In between my real job, I was catching up on headlines for the airlines today. There’s a new one out there on Alaska Airlines, talking about capacity, outlook, etc. Something struck my eye:
Alaska is 23% of their capacity. On the cost side, labor contracts are resolved through the end of this year, whereas almost every other airline is negotiating with labor. Alaska has 16% of their capacity in Hawaiian markets. They also have 6% of their capacity in Mexico.
Okay. So 23% capacity in Alaska, 16% capacity in Hawaiian, and 6% capacity in Mexico. That adds up to 45%. That means Alaska’s decision to NOT equip their planes with Row44 satellite based internet and instead go with land based AirCell’s GoGo service is guaranteed to – at most- be available to 55% of their markets. What the hell kind of business decision is this? And yes, AirCell has promised to add Alaska coverage in 2011; do you believe them? Or in this market, will it get put off? And even with it available in Alaska, flights from Seattle/Portland/Chicago/LAX/SFO to Alaska have to fly over Canada – where AirCell has absolutely no coverage.
Again, Alaska Airlines, I ask, “WHAT were you thinking?”. Sure, you’re a good airline. Sure you’ve got some of the best customer service in the industry. But you’ve made some crappy business decisions as of late. And we won’t even go into what’s going on with Alaska Air Group’s Horizon subsidiary. Nine of their CRJs are gone, which takes them closer to a unified Q400 fleet. But there’s 40 pilots, 40 mechanics, and at least 120 flight attendants that have been laid off, and there is talk of not only pulling out of California (Cranky had a good read here), but also having another carrier sub for Horizon on several of the California routes.
For God sakes, ALK – do you want some help making decisions? I think your traveling public would help you out better than your executives are helping you at the moment.