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Aer Lingus suspends pilots & ops (merged)

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Aer Lingus suspends pilots & ops (merged)

Old 5th Jun 2002, 11:45
  #201 (permalink)  
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Thank you Shadowpurser and I agree that the Independent report was not good.

IDUNNO may be interested to hear of my most recent trip to Ireland. I had not visited the country in more than 14 years. When I was married to an Irish woman we used both EI and BA.

In April 2000, I had a short trip come up and decided to try out Ryan from my local airport, LTN. The experience was so unpleasant that I shall never use Ryan again and advise any who ask to do likewise. That said, I am a fan of both EZY and GO.

I regret the way in which the airline business has got itself into a corner over costs. Having worked in commerce for 22 years (across a range of industries and in differrent countries) I know how cost control works. I also know the way in which management can treat long serving and loyal members of staff. It is no comfort to you that what you are experiencing, is something that has been happening for the last 12 years in general commerce. How the airlines have survived so long ... well, that is another thread!

As to my lack of understanding of how the airline business operates, I have a nephew who is a Captain (not in the UK).

As to my understanding of being a PAX, I have been travelling as one for 36 years.
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Old 5th Jun 2002, 14:21
  #202 (permalink)  
 
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sod the lot of you. Any time a union strikes it is over saftey - the public care about saftey, they dont care about people trying to hold out for uneconomic employment conditions. Aer Lingus have 2 problems that are preventing it from becoming profitable and expanding. The first is the unions. Face it, you have no public support. even if this is over saftey, the saftey exuse has worn very thin over the years with to many unions. Also Pilots have to be the highest paid unionised workforce. continuation of the seniority list vs the prevailing meritocricy method employed in the rest of the world does not endeer yourselves to the public mindset. While many of you earn 30-40K (GBP) the public image is of well tanned flyboys, earning 100+ and driving fast cars. I think it is often forgotten that you are little more than highly qualified bus drivers or min cab drivers, going from point to point on predetermined routes. Now I fly a lot and respect your proffesion, but I dont respect being left in the lurch at an airport and having to postpone, cancel or lose face over a deal. If Aer Lingus goes bust, you will only be missed by a few - Delta will increase service, as will BMI and BA. the flag carriers from other countries will pick up the slack. Oh and lets not forget ryan, ez and co. If the numbers quoted in the independant are correct then that is shocking 537 pilots for 33 planes. divide by 2 for a pilot and an FO, thats 250 + thats still over 7 full crews per plane. Do you want the airline to have a slow death or a quick one - either way you oposition to economic reality is startling.

Second, the stop in shannon - purely political and quite unnessasary, maybe BA should stop in MAN on the way to LA

Jon
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Old 5th Jun 2002, 15:09
  #203 (permalink)  
 
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jongar, such an eloquent and informed response!

Ryanair doesn't do long-haul, your numbers mean nothing. Your insults are uncalled for and your comment about respecting our profession is lost in your immature attitude.
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Old 5th Jun 2002, 15:34
  #204 (permalink)  
 
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I think the earlier post was a rather rude and parochial dismissal of a purportedly exterior view of our industry to Mr PAXboy and uncalled for to say the least. What is difficult for outsiders to realise is that flying aeroplanes is a profession surrounded by mystery and jealousy. The long, arduous and intensive training that a pilot undergoes is not evident to the casual observer. The perception is all too often of the primadonna Porsche driving ladies man who sits at the front of the plane reading the paper and pressing whatever button the computer tells us to. If something goes wrong we simply reboot the system and recover Windows. Right?

Well ,if it is then investment banking is throwing darts into the share pages of the FT and buying whichever stock gets hit, heart surgery is master butchery, web design can be done by anyone with a copy of Dreamweaver. If you find any of these parodies offensive to the professions to which they pertain, you will understand the frustrations of the pilot community.

Your overpaid Porsche driving womanising anti-hero, or in reality modest-meaned, I wish, one wife two kids, an aspiration to a house, school and health care for the family man has a job unlike any other. He/she has an awesome responsibility for the lives of hundreds of people, most of whom consider themselves invaluable. There are situations we face every single day when a decision must be made with great consequence. It cannot be delayed, Ďkicked upstairsí, delegated, wait for next weeks symposium, put it off to the Brighton conference, just phone Dave cause he knows, blame it on the CEO, ooh Iím just off for my break canít Sales deal with it? Itís your call, right now, and it wonít wait. The accuracy of your decision will either go unnoticed or result in the deaths of hundreds of people, maybe more on the ground, and will in many cases bankrupt the company, deprive your family of a father/mother, and in this day and age have your family sued for the roof over their heads.

