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Airways Podcast

Welcome to the Airways Podcast, the digital audio extension of one of the world's leading aviation publications, Airways (www.airwaysmag.com). Hosted by Vinay Bhaskara (@TheABVInay), Rohan Anand (@rohanaanand), the podcast is a weekly deep-dive into three or four important aviation stories or trends.
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Oct 3, 2017
We start off by wishing Vinay a Happy Birthday, but certainly, a "mediocre birthday" (his words) pales in comparison to the continued woes for AirBerlin and Alitalia (1:10) after we perform a health check on Europe's biggest ailing carriers (for now). And the drama doesn't end there: Ryanair, which once appeared to be one of the highest bidders for some of Alitalia's assets, is suffering from extensive operational and commercial fallouts over a pilot shortage (16:35). With no end in sight, will they be able to recover from a tarnished image in spite of its, "Always Getting Better," program oriented around customer service? However, not all is woeful in Europe: Turkish Airlines seems to have recovered from a crummy 2016 and placed a blockbuster order for 787-9s (30:18) and may have more orders in the pipeline from both Boeing and Airbus. Furthermore, Air France-KLM and Virgin Atlantic JV partner Delta will be adding new routes and cities to Europe in Summer 2018 (36:30), diversifying beyond traditional bread-and-butter markets and going places where long-haul LCCs are absent. 
Sep 21, 2017
School's in session, airlines routes are proliferating and Vinay and Rohan are back on U.S. soil after a busy summer filled with work and travel. We're ready to hit the ground running after an extended hiatus, thanks to our listeners who awaited our return! We start off by examining the consequences that natural disasters have on air travel (4:07) in light of the recent tropical storms in hitting the U.S. and Caribbean coasts and how airlines have to respond tactically from a pricing and inventory perspective to surging demand. Next, we evaluate the latest salvo of transatlantic routes (15:25) across the Atlantic to medium-sized markets like Nashville and Indianapolis, among others. Against this backdrop, however, will be transatlantic capacity reductions in the form of Air Berlin (25:05), whose August 15 insolvency filing resulted in widebody aircraft lessors asking for their A330s back, and subsequently, Air Berlin is cutting the majority of its long-haul routes. Speaking of transformation, Minnesota's "hometown carrier" Sun Country Airlines is revamping its business model (32:10) to become more, "ultra-low-cost carrier" - like. Not-so-Minnesota Nice? What will the long-term impact be? Finally, Rohan and Vinay do a pulse check on basic economy (37:23) in light of United's recent decision to scale it back on domestic markets just as American rolls it out to more markets. Why the sudden reverse in course? 
Jun 20, 2017

Vinay breaks down all of the action from day one of the 2017 Paris Air Show in a solo podcast.

 

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Jun 13, 2017

Vinay and Rohan kick off the show discussing Qatar's diplomatic spat with several Middle Eastern neighbors (0:45), which may spell sinister things for Qatari aviation. Rohan and Vinay don't expect the situation to subside very quickly, or at least without repercussion.

On a more positive note, they discuss United Airlines' announcement of nonstop service from Los Angeles to Singapore on the Boeing 787-9 (12:44), which certainly took everyone by surprise, even though an 18-hour flight in 9-abreast seating doesn't sound like many peoples' cup of tea.

North of the US border, Canada's WestJet will be taking a huge step as its pilots voted in favor of unionization (22:25) under the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA). Will its flight attendants be next?

Back on US soil, Donald Trump has expressed interest in privatizing Air Traffic Control (29:00). What could this spell for US aviation, and who may be against the idea?

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Jun 7, 2017

Vinay and Rohan kick off the show discussing the fact that Air India is still in growth mode (2:05) and will be expanding in Scandinavia, not to mention stated intentions to grow in the U.S., thanks to the electronics ban that has affected Gulf competitors operating to the U.S. Will Air India fill the remaining void for the underserved nonstop U.S. - India markets?

They then move on to discuss the great "Terminal Shuffle" at LAX airport (12:58) last month went relatively smoothly, which we talk about in greater depth, since this was precipitated by Delta and its desire to become closer to SkyTeam partners at LAX.

Alaska will begin services to Seattle's Paine Field (22:25) in the fall of 2018, starting with 9 daily services. What does this mean for Alaska, now that it will be operating at two airports in the same metropolitan region, not to mention its home city? Finally, Vinay and Rohan give their updated take on the infamous electronics ban and the potential for it to expand to Europe (30:30).

