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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. When did Parker say he was being “saddled” with planes? If he said it, he quickly changed his mind, because US Airways management made no effort to renegotiate those orders when it effectively bought AA out of bankruptcy.

    Parker sometimes gets criticized for the extra debt being carried as a result of the new fleet, but most of the more successful Wall Street analysts say it’s a good financial move, because the debt is backed by valuable real assets and the interest rate on these loans is very low.

    I’m not an accountant or an airplane lease expert, so I can’t offer a definitive opinion on this subject, but anyone who thinks Parker is some rube about these things is foolish. He has consistently used “finance tricks” to outmaneuver his competitors. Like Delta, United and Southwest all lost billions on fuel hedges, before deciding that Parker was right about them (basically, the brokerage houses almost always won on these bets regardless of which way fuel prices moved).

    So if Parker says the new planes make good financial sense, I think it might be wise to believe him. Cynicism isn’t always a winning investment strategy. Relying on proven results usually is.

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