photo by James WillamorRobert Fornaro, AirTran's CEO, was recently interviewed by the Associated Press. He mentioned how the airline had faced a troubling time last year when oil prices shot up. But in the first quarter of 2009, despite a weak economy and lowered travel demand, AirTran managed to post a profit. I'll post a clip from the interview at the end of this post, and more can be read in the original article, but here are some interesting points:
- He doesn't see further consolidation, at least for a while: " Clearly we've seen Northwest and Delta come together, but I'm not sure we're going to see another merger over the next two or three years. The financial condition of the carriers now is weak, and there's probably some real big issues that need to be resolved with the labor contracts."
- Even though AirTran attempted a hostile takeover of Midwest Airlines a few years ago, Fornaro (who has been in the top job for a year) is moving away from acquisitions: "We now feel that we can be much more successful going in on our own. Over the next two years, thinking about acquisitions will be very very low on our priority list."
- How did AirTran responded to the economic crisis? "We stepped back, we reassessed our operation, we adjusted our capacity and obviously managed our costs and have very quickly rebounded."