Tailwinds to Push Profits for Airlines

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Passengers at Philadelphia Int'l Airport Dec 11 Janel Forte/Medill Reports
Passengers at Philadelphia Int’l Airport Dec 11 Janel Forte/Medill Reports

By: Janel Forte

This has been one heck of a year for the airline industry.

Through the year’s first nine months, earnings at every major carrier have risen. The year-end numbers due out soon will confirm what the industry, and Wall Street, already expect: the upward trend isn’t likely to be ending anytime soon.

The industry is benefiting from declining fuel prices, strong demand and — thanks to consolidation among players — the absence of the kind of profit busting price wars that once plagued the airline sector.

Continue reading “Tailwinds to Push Profits for Airlines”

Boeing shares look ready for takeoff in 2015

By Janel Forte 

Boeing Headquarters in downtown Chicao Janel Forte/Medill News Service
Boeing Headquarters in downtown Chicago. Janel Forte/Medill News Service

Boeing Co. looks like it’s going to cruise right into 2015.

The Chicago-based aerospace giant is the beneficiary of a sustained cyclical boom in demand for commercial aircraft.   That boom is being driven by a variety of factors, including Boeing’s successful rollout of the high profile 787 Dreamliner and other fuel-efficient planes.

The 787’s huge development costs burdened earlier years’ profits, and the aircraft ran into a variety of embarrassing problems in the early phase of its entry into the market. But those issues are now in the past.

At the same time, Boeing’s customers – airlines around the world – are reaping a big financial windfall as plummeting oil prices reduce their jet-fuel costs. It seems likely that if those trends remain in place, Boeing shares could be well on the way to returning to their 52-week high of just over $144 in the upcoming year.

Continue reading “Boeing shares look ready for takeoff in 2015”

State’s minimum wage referendum approved, so now …?

SEIU Minimum Wage Raise supporters at Gov. Pat Quinn's election night party. Janel Forte/Medill
SEIU Minimum Wage Raise supporters at Gov. Pat Quinn’s election night party. Janel Forte/Medill

By Janel Forte

The voters of Illinois have spoken on a hike in the minimum wage. Now what?

In Tuesday’s election, 63 percent of voters responded “yes” to a non-binding referendum question asking whether the minimum wage in Illinois should be raised from $8.25 to $10.00.

But state voters separately made another decision on Tuesday, one that casts a shadow over prospects for the proposal: The state’s most prominent supporter of a higher minimum wage has been Gov. Pat Quinn – the hike was the cornerstone for his re-election campaign – but in a tight race, the Democratic incumbent was ousted by Republican businessman Bruce Rauner.

Now, Quinn is vowing to push the bill through before he leaves office — and some political handicappers predict he’ll be able to pull off such an end run.

Continue reading “State’s minimum wage referendum approved, so now …?”

United Continental quarterly profit doubles as fuel prices decline

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United Airlines’ customer service desk at O’Hare International Airport on Sunday, Oct. 19   Janel Forte/Medill

By Janel Forte

United Continental Holdings, Inc., said its quarterly profit more than doubled as it reaped the benefits of lower fuel and other costs, and increased revenue from fees for checked baggage, early boarding, and seat upgrades. Continue reading “United Continental quarterly profit doubles as fuel prices decline”

United Airlines Looks to New Tech Boss to Fix Problems

Linda Jojo
Linda Jojo, United Continental Holdings Inc.’s new Chief Information Officer Source: Rogers Communication

By:  Janel Forte
United Continental Holdings, Inc. is looking to ground its longtime reputation for embarrassing technical snafus.

The Chicago-based airline’s problems date back to United Airlines’ 2010 merger with Continental Airlines.  Combining the two rivals’ extremely incompatible computer systems has turned out to be much more difficult than anyone imagined. The still-to-be-completed systems integration has spawned a series of embarrassing and costly problems for the combined carrier. Continue reading “United Airlines Looks to New Tech Boss to Fix Problems”