You might expect that such and individual would be carefully chosen from a well-trained background and highly experienced over many years of safe airline flying. Well, they donít think so anymore. We deliver productivity everyday, by flying safely. We make judgements, we exercise discretion, we decline where we think itís unsafe. You might expect that such a highly qualified professional would be well rewarded. But the reality is that we suffer continuous attacks on our terms and conditions, we have to rely on our elected representatives to fight our corner. Management know that as committed professionals, we are almost powerless to fight them, and will simply keep taking the punishment. After all pilots are overpaid Porsche driving layabouts, arenít they? And we hate them with a vengeance.

Well there comes a time. All reasonable people have their limit, and the only way we have of getting the managementís undivided attention is what Aer Lingus pilots did last week.

Did that explain it?


Iíll take on the opposition anyday. Itís my management I canít beat!

Last edited by Roobarb; 5th Jun 2002 at 15:41.
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Old 5th Jun 2002, 16:22
  #205 (permalink)  
 
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YOU HAVE NOT LEARNED!

Guys and girls - come on!

Why are you allowing jongar to wind you up?

Did you not learn with the guvnor? This one is but a pale imitation, without the linguistic abilities and, (it hurts to say it), the intellectual ability of the recently departed 'TG'.

Leave jongar alone and he/she/it will drone off somewhere else. When he/she/it drones back again, just ignore it again. It works!

Incidentally, Roobarb - top post! I'm looking at putting web design on my CV!
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Old 5th Jun 2002, 16:59
  #206 (permalink)  
 
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To be compared to The Guvoner is a gross insult and in more enlightened times I would demand satisfaction. In lieu I may have taken your first born female as a bride. To have a go at my use of the queens language is also a trifle dubious. Sadly I work during the day and taking support calls from some of the morons who use our software can become intelectually tiring this may well dull what I hope is an otherwise satirical form of writing laced with barbs of truth and fact.

Unlike the guvoner I work for a living in an attempt to live a lifestyle i cant afford but non the less enjoy.

Roobarb. Yours was one of the more informed comments to read, and for that we are blessed. There are issues still outstanding. Not withsatnding the freedom of the press to massage numbers, is it tru that there are 537 pilots and FO for 33 planes. These numbers seem crazy. Are the numbers of cabin crew also as inflated ?

If they are true, then it can only be assumed that Aer Lingus needs to make changes
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Old 5th Jun 2002, 20:20
  #207 (permalink)  
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I don't think that Roobarb is trying to slap me down and will not take it as such. Correct me if I am wrong!

Roobarb does set out a very good set of examples as to why working folks do not undestand the pilot's point of view. This holds just as much for many working in the airline business!

One or two points ... "a purportedly exterior view of our industry to Mr PAXboy"
I have never worked in the airline biz and have no expectation of doings so - in any capacity.

"The long, arduous and intensive training that a pilot undergoes is not evident to the casual observer."
I agree. having seen my nephew go through it from the boy's dream when he was 12 to now being a captain and instructor, I am have been awestruck at what is involved.

"Well, if it is then investment banking is throwing darts into the share pages of the FT and buying whichever stock gets hit"
Having worked in the City - I think that you are spot on!

"There are situations we face every single day when a decision must be made with great consequence. It cannot be delayed, Ďkicked upstairsí, delegated, wait for next weeks symposium, put it off to the Brighton conference, just phone Dave cause he knows, blame it on the CEO, ooh Iím just off for my break canít Sales deal with it?"
This is the BEST way of describing the situation that I have ever heard. Having sat in the jump seat and watched the F/O (on that occasion) wrestle with the wind and driving rain on finals, I know that it cannot wait. I was fascinated to see at first hand the problem of having to counteract the angled wind to prevent crabbing onto the deck but, the moment the wheels touched, all of that correction had to be removed (gently) to prevent us from exploring the non-tarmac areas of the field. Pax have no idea.

"But the reality is that we suffer continuous attacks on our terms and conditions, we have to rely on our elected representatives to fight our corner. Management know that as committed professionals, we are almost powerless to fight them, and will simply keep taking the punishment."
In the course of my working life, I have had management believe what a machine was telling them, rather than me (I was later proved correct but it was too late). I have been made redundant at zero minutes notice and all the rest, so I am not in the dark about the 'skills' of management. I have seen trade union disputes and mgmt ones. I feel even handed about those two groupings!

"... undivided attention is what Aer Lingus pilots did last week."
Did that explain it?
Yep and in my first two posts I never said otherwise. I did say that all will lose and the reason I said that (but failed to state) is because mgmt will muck it up! The moment they laid you off for the next four days, it was all over and the chances of recovery must be slim.

