I am in Pittsburgh, PA, today. Did you know that that this fine city was home to Mr. Roger's Neighborhood? I didn't until Mr. Feely made a call on our group this morning. He brought a couple of his puppets too. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane…but I didn't sing the theme song (many around me did).
Well anyway, I'm not in Pittsburgh to learn about its former celebrities; I'm here with Elizabeth at the annual ACI-NA JumpStart conference. Yes I am speed dating with airlines again, though the mood is a bit somber this year.
This whole fuel crisis has the industry in a bit of a panic. I thought Bob Fornaro, Chairman and CEO of AirTran Airways and keynote speaker this morning, had a thoughtful perspective on things. First he said that the industry is indeed in crisis but that every past crisis in the airline industry is followed by a period of adaptation to the new industry environment. He said the goal is to survive the crisis by prudent management and keeping costs low.We very well could be in the midst of an industry evolution.
All the industry folks that presented today agreed that at $135 barrel for oil, capacity must drop out of the market or airlines are going to drop out of the business. A few small carriers already have liquidated like SkyBus and ATA. Yikes!
Well, we at CAK are going to keep focused on the fundamentals too. Keeping our costs low and our visibility high will help us survive this latest and potentially longest lasting crisis in the airline industry.
Wish us luck with our airline dates!