Sky Talk

Five things to watch in 2015


Happy New Year!

And as we welcome another year, let’s take a look at the five things we’ll be watching in 2015.

-The most complicated part of any airline merger is combining passenger reservation systems. American Airlines and US Airways are scheduled to put their two systems together in the fall of 2015 and we will all be waiting to see if the technology transfer goes smoothly like Delta-Northwest’s did or if passengers will have delayed flights and check-in problems like United-Continental.

-Labor issues at American and Southwest will be a focus for management at both airlines next year. At American, it is hoping to have all of its labor groups under joint collective bargaining agreements by the end of 2015 but with mechanics and ground workers still undecided about representation that contract talks could be a long process. And at Southwest, some union workers say management is now putting profits before people. Will the LUV airline be successful in negotiating new contracts with its pilots, flight attendants and ground workers next year?

-How low can it go? Oil prices continue to plummet and that means jet fuel is the cheapest it’s been in years. For airlines like American and United who do not hedge their fuel costs, it could be a boon to their bottom lines.

-By next October, it should be evident on how the lifting of the Wright Amendment restrictions has affected the North Texas travel market. Will Love Field reach its maximum capacity and will DFW see a drop in its domestic passenger growth? And will consumers continue to see a fare war between American and Southwest on selected routes?

-DFW Airport has continued to add new international destinations and increased its capacity on international routes the past several years. But will the airport be able to continue growing international in the double-digits? American plans to add Beijing next year and VivaAerobus is initiating service to three Mexican destinations. Who is next on the list?