Also, the politicians want to have a bite from the arse of people who cannot easily fight back. Airlines are always considered part of 'national pride' until reality arrives.

Did that explain my posts?
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Old 5th Jun 2002, 20:27
  #208 (permalink)  
 
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Do wish you wouldn't post things like that Roobarb. I'm now all of a tiz worrying about all the life and death decisions I'm going to have to make tomorrow, but more to the point all those that I apparently missed yesterday. Difficult deciding how much fuel to add to the plog for a start. Must rest now for at least 10 hrs. night night.
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Old 5th Jun 2002, 22:34
  #209 (permalink)  
 
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Jongar,

1. 447 pilots - 34 aircraft - 4 fleets
2. 2 year pay freeze
3. Deferrement of independent pay award Ä12m
4. Management have stopped all unpaid leave for pilots
5. Management have indicated not all pilots will not receive all Annual Leave this year
6. Pilots find out each friday what they're doing the following Monday

I am one of the pilots who has time after time stepped up to the plate, gone the extra yard, extended duty, taken min rest kept the operation going only to be shat on by a bunch of avoricious suits who thought we were a load of pussies and could be rolled over.

Jongar, put the bunny down and leave the room.
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Old 6th Jun 2002, 03:43
  #210 (permalink)  
 
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AMEN!!!

I am one of the pilots who has time after time stepped up to the plate, gone the extra yard, extended duty, taken min rest kept the operation going only to be shat on by a bunch of avaricious suits who thought we were a load of pussies and could be rolled over

You are in good company, matey. Spot on.


Iíll take on the opposition anyday. Itís my management I canít beat!
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Old 6th Jun 2002, 15:38
  #211 (permalink)  
 
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Maxfli,

1. 447 pilots - 34 aircraft - 4 fleets
2. 2 year pay freeze
3. Deferrement of independent pay award Ä12m
4. Management have stopped all unpaid leave for pilots
5. Management have indicated not all pilots will not receive all Annual Leave this year
6. Pilots find out each friday what they're doing the following Monday

Thnakyou for taking the time to post the correct information. It is far easier to be objective, when you have the facts.

Sadly, that still works out at 6.57 2 man crews per plane. That does sound very high. A 2 year pay freeze in unfourtunate, I however had to take a pay cut when my company went into trouble. You will get very little sympathy from the public at the moment. the defered payment is something thet should never have arisen, and managment are to blame. No unpaid leave - doesnt make sense, but they run the company - there call. If you really want unpaid leave call the doc. Annual leave is something earnt on a per month accumaltion, there are laws that protect that in EU member countries
and the last item - well its the same for a lot of people that use your planes - we all have a choice of career. You knew as a pilot you would be away form home.

Sorry,

Jon
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Old 6th Jun 2002, 15:50
  #212 (permalink)  
 
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jongar, some of the flights Aer Lingus does have a long enough duty period to require 3 pilots. Your numbers aren't accurate. Ryanair doesn't do longhaul.
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Old 6th Jun 2002, 16:16
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Jongar,

I don't think you'll find that the AI crewing ratio to aircraft is too excessive. Even in the low cost world 6 and a bit per aircraft is not uncommon, and we certainly have to go for efficiency. You then add in the long haul side which always needs a much higher crew ratio per aircraft, and I think you'll find they are not way of the industry norm.
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Old 6th Jun 2002, 16:39
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And of course, when you have four fleets, you lose three sets of economies of scale, which the Ryans have. Do not underestimate the effect of scale on a fleets crewing ratio.
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Old 6th Jun 2002, 18:44
  #215 (permalink)  

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Jongar

I understand that the world-wide average for airlines is 7 crews per aircraft putting AL, a flag carrier, a little below average. I cannot remember the reference but I remember the figure due to the surprise I had at reading it. It was in the reputable aviaiton press though.

P.S. when you compare us to bus drivers also compare us to train drivers. The latter can earn, with overtime, GB£50,000 per annum. They do not get checked three or four times a year to see wether they will lose their career. They did not use £40 000 of their own money and 18 stress-filled, income-less (not even welfare benefits) months of their lives to reach their position, nor take on work at £12,000 per annum after the training, as many pilots have (I earn about that at the moment, doing a highly-skilled job, waiting for my first 'real' job in a typical industry downturn). They don't have one of the highest divorce rates, due to job pressures, and one of the highest incidences of death soon after retirement due to stress-induced heart disease. They don't face the instability of the industry, or the crazy levels of press scrutiny. Yet many pilots earn less.

Yes, we are glorified taxi drivers, but many of us don't get nearly such a good lifestyle.

