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Selfishness in the extreme?!

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Selfishness in the extreme?!

Old 21st Nov 2002, 03:56
  #21 (permalink)  
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The regional jets were made the success they are today through marketing agreements with the major airlines. If the majors had decided to fight the regionals they would have purchased their own regional jets and the present regional carriers would never have had a look in. During the RJ discussion at United the management ACCEPTED the fact that a structure could have been set up where the mainline could have operated RJs for the same cost as the commuter carriers. The pilots at United considered they had a reason to make this possible. United management went ahead and outsourced the RJ flying regardless.

Certain major carriers have assisted in the purchase of RJs for their commuter partners. This money came from the efforts of the pilots who are now being furloughed. Even at this late date as United pilots are talking of large pay cuts and extra pilots are to be furloughed United management is still talking of increased RJ operations.

The predictions came true. The first RJ that was put into operation by a commuter was the thin end of the wedge. It was used by the various airlines to win a "we must do it too or we will not be competitive" argument.Initially the introduction of RJs on mainline routes was disguised by economic arguments of necessity. Now RJs are assigned to mainline routes with no explanation whatsoever.

Of course, what 411 does not see is that it is the end of the line for RJ growth. Airlines love RJs because they are cheap and can cover a "thin" route or add frequency without diluting load factors. Unfortunately, he is looking at this picture from a wannabe airline operator point of view. In the big picture RJs will become a problem and the airlines will find they are not the ones calling the shots. The major airports will be the deciding factor. Little Podunck loves RJs because they provide twice daily service both ways to BigCity one hour away. Unfortunately, BigCity has an overloaded airport which only just copes in good conditions. As more RJ operations are added and the weather gets bad delays at BigCity airport will begin to soar. Now BigCity depends on conventions and tourists and business travellers, most of whom come from at least a couple of hours away. They do not travel on RJs but they do travel by the thousand at convention time. So we have one RJ taking up the same movement time to deliver twenty passengers from Little Podunk (which is not one of the financial centres of the nation) as one mid-size aircraft with 180 passengers who do want to come for the business and conventions. Eventually the airport operators, with a little help from the chamber of commerce, will work this out. and the pressure will be on. It will take a couple of years before the crunch comes but the sales of RJs are about to take a nose-dive.

Suggestion 411. If you want to start an airline and you find RJs so attractive why do you not go out and buy yourself a few dozen. Apparently you think this would be a great investment and Bombadier, whose sales are down, might give you a good deal. You would not want those nasty ALPA pilots to crew them and your payscale may not be competative with the present commuters but you could always find a few 135 pilots who are desparate for a job. Of course, you would have to spend a lot of time and money getting them up to your standards but that would be better than hiring someone who already knows what they are doing!
Old 21st Nov 2002, 10:00
  #22 (permalink)  
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And I wonder why I've had enough of aviation as a career , what a nasty petty small minded my aeroplanes bigger than yours type of business its become, roll on retirement.
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Old 21st Nov 2002, 13:54
  #23 (permalink)  
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To Huck

Nothing personal sir. Perhaps I misinterpreted your post. I know or rather am acquainted with all of the people you mentioned at ASA. The founder, organizer and backbone of the RJDC is Dan F. with two other Comair pilots, both named as litigants. I happen to be a Comair pilot, so I do know the players as well as their motives.

The issues are controversial and candidly, most don't even understad them, particularly Delta pilots. It will have to run its course. About all I can say is that a make believe love in will not solve ALPA's DFR problems.

If the Duty of Fair Representation can be ignored, the purpose of the union is no longer meaningful. Sad.
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Old 21st Nov 2002, 15:00
  #24 (permalink)  
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Believe ALPO lost the plot years ago..
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Old 21st Nov 2002, 17:03
  #25 (permalink)  
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Dear Surplus1-

you are a gentleman, sir, and Comair has some hope if guys like you are in its cockpits.

In watching this whole tragedy unfold, both inside ASA and then later from the sidelines, I cannot help but be reminded of the characters in the book "The Winds of War." At some point WWII became inevitable, and the characters were left to prepare themselves, while cursing the waste and stupidity of it all.

