What Is Important: Crowded Airplanes and Bloomberg Billionaire Winners


Record Air Traffic This Summer

For those who do not have to travel by air this summer - don't. The number of seats filled will hit near-record levels. Airports will be crowed, in many cases where temperatures are high. The lines will be longer. And flight delays will be more likely than at any time in memory. According to trade group Airlines for America, the economic recovery has helped the airline industry, but:

… more people will fly this summer than a year ago, and a record number of passengers will fly internationally. A4A said it expects U.S. airlines will carry close to 209 million passengers globally from June through August, an increase of 1 percent from the same period in 2012. The system-wide summer estimate includes 27 million international passengers, a record number for U.S. airlines.

This marks the largest summer volume for U.S. airlines since 2008, when more than 210 million traveled. The all-time high was summer 2007, when more than 217 million people took to the skies on U.S. airlines. A4A further noted that the busiest travel days are expected to be Thursdays and Fridays between the middle of June and the first week of August.

Bloomberg Billionaires Shuffle

In the battle of the billionaire lists, Forbes has held the high ground for years. Now, Bloomberg Billionaires has taken a prominent spot in media coverage. That was boosted yesterday when the disgraced news service announced that Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) founder Bill Gates had moved ahead of Mexican telecom giant Carlos Slim. The net worth of Gates is at $72.7 billion, and for Slim it is $72.1 billion. Since the Bloomberg Billionaires list changes daily, Gates may not hold his position for long. The balance of the top ten on the list has the usual suspects, at least among America's super rich. At $59.2 billion, Warren Buffett sits in third place. Filthy rich conservative brothers Charles and David Koch have $55.2 billion. Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) founder and America Cup patron Larry Ellison has a $41.6 billion net worth. And Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) founder Sam Walton's children Christy and Jim have $36.1 billion. When the Forbes list comes out, the Bloomberg one will be forgotten - at least for a day.

European Auto Sales

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association reported that regionwide car sales rose for the first time in a year and a half:

In April, the EU market of new passenger cars grew for the first time (+1.7%) since September 2011. The region counted on average two more working days compared to the same month last year, which would account for the increase. In absolute figures, it is the third lowest level of new registrations for a month of April, with the historic low for April reached in 2012 (1,021,358 units). A total of 1,038,343 units was recorded in the EU in April this year, or 1.7% more compared to the low level of April last year.

The region's economic superpower helped:

In April, results were varied across markets. Looking at the major ones, Germany (+3.8%), Spain (+10.8%) and the UK (+14.8%) expanded, while France (-5.3%) and Italy (-10.8%) faced a downturn.

The dog of the region continued to be General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), which loses hundreds of millions of dollars in Europe each quarter. Sales of its models dropped 4.5% in April to 79,686. Its major rival, Volkswagen, had a good month. Sales rose 9.9% to 274,925.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Market Open Tagged: featured, GM, MSFT, ORCL, WMT