having @TSA PreCheck is getting to the airport late and finding out the PreCheck lanes are closed.
Allegiant Air Promises That It Is Improving Safety: Allegiant Airlines, which came under special scrutiny by federal safety regulators last year, said operations are improving after it increased spending on safety management, training facilities and younger aircraft. Read more at Skift
Delta Drops Fee For Tickets Bought at Airports and Over The Phone: You know all those fees that airlines have added over the last several years? Delta is taking one away. Read more at Skift
Alaska Air CEO Tries to Say All the Right Things to Virgin America Employees: In a video and accompanying email, Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden tried to reassure Virgin America employees of good things ahead as the merger between the two companies proceeds. Read more at Skift
Delta to Expand Basic Economy Fares That Generated $20 Million in Extra Revenue: Delta reported today that its new Basic Economy fares, which offer lower prices, no ticket changes, and seat assignments only after check-in, generated $20 million in incremental revenue in the first quarter, and the airline plans to expand the service to new U.S. markets. Read more at Skift
The EU Finally Mandates Sharing of Airline Passenger Information: European Union lawmakers approved Thursday a scheme to share airline passenger information that nations hope to use to track foreign fighters travelling to and from conflict areas like Syria and who might pose a danger in Europe. Read more at Skift
San Francisco may take $3.45 million payout for Asiana crash: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a $3.45 million payout from Asiana Airlines to settle the city’s claim from an airport crash that killed three people and injured nearly 200. Read more at The Washington Post
U.S. Senate Bill Pushes for Checked Bag Fee Refunds if the Bag Is Lost: Airlines will still be allowed to jam passengers into ever-smaller seats and charge them for checked luggage, but they will have to provide refunds when those bags are delayed or lost under a bill set for Senate passage. Read more at Skift
San Francisco to Require Lyft, Uber Drivers to Obtain Business Licenses: It’s about to get more expensive to drive an Uber or Lyft car in San Francisco. Read more at Skift
Lyft Is Spending Millions on an Ambitious Expansion Plan in the U.S.: In January, Lyft said it raised $1 billion, which is helping fuel the spending spree and steal market share from Uber Technologies Inc. To keep costs in check, Lyft has promised investors to cap its losses at no more than $50 million a month, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Read more at Skift
Delta Execs Say They Don’t See a Weakness in Corporate Travel Demand: When asked about reports of slowing business travel demand and weaker corporate pricing, incoming Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian told financial analysts on the company’s first quarter earnings call yesterday that the airline’s data actually show increased demand from corporate flyers. Read more at Skift
Blackstone Is Confident Anbang Will Still Buy Strategic Hotels & Resorts: Anbang Insurance Group Co., the Chinese insurer that backed out of a takeover bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., is on track to complete its $6.5 billion purchase of another U.S. hotel company from Blackstone Group LP, said Jon Gray, Blackstone’s global head of real estate. Read more at Skift
Turkish hotels suffer amid economic, security issues: Turkey faces significant issues—including terrorism, tension with Russia and the Syrian refugee crisis—that are increasing debt and distress in country. Government regulations might not be enough to save the situation. Read more at Hotel News Now
Hyatt CEO Interview: Bigger Isn’t (Always) Better and Loyalty Is More Than Points: Hyatt Hotels Corporation is not the biggest hotel chain. Nevertheless, Hyatt continues on with its 12 brands (all eponymous, except for Andaz) and singular focus on its own brand of service and loyalty. Read more at Skift
John Lee‘s penultimate travel column over at The Globe and Mail is on how visitors can best explore Canada’s indigenous culture. Keep an eye out for the final column this coming Saturday.
Tips and Comments
Can be sent to gm[at]skift[dot]com or to @grantkmartin