Air Transport World

U.S. Majors, Part 1

35.67% of world passengers

34.43% of world RPKs

25.40% of world FTKs

Alaska Airlines: Thanks to "a stabilized competitive environment with substantially improved yields at Alaska Airlines and an excellent turnaround at Horizon Air," Alaska Air Group chalked up the best year in its history in 1997, said John Kelly, chairman and CEO.

The record net income of $72.4 million was nearly double the $38 million earned in 1996. Revenues rose 9.2% to $1.7 billion, while expenses were ahead only 6.5%, upping operating income to $139 million from $89 million.

A hefty income tax bill reduced the net figure considerably. Alaska Airlines posted a pretax income of $127.4 million, up from $74.5 million, on an 11.6% jump in revenues to $1.45 billion. Operating income rose to $134.3 million from $90 million. Yield improved to 12.49[cent] from 11.67[cent] and RASM increased 7.8% to 9.4[cent] from 8.7[cent] while CASM expanded only 5.1% to 8.51 from 8.1[cent].

Alaska Airlines carried 12,283,600 passengers during the year, up 4.1%. RPKs climbed 5.6% to 16.7 billion and load factor improved 1.3 points to 67.3%. FTKs were ahead 1.6% to 97.2 million.

The carrier made news last November, by becoming the launch customer for the 737-900, ordering 10 and optioning 10 more. Other notable events during the past year have included elevation of William S. Ayer to president from senior VP-customer service, marketing and planning; agreement on a new 5 1/2-year pilot contract and joining with Northwest, Continental and America West in a code-sharing partnership with Air China.

American: The biggest news of the past year at American occurred in May, 1998, when Robert L. Crandall, legendary chairman, president and CEO of parent AMR Corp. and chairman and CEO of American Airlines, retired after a 25-year career at the airline and 13 years in the top posts. His innovations, beginning with the invention of Super Saver fares and progressing through development of powerful CRSs and frequent-liter programs, changed the industry.

Crandall's successor is Donald J. Carty, who had been president of American and executive VP of AMR, and who has been with AMR since 1979, except for a brief stint at Canadian Pacific.

Also making headlines so far this year have been a proposed alliance between American and US Airways, and completion of an alliance with Japan Airlines, a product of the new U.S.-Japan bilateral that also is allowing American to launch long-sought new routes to Japan. Alliances were signed last year with China Eastern and Aerolineas Argentinas, among others, and in May of this year, DOT finally approved a long-pending code-share agreement with the TACA Group of Central American airlines. Still awaiting approval--after two years--is the proposed alliance with British Airways. …

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