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Jun 2, 2017
It's been some time, but Vinay and Rohan lend their thoughts on the UA 3411 incident with Dr. David Dao, along with some commentary on some minor follow-up stories that have taken place since (2:32). Next, WestJet is launching an ultra-low cost carrier - WestJet Lite? WestJet Encore Minus? What are the implications (15:10). Emirates is doing what was unthinkable three years ago: cutting US capacity in wake of the electronics travel ban (27:19) - or is it? Finally, Jet Airways is growing again, leveraging its burgeoning relationship with Air France - KLM and Delta in Europe (34:33). 
 
Bonus: Rohan and Vinay discuss the new kick-starter campaign to help us get HUGE on Indiegogo, along with some of Vinay's, "thoughts" on Chris Christie's aviation policy. 
 
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May 17, 2017

At the suggestion of listener Tak Wong, Vinay and Rohan discuss aviation in the Bay Area, covering San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. They begin the episode talking about United's growing hub at SFO (4:00), before moving on to cover new foreign carrier services from SFO to various points around the world (6:20). They then move on to discuss the secondary airports at San Jose (12:00) and Oakland (15:00). The episode concludes with thoughts on whether the growth in Bay Area air travel is sustainable through the next dot-com bust or tech industry recession (17:00). 

May 3, 2017

Alaska Airlines is adding routes out of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and many places in between to points North, South, East, and West. This week, Vinay and Rohan discuss the new additions (2:00) and what the logic is behind the new routes and capacity changes given the new assets and fleet that the combined carrier will leverage (6:00). In particular, they take note of many of the new red-eye and trans-con routes (14:20) that Alaska is adding that indicate how Alaska is building a network differently than Virgin would have. Finally, they talk about Alaska's decision to keep its Dallas Love Field gates (18:30), which has been the talk of the town.

Apr 25, 2017

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Rohan and Vinay kick off the show discussing the abysmal April for US carriers beginning with Delta's 4-day operational meltdown (2:10) which lead to thousands of canceled flights after its Atlanta hub was throttled by bad weather. Was it REALLY as bad as the media said it was, or was it simply "schadenfreude" for people wanting to chastise the widget for its, "on-time machine" hubris? United is pulling Tokyo - Seoul and shifting 737s from its Guam base to the U.S. mainland (15:50), further decreasing its intra-Asia footprint. Ryanair's, "Always Getting Better" program will now include connecting flights and other customer-friendly perks - and no, this was not an April Fool's joke (28:40). Finally, Norwegian heads West of the Rocky Mountains to launch services to Denver and Seattle. Better get started on that flannel-themed 787, stat. 

 

Apr 20, 2017

United's revenue underperformance versus its peers is now front and center, thanks to Scott Kirby's transition to United and greater transparency on levers the carrier is pulling to improve its unit revenues relative to Delta and American. But why is United lagging, despite having hubs in some of the largest and wealthiest U.S. cities (1:10)? Vinay's theory: the carrier is over-exposed to the volatilities of a large international network that could be off-set if the carrier were to re-allocate capacity back to its domestic hubs (3:00). In this network beat episode, Vinay outlines his thesis (which is a complement to his article, "United Should Cut Back International Flying to Fund Domestic Growth," which published in Airways digital on April 5, 2017) and Rohan asks a few clarifying questions. For the revenue management and network planning geeks, this is an episode you will not want to miss!

Apr 13, 2017
 
It's time to put the issue du jour to rest with a brief discussion of the #LeggingsGate situation (1:43). Once they're done poking fun at Lululemon, Vinay and Rohan move onto more pressing topics, namely Delta and Korean Air's proposed Joint Venture Agreement (8:30), which will (finally) give Delta the fortress hub of its dreams in North Asia, after years of head-wringing. And the transpacific partnership plot thickened further with American's new $200 million stake in China Southern Airlines (33:30), hopefully a sign that OneWorld will be able to ante-up its position in mainland China relative to SkyTeam and Star Alliance. Back home, Frontier has come clean with its IPO plans (44:40) which may be the poorest-kept secret of 2017.
Apr 3, 2017

Vinay and Rohan kick off this week's episode by discussing the electronics ban on flights from certain Middle Eastern countries to the US and UK (2:40). Does this mean that Vinay won't be able to take selfies on his iPad on certain airlines despite getting Global Entry? While on the subject of UK-based carriers, the two discuss the business case for IAG's new Barcelona-based long-haul, low-cost carrier, "LEVEL," (23:32) and what impact will it have alongside the other North Atlantic, "disruptor" LCCs taking the skies by storm in summer 2017? Meanwhile, across the ocean, IAG's JV partner American Airlines had some words for Wall Street Analysts, spearheaded by CEO Doug Parker admonishing that investors are taking "too narrow" of a view on airline RASM performance (36:15). Finally, a star has fallen - somewhat - with Cathay Pacific in the red (45:30). How can Thai be profitable while Cathay is not?

