Kirby on CNBC

Old May 20, 20, 6:53 am
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Kirby on CNBC

Kirby just did an interview on CNBC. My notes:

- Seeing pent up demand for both business and leisure travel
- Mid April was bottom, was 10,000 customers then, 35,000 now
- Putting 30-40 larger aircraft on each day to address demand and distancing. Notifying customers of 70%+ load factors, offering free changes
- More important to get customers with need to travel accommodated rather than block seats
- Not expecting major price increases. Expects increased efficiency to offset increased costs.
- UA is flying 40 cargo only flights a day
- Prefers to keep employees on part time vs. layoff so as not to lose knowledge when recovery comes. Pilot and FA unions have to decide whether to reduce line minimums.
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Old May 20, 20, 7:33 am
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Originally Posted by glbltvlr View Post
Kirby just did an interview on CNBC. My notes:

- Seeing pent up demand for both business and leisure travel
- Mid April was bottom, was 10,000 customers then, 35,000 now
- Putting 30-40 larger aircraft on each day to address demand and distancing. Notifying customers of 70%+ load factors, offering free changes
- More important to get customers with need to travel accommodated rather than block seats
- Not expecting major price increases. Expects increased efficiency to offset increased costs.
- UA is flying 40 cargo only flights a day
- Prefers to keep employees on part time vs. layoff so as not to lose knowledge when recovery comes. Pilot and FA unions have to decide whether to reduce line minimums.
That was quite a home office setup he had.

More importantly, he did sound a little bit more optimistic to me than he did in recent investor presentations and the Q1 earnings release. Hopefully the optimism is not misplaced, but my impression of Kirby is that he's forthright and honest - sometimes brutally - in his assessment on things.
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Old May 20, 20, 7:36 am
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Originally Posted by BasedinCLE View Post
More importantly, he did sound a little bit more optimistic to me than he did in recent investor presentations and the Q1 earnings release. Hopefully the optimism is not misplaced, but my impression of Kirby is that he's forthright and honest - sometimes brutally - in his assessment on things.
Yes. A lot of times it's more the tone that's more important than the actual words, and I was surprised at the positive tone.
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Old May 20, 20, 7:41 am
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Well, glad to see up is up. Not much, but its something.
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Old May 20, 20, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by PreMerger View Post
Well, glad to see up is up. Not much, but its something.
Yes, international demand is going to be driven by quarantine rules and there's no clear vision to when that will happen in a meaningful amount. And then even if it does open a little this summer, the potential for a second wave in the fall will make people reluctant to book.
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Old May 20, 20, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by glbltvlr View Post
Kirby just did an interview on CNBC. My notes:

- Seeing pent up demand for both business and leisure travel
- Mid April was bottom, was 10,000 customers then, 35,000 now
- Putting 30-40 larger aircraft on each day to address demand and distancing. Notifying customers of 70%+ load factors, offering free changes
- More important to get customers with need to travel accommodated rather than block seats
- Not expecting major price increases. Expects increased efficiency to offset increased costs.
- UA is flying 40 cargo only flights a day
- Prefers to keep employees on part time vs. layoff so as not to lose knowledge when recovery comes. Pilot and FA unions have to decide whether to reduce line minimums.
At some point, UA has to start adding flights and not simply rely on up-gauging to provide capacity. No airline is going to keep it's regular customers by flying only 10% of its planned schedule, no matter the size of the aircraft.
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Old May 20, 20, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by JimInOhio View Post
At some point, UA has to start adding flights and not simply rely on up-gauging to provide capacity. No airline is going to keep it's regular customers by flying only 10% of its planned schedule, no matter the size of the aircraft.
Well its regular customers aren't flying!
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Old May 20, 20, 8:44 am
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Originally Posted by JimInOhio View Post
At some point, UA has to start adding flights and not simply rely on up-gauging to provide capacity. No airline is going to keep it's regular customers by flying only 10% of its planned schedule, no matter the size of the aircraft.
The July schedule will be about 2x the current schedule, and UA is adding to the June schedule each week. For May, lots of upgauges are already in the schedule this week, including more pax widebodies on DEN-IAH (789), DEN-ORD (77G), EWR-IAH (77W), EWR-LAX (787) and IAH-SFO (789) on various days. EWR-DEN and some other hub-hub flights are seeing widebody upgauges too.

Regular 753 service is coming to EWR-DEN and ORD-SFO starting tomorrow, plus more random upgauges on lots of other routes closer to day of departure.
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Old May 20, 20, 9:43 am
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Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
The July schedule will be about 2x the current schedule, and UA is adding to the June schedule each week. For May, lots of upgauges are already in the schedule this week, including more pax widebodies on DEN-IAH (789), DEN-ORD (77G), EWR-IAH (77W), EWR-LAX (787) and IAH-SFO (789) on various days. EWR-DEN and some other hub-hub flights are seeing widebody upgauges too.

Regular 753 service is coming to EWR-DEN and ORD-SFO starting tomorrow, plus more random upgauges on lots of other routes closer to day of departure.
For clarification, are you saying July will be 2X the number of flights or 2X the number of seats? Thx
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Old May 20, 20, 10:01 am
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Originally Posted by JimInOhio View Post
For clarification, are you saying July will be 2X the number of flights or 2X the number of seats? Thx
Unclear exactly what it will be, but right now UA is flying about 12% of its pre-COVID schedule. The guidance yesterday is that United will fly about 25% of the originally-filed July schedule on an ASM basis, so that will probably be a mix of more flights and bigger airplanes, as we see larger equipment coming back into the fold.
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Old May 20, 20, 11:14 am
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I thought Kirby was more like a politician the way he danced around tough questions. Like his answer about blocking middle seats. His answer that they would contact passengers and give them an option to change flights if the middle seat(s) were being filled on their flight. Big deal! So my now one non-stop flight a day TPA-EWR will have middle seats filled and I can change to tomorrow (might be the same situation) or I could spend 10 hours going via IAH-ORD one way, any of those flights also might being in the same situation. (I get to IAH and the ORD flight has full middle seats-so I'm trapped). This is a response by UA that just does not work.
<rant off>
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Old May 20, 20, 11:32 am
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"Will come out of this a more efficient airline"

Those words to me means cuts.
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Old May 20, 20, 11:35 am
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Originally Posted by dinoscool3 View Post
Well its regular customers aren't flying!

Some of us can't find flights for where we need to go!
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Old May 20, 20, 11:36 am
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Originally Posted by bhunt View Post
"Will come out of this a more efficient airline"

Those words to me means cuts.
Obviously massive cuts ahead. It has been refreshing to see the proactive communication to employees to try to get ahead of the cuts ahead. When the cuts come in October - perhaps even Chapter 11 for all the airlines - nobody should be surprised.

Although I suspect - as the cuts start to come - there will be a lot of FT threads shocked/surprised at cuts on all the airline threads.
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Old May 20, 20, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by JimInOhio View Post
At some point, UA has to start adding flights and not simply rely on up-gauging to provide capacity. No airline is going to keep it's regular customers by flying only 10% of its planned schedule, no matter the size of the aircraft.
Originally Posted by dinoscool3 View Post
Well its regular customers aren't flying!
Bit circular. I will need to travel at some point. If United involves an indirect routing, long layover, and/or crowded planes, then I am more inclined to spend the day driving instead.
Doesn't apply to TCON obviously, but each customer will be evaluating options.
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