January 16 Airline News - Morning Edition



[FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Funding Fun House - Critics say current accounting lets companies distort the picture they present of pension plan performance.[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]NEW YORK (CFO Magazine) - The news that many corporate pension plans are in trouble, at least on paper, comes as no surprise. After three years of declining stock markets, many large plans cannot help but find themselves underfunded. That such shortfalls have appeared for the first time since the early 1990s and to a degree not seen in a couple of decades merely reflects the longevity and extent of the dearly departed bull market.[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Complete Story: [/FONT][A href=http://www.cfo.com/article/1,5309,8517///4,00.html][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]http://www.cfo.com/article/1,5309,8517///4,00.html[/FONT][/A][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3] [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]Lott Sees ‘Aggressive Process’ To Help Aviation Industry [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]WASHINGTON (Aviation Daily) - Incoming Senate Commerce aviation subcommittee Chair Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) has already begun meeting with aviation executives to see how Congress can help the industry survive its troubled economy. [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]Lott told The DAILY yesterday he has already met with American CEO Donald Carty and Northwest CEO Richard Anderson, who were on Capitol Hill last week testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee, and today will meet with airport executives. He is developing[BR]a subcommittee hearing schedule on aviation issues and considering legislation he plans to[BR]introduce this year. [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]I’ve made it clear that they’re going to have to solve most of the problems themselves, he said of his conversations with the industry thus far. There are all kinds of things that contributed to the situation they’re in. The government cannot solve all their problems or[BR]give them huge bailouts. Lott said his message to the industry has been, Don’t tell me what your problems are; tell me what the solutions are that we can help with. [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]Lott told The DAILY he took over the subcommittee chair because aviation is a very important part of our economy. I’m very concerned with the security and stability of the aviation industry as a whole. I want to see if there are ways I can be helpful. [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]In addition to FAA reauthorization, Lott said his focus this year will be on who should shoulder the cost for added security. Jacksonville International Airport, for example, is paying $60,000 a month for Transportation Security Administration-mandated regulations, a huge financial burden. While Lott believes airlines should pay for some costs, he added that Congress needs to consider taking back some of the expenses that were government-mandated. [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]Lott said he also intends to hold hearings on labor costs and the Railway Labor Act, noting the airlines’ critical place in the economy means we have to think about how those labor disputes are resolved. Lott co-sponsored Commerce Chair Sen. John McCain’s (RAriz.) RLA bill, introduced last year, and Lott said he wants to see if it can be fine-tuned. [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]It’s not a question of what’s wrong with the RLA but what is the best way for the airlines and labor to settle disputes. Lott said he wants to hear from the labor unions as well, but added Congress may have to step in...It’s a huge issue. [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]A strong supporter of essential air service (EAS), Lott promised to make sure the EAS program is properly funded. Maybe essential air service could be improved, and I know some really small airports that were getting twin-engine service and in the future it’s just not gong to be practical, he said. Let me assure you that with [SEN. John]Rockefeller [D-W.VA.]involved in this and [SEN. Ernest]Hollings [D-S.C.]involved and Ted Stevens [R-ALASKA], chairman of the Appropriations Committee and my own interest, this program is going to be adequately funded, even if it has to come from somewhere else. And OMB [OFFICE Budget and Management of]will get that message, too. [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]Lott also intends to tackle outstanding issues, such as reimbursing airlines for installing ****pit doors, how the sky marshal program is working, its cost and who should pay for it. He also expressed concern over potential maintenance issues in the regional airline industry. I don’t want to specify a particular plane, he said when asked if his concern arose from the recent Air Midwest Beech 1900D crash, but said he wanted assurances Congress is doing everything we can with maintenance and how that is being checked; are we looking at it properly.[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Delta Air Posts Loss but Beats Estimates [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]CHICAGO (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc. on Thursday reported a $363 million quarterly loss as major U.S. airlines continued to suffer from a historic travel downturn that has kept airfares cheap nationwide.