Mar 22, 2017

As a companion to Vinay's two-part series featured on www.airwaysmag.com, "The Rise, Fall and Eventual Resurgence of the Middle East's Airline Giants," Rohan and Vinay discuss all things Gulf-Aviation in a unique special on the MEB3 and Turkish Airlines. They kick things off by talking about the "rise" of Emirates, Etihad, Qatar and Turkish thanks to political will and pro-aviation government establishments relative to their peer countries (5:00). But in today's world, low oil prices, the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, Brexit, political strife and changing nationalist attitudes around the globe are cutting holes in the business model of these four carriers, which is dissected in the "fall" section of the episode (22:50). But the future is anything but bleak: new aircraft is on the way, with suppliers like Boeing and Airbus eager to work with the MEB3 and adjustments to be made on the commercial roadmap, there will eventually be a resurgence (41:00) of the MEB3 as well.

Mar 10, 2017
Vinay and Rohan head west to discuss airport changes in Europe, Latin America and North America. In Europe, they start off in Stockholm (1:31) and make their way through the Continent, while also covering Russia and Turkey (you can look forward to hearing Vinay school Rohan on Russian airport pronunciations). Next, they make the long jump across the Atlantic to cover Latin America (38:25) beginning with Rohan's favorite country, Chile. Then they'll travel up north, inching closer to the U.S. border before chiming in on Mexico, particularly in context of the Trump administration and the implications on passenger numbers and the Mexican aviation industry. After making their way around the world, they finally land back in the good 'ol US of A (55:00) and cover airports from Sea to Shining Sea. Oh, and they do conclude on a Canadian note, eh (1:21:00).
Mar 1, 2017

Vinay and Rohan invite you to join them a special two-part series featuring airport traffic changes from around the world. This week, we hit up Oceania, Asian, African and Middle Eastern airports that experienced the most salient passenger traffic adjustments. We'll not only provide objective data on the numerical changes, but also our insight and analyses explaining the trends. We start off in Oceania (4:05) wrapping up in Auckland and landing in Mumbai (11:02) and covering the Subcontinent. Next, we'll cover the largest connecting market from South Asia, aka the Middle East (23:36) with a unique take on Iran's traffic developments with a split-airport strategy. Heading South, we briefly cover Africa (38:00) then loop East to Southeast Asia (41:00) and North Asia (1:02:04). We conclude by covering the mysterious, yet fascinating People's Republic of China (1:09:15). We'll bring you part II next week!

 

For a limited time only, Airways Podcast listeners get 15% off their first Cranky Concierge travel support package. Visit https://crankyconcierge.com/airways to take advantage of this special offer through March 15th. 

Feb 23, 2017
This week, Vinay and Rohan conclude their synopsis of the Q4 and FY 2016 earnings with coverage of airline earnings. But first, a bonus gift for our listeners: learn how you can get 15% off of Cranky Flier's Cranky Concierge travel service (1:55). In the core segment, they head to Seattle to talk about Alaska Airlines' earnings results (4:45) during the quarter in which its merger with Virgin America. They then move across the coast to the District to slice and dice the major takeaways of Donald Trumps' meeting with major U.S. carrier CEOs. Finally, they hop onto a 787-10 (maybe someday, or at least an A350-900ULR from Newark/New York in the near future) to Singapore to talk about SIA's large Boeing order for the 787-10 and 777X.
Feb 15, 2017

For this week's bonus segment of Airways Deep Dive, co-producers Vinay Bhaskara and Rohan Anand head to Abu Dhabi (virtually) to assess the evolving mosaic of Etihad's partially-owned equity partners. If you've been out of the loop, they'll provide you an overview of Etihad's ownership strategy (2:05) including the recent partnership with long-time foe, Lufthansa Group. Rohan challenges Vinay to give his take on the "scattered" partnerships that Etihad has created around the world (7:42) and where the cracks started (hint: both start with "A" and have reincarnated several times). Does Etihad have its hands in too many pots? The two decide whether this is the case in the context of CEO James Hogan's departure in the latter half of 2017 (30:28) and forecast how growth and network development will evolve as the carrier expects over 100+ aircraft to come through the next decade. 