Last edited by Send Clowns; 6th Jun 2002 at 19:00.
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Old 6th Jun 2002, 19:51
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Just to put some shape on the AL pilot to aircraft ratio debate. The agreed crewing rate between the union and AL is 6 crews for the first two a/c in a fleet, 5 for the next three a/c and 4 crews thereafter. The reality is that this is not always practical for scheduling reasons and extra crews are needed.

The reason the numbers are currently way out of kilter is as a result of the management going on a recruitment binge over the past few years. This recruitment drive, during a company wide recruitment ban, was deemed necessary to cover a major expansion. The expansion was cancelled by WW when he came to power and was replaced by cutbacks in operations. The airline has disposed of the surplus aircraft but still have the pilots on the books.

The two parties agreed a method to shed pilots some months ago but AL are dragging their heels on offering severance to those who applied and so are creating a false surplus.
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Old 6th Jun 2002, 20:07
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I am not comparing you to Ryan air and co. I am looking at it with a clean sheet of paper, and looking at the number of hours I can be expected to work myself. Its a high stress job, and while not life threatening, my perfomance affects many others most notably those below me's ability to meet the mortgage and our shareholders. From my own numbers I would have though 4 full crews per hull would be adequate, 4.5 to cover eventualities. Stress I am afraid is something we all suffer from, and is probably why I will either resign on Monday or take a role lower down the food chain. Now i did not spend a great deal of time in education in order to get to my position. But I have put in 6 soul destroying years getting to these lofty heights and sacrificed a great deal in doing getting here - ie no place to call home because of all trave and frequent relocation, and the affect that has on relationships - 24 hours is considered a sign of commitment

The thing is, like yoursleves I went into this with my eyes open. Business is a cyclical thing, and right now we are in the depths of a trough. The key thing is we have choices, if I felt I was being screwed by the company I would leave and seek employment elsewhere. The systems are in place to do this, all founded on the system of meritocrisy. The pilots and thier unions put in place the seniority system, and that effectively stops you from seeeking employment elsewhere and exploiting your skill sets for financial gain without incurring penalty. Everyone ecept the week benifit in a free economy.

JonGar
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Old 6th Jun 2002, 20:24
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jongar, there are many universities that offer degree programs in airline management. If you have completed one of these please share it with us, otherwise your opinion of how many crew are needed to run a scheduled airline is no better than an uneducated guess. Most airline ops managers would tell you that in order to run a scheduled service on a long term daily basis you need about 5 crews per a/c. This takes into account many things like using the a/c as mush as possible, leave, sickness, recurrent training, I could go on, you get the idea. Now as we have been trying to tell you, some flights need augmentation. Where do you think you get the third pilot from? Some airlines that do a lot of long haul have a lot more crew per a/c. Face it, you are in over your head mate.

As for your thoughts on the seniority system, it works to the company's advantage as well. When a pilot has invested a few years on a seniority list he is reluctant to leave and start at the bottom elsewhere. This makes him sort of trapped by the system which can lead to abuse by management. There are two sides to every story. The seniority system works well for us, it keeps everyone honest and you always know where you stand. Promotion is based on merit, it's the opportunity that is based on seniority. It also keeps the right seat from getting stale, bitter and twisted.
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Old 6th Jun 2002, 20:27
  #219 (permalink)  
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I am amazed that a person not involved in this industry feels able to say what is an appropriate crew to aircraft ratio. Even an expert would need to see the flying program!
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Old 6th Jun 2002, 22:47
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Although I for one having been employed on the periphery of civil aviation for only a year would not hazard a guess at the crewing requirement for an airline, I have, as stated, seen the figure of 7 crews world average (May have been in FI airline survey). Now the industry is not known for its soft heart towards pilots. It is known for maximising use of what is, after all a very expensive asset, that can only be used when there is a crew available for it. Therefore 6-7 sounds not unreasonable to me.

You suffer stress Jongar : it is not caused by the fact that you are likely to be the first killed if all goes pear-shaped, followed rapidly by 2-300 others. Alternatively that a lesser mistake due to your lack of sleep causes an incident or the company to lose money, and you are hauled before the chief pilot. The stress you suffer will not cause the loss of two aircraft with 800 people on board as it leads to an error, or the removal of the top floor of an hotel. You are not stressed by two strict medicals and two flight tests every year, any of which could end your career. You don't have to think every time you injure yourself "will I ever be able to do my job again?" - the first thought I had when I was involved in a road accident recently, fortunately the answer was "yes" and I have my class I medical back.

Last edited by Send Clowns; 6th Jun 2002 at 22:53.
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