[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Complete Story: [/FONT][A href=http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/030116/airlines_delta_earns_3.html][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/030116/airlines_delta_earns_3.html[/FONT][/A][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3] [/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Delta Sees Lower Travel Demand, 2003 Loss[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc. on Thursday said it foresees lower demand for air travel through at least mid-2004 and ongoing financial losses in both the first quarter of 2003 and the full year overall.[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Complete Story: [/FONT][A href=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A746-2003Jan16.html][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A746-2003Jan16.html[/FONT][/A][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Delta Air Sees More Losses Ahead [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]CHICAGO (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc.on Thursday reported a quarterly loss that was nearly halved from a year ago, but it does not see a return to profitability this year as demand for air travel remains weak.[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Complete Story: [/FONT][A href=http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/030116/airlines_delta_earns_4.html][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/030116/airlines_delta_earns_4.html[/FONT][/A][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Delta Projects Wider-Than-Expected Loss in 1st Quarter[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]NEW YORK -- After reporting a narrower-than-expected fourth-quarter net loss of $363 million, or $2.98 a share, Delta Air Lines Inc said its first- quarter loss will be at least as large as the year earlier's $2.90 a share.[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Complete Story: [A href=http://biz.yahoo.com/djus/030116/1251000682_1.html]http://biz.yahoo.com/djus/030116/1251000682_1.html[/A] [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]Delta, Israel's El Al add to code share deal [/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]JERUSALEM (Reuters) - State-run El Al Israel Airlines said on Thursday it had expanded a code-sharing agreement with U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines to include its Toronto-Los Angeles flights.[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Complete Story: [/FONT][A href=http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/030116/airlines_delta_elal_1.html][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]http://biz.yahoo.com/rc/030116/airlines_delta_elal_1.html[/FONT][/A][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Airline due in court[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]PITTSBURGH (Tribune-Review) - Despite dubious prospects for reaching a quick solution to its pension funding dilemma, US Airways intends to proceed with a bankruptcy court hearing of its reorganization plan today in eastern Virginia, the airline said Wednesday. [BR][BR]Complete Story: [A href=http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/business/s_112996.html]http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/business/s_112996.html[/A] [BR][/FONT][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3][BR]GE Capital to take stake in US Airways, pension legislation pending[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]ALEXANDRIA (Reuters) - A federal court on Thursday approved a plan for GE Capital Corp. to take a stake of up to 5 percent in US Airways Group Inc. in exchange for $830 million in financing.[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Complete Story: [/FONT][A href=http://biz.yahoo.com/rm/030116/airlines_usairways_hearing_1.html][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]http://biz.yahoo.com/rm/030116/airlines_usairways_hearing_1.html[/FONT][/A][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]US Airways pilots face shrinking pensions [/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]WASHINGTON (USA Today) - US Airways' pilots hope those who retire in coming years will keep their pensions intact, but that's not looking likely.[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Complete Story: [/FONT][A href=http://www.usatoday.com/money/biztravel/2003-01-15-usairways_x.htm][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]http://www.usatoday.com/money/biztravel/2003-01-15-usairways_x.htm[/FONT][/A][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3] [/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]Newsweek Pension Article Extract – January 20 Edition[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]At the end of 2001, 261 companies had $111 billion less in their plans than they needed to meet their obligations, reports the PBGC... The true shortfalls are probably worse, because shifty accounting can mask a loss.[BR][BR]Between September and December, more money went into pension plans than in the past 10 years.[/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Times New Roman size=3]While corporations have to fund for pension benefits already promised, they don't have to keep those benefits going. So they're solving their problems by converting....to cash balance plans.[BR][BR]The Treasury put a moratorium on conversions to cash-balance plans in 1999, when older workers shouted that they were unfair. Last month the plans got a green light.... About 500 companies already offer them, and many more are in the pipeline.[BR][BR]Note that pension cutbacks are strictly for peons. Halliburton Oil gave CEO Dick Cheney early-retirement benefits....even though he hadn't earned them.[/FONT]