Feb 8, 2017

Your Airways Podcast duo Vinay Bhaskara and Rohan Anand continue their coverage of the Q4 and FY 2016 earnings reports for American (2:25), Southwest Airlines (18:42) and JetBlue (28:18). Extending beyond the usual humdrum of strong earnings, we analyze and dissect attributes unique to each airline, and baseline them against broader trends in the industry, to create our interpretation on revenue forecasts, Wall Street reactions and potential customer perceptions. For the route gurus, we did a hybrid of network beat and core, where we do a rapid fire on new route developments (36:10) like Air India to Washington, Finnair's A340 retirements, Aer Lingus to Las Vegas, Frontier's growth in Cincinnati and Cleveland and more. 

Jan 31, 2017

We head to Iceland this week in the Network Beat bonus segment of the Airways Podcast, where Creator and Co-Founders Vinay Bhaskara and Rohan Anand dissect the Whos, Whats and WOWs of Islandia.  We start by delving into the strategic importance of Rekjavic's Keflavik International airport (1:30), paying close attention to the capacity breakdown at KEF and its unique connecting model as a transit and stoppover point between Europe and North America. We'll then discuss Icelandair (6:40), the largest carrier at KEF airport with over 50% of the market share, its innovative and FREE "stoppover program," and the future of its network and commercial strategy with the 737-MAX entering the fleet later this decade to replace its workhorse 757s. We compare this to WOW Air (11:55), comparing the use of larger, widebody and Airbus-exclusive fleet. The remainder of the episode, we'll do some additional compare and contrasts on the successes, threats and opportunities for Icelandair and WOW, and how these two will vie for similar types of traffic flows but with one utilizing a hybrid model and the other as a fully un-bundled LCC.

Jan 27, 2017

This week Airways Senior Business Analyst Vinay Bhaskara and columnist Rohan Anand kick-off the first Airways podcast of 2017, starting with in-depth coverage of the Q4 and FY earnings reports for Delta (1:42) and United (19:47), who posted their results during the earlier half of the month. No conversation of the Big Three in the U.S. can take place without bringing up American Airlines, who, despite not reporting Quarterly and Fiscal Year results at the time of recording, had still taken headlines with the details of its new Basic Economy product (33:52). Finally, the duo decided to stay in the contiguous 48 this week and concluded on a somber note by discussing the retirement of United's 747-400 fleet by the end of 2017 (50:37). 

Dec 27, 2016

*RE-UPLOAD TO CORRECT FILE ERROR* This week Airways Senior Business Analyst Vinay Bhaskara and columnist Rohan Anand conclude 2016 by recapping the top stories of year. The team discusses various leadership changes within the industry (1:42), major labor deals reached throughout the year (4:43), the breakup between Alaska and Delta (8:34), Delta's codeshare agreement with Korean Air (10:34), the DOJ's changing position on joint ventures (12:41), new international service launched during the year (17:24), security problems and terror threats (21:03), product improvements (22:12), Delta's Bombardier C-Series order and interesting aircraft/routes to fly (23:12), and a fun wrap-up (31:50).

Dec 15, 2016

This week in the Network Beat bonus segment of the Airways Podcast, Airways Senior Business Analyst Vinay Bhaskara and Columnist Rohan Anand discuss Qantas' new London-Perth route debuting in 2018 (0:14), and the potential for the route to be transformative (4:41).

Dec 15, 2016

This week Airways Senior Business Analyst Vinay Bhaskara and columnist Rohan Anand discuss the DOJ granting its stamp of approval for the Alaska/Virgin America merger (1:20), the DOT clearing Norwegian Air International to grow long-haul service in the United States (12:56), Avianca seeking out a joint venture partner (23:28), and President-Elect Donald Trump criticizing Boeing for the price of Air Force One (34:12).

Dec 2, 2016

This week in the Network Beat bonus segment of the Airways Podcast, Airways Senior Business Analyst Vinay Bhaskara and Columnist Rohan Anand discuss Aeroflot looking into potential joint ventures (0:28), the fading importance of airline alliances (0:36), and where Aeroflot is going (1:27).

Dec 2, 2016

This week in the Deep Dive bonus segment of the Airways Podcast, Airways Senior Business Analyst Vinay Bhaskara and Columnist Rohan Anand discuss Thai Airways International, providing an overview of the carrier (1:27) and discussing what is going on at Thai (3:57). 

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