AirTran's CEO says airline can remain profitable

Robert 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."


Anonymous said...


I just got home from flying Airtran. This is pathetic:

Flying from Orlando back home to Chicago on 6/13. The woman at customer service said my bag was 62 1/2'; the limit was 62 inches. She said I was going to have to pay another $40 to check this bag. You see, the front pocktes (which were empty, so were holding air) were sticking out. She acknowledged this.

Note: This is the SAME bag I flew to Orlando with on Airtran; no issues at all.

She gave me the option of 'going to the store around the corner to buy tape to tape it down'.

She said this WITH A STRAIGHT FACE WITH A ROLL OF TAPE NEXT TO HER COMPUTER! I asked her if I could use that tape, she said 'No'. I went to the store around the corner - and NO TAPE.

I asked to talk to the Manager. I told the Manager that this was the same bag I brought on Air Tran on the way to Orlando. She said 'did they measure it?'. I replied 'I do not know, but I know it weighs less now'. She snipped back 'Thats not what I asked you. I asked you DID THEY MEASURE IT?'

By this time I was close to missing my flight so I had to pay $40 for 1/2 inch of a pocket holding air.

Congratulations Airtran! You made $40 and lost a customer for life.