Last updated: 04:53 PM ET, Mon August 31 2015

Tidbits From the Boyd Group Aviation Summit

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | August 31, 2015

Tidbits From the Boyd Group Aviation Summit

LAS VEGAS – Some tidbits from the Boyd Group 20th annual International Aviation Forecast Summit.


With drones being all the rage at the moment, Michael Boyd, CEO of the Boyd Group, said don’t expect the idea of unmanned aircraft to fizzle. “This is going to be more than just watching crops,” Boyd said. “(Unmanned aircraft) might actually run cargo and it might change how we do business across the world.”


Not “it,” but IT. Information technology. “United spends $1 billion a year in non-airline capital and most of it is in IT,” said Jim Compton, United’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer, to Michael Boyd during a Q&A session. Compton added that much of this expense is used to give employees better tools to work with, seen when  all flight attendants were outfitted with an iPhone 6+ last year.


‘Mint’ has been JetBlue’s version of a luxury experience, with fully flat seating, newer, fresher dining options and revitalizing amenities. How important has the new service been to the airline? JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said this morning that flight attendants who work the Airbus A-321 aircraft that have the Mint experience are required to train for two extra weeks.


Speaking of the A321, Virgin America CEO David Cush said his airline is “tremendously interested” in the aircraft ... Cush also said he doesn’t believe the recent slight dip in airfares will hold, saying the monopoly of the big three airlines and Southwest’s stranglehold on Dallas’ Love Field — where Virgin has been waging war for more gates — will spell a quick end to falling fares … Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza was scheduled to speak today but remained back at the company’s Miramar, Fla. headquarters due to the possibility of disruption from the hurricane.

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