No, Ironbutt, I don't think you can use the term ALPA like it's some monotheistic beast. ALPA is just people, just personalities. Sometimes the leaders can be so enlightened as to advance the lot of the whole industry. Sometimes they are so selfish they bring the house down around them. And sometimes they're just in between, torn between a pilot group's near term and long term good.

The problem with Comair and (to a lesser extent, ASA) is that the b!tch is already in the house - that is, you have two distinct groups of pilots, those that want to move on to a bigger company and those that don't. So there's the first conflict. Then you have connection vs. mainline, where the RJ's are simultaneously propping up an ailing industry and sucking away much-needed capital - and jobs. Finally there is the fierce competition among airlines for a vastly smaller market. You're right - a "love-in" isn't going to stop this war.

I wish you all the best. Back in 99 I thought Dan Ford was sneaking out to hit a crack pipe, but he was probably just much more prescient than most - the conflict is here, it must be resolved, and there ain't no white knight gonna ride in to fix it. Good luck, whatever you do.
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Old 21st Nov 2002, 17:44
  #26 (permalink)  
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Amazon man. Must be nice to be in a position where you can take a God's eye view of the situation. Please explain your philosophy to my son who is on furlough from one of the majors. I am sure he will be most comforted.
Old 22nd Nov 2002, 05:52
  #27 (permalink)  
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Thumbs up

Oh well. To rephrase some similar comments, the many assorted airline Local Council and Master Council members have different attitudes towards the regionals. I've never worked for the union, but realize, as a line pilot, that there are often so many conflicting goals within an airline, that it might be inevitable to find them within the national organization. I've stated before on Pprune how so much pressure was brought to bear upon Delta Airlines, from the ATA (the airline mgmt union/association, which often denies the existence of "pattern-bargaining") and the federal government, during the Comair strike.

I hate to see those situations where the regional pilots, who on average work harder and often much longer duty periods than many of us, are looked down on by some of our representatives, and even some line pilots (who often had no civilian flying background). But there is nothing that I can do about it, and not all reps feel that way towards their brethren, maybe not even a large majority. Don't forget, some of the guys on certain 'widebody airline' Merger Committees (I said some) even presumed to look down on jets with 100 to 145 seats, in order to justify their "expectations" in the desperate arguements to 'His Holiness', the ('Most Esteemed') Arbitrator. But not all of them used such rationalizations to the same degree.

If someone can suggest an adequate substitute for ALPA, then we can all finally be enlightened. It will be most refreshing, after years of waiting, and reading the Pprune remarks by those whose 'Schadenfreude' (joy at somebody else's harm or embarassment) motivates them. Maybe the regionals should have their own national union.

By the way, some of you guys who always 'badmouth' everything about ALPA never spent a whole career working for US airlines, but, on the otherhand, are sometimes suggesting that the regional ALPA units are a good thing, in order to highlight the second-class (or worse) service by national ALPA, so there seems to be a contradiction here. There must be many management pilots and wanabes who, considering themselves so superior to the "unwashed masses" (line pilots), would resent any regional First Officers wanting or receiving a net monthly salary which is even a few hundred dollars per above minimim wage (due to this appalling, prevailing, average FO "salary", marketplace forces or not...), because only a very strong union could hope to achieve such progress.

Tarring everyone with the same brush, as mentioned by somebody else, is simply creating an over-generalization and a fashionable "soundbyte", designed for the uninformed laymen and foreign pilots.

Last edited by Ignition Override; 24th Nov 2002 at 04:57.
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Old 22nd Nov 2002, 07:12
  #28 (permalink)  
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Your son has my simpathy. I am sure that many aviators, have in the past, experienced similar situations and would not wish it on anyone.
What does disturb me, is when reading your post, I take it that you would rather see one of the ' regional guys' furloughed rather than your son. They are after all only regional pilots!
Oh I know we weren't interested in their business when things were rosy for us all, but times have changed and mabey there is some way we can justify taking their job's now.
And thus we come full circle around to the original thread.
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Old 22nd Nov 2002, 16:03
  #29 (permalink)  
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ALPA has always been a slippery organization. I remember the days in the early 80s when the "B Scale" (Separate pay scale for new hires) phenomena came about.
A large majority of non junior pilots had voted for it to protect their own bloated salaries from evaporating.
Then, about five years later, airline labor politics suddenly changed: It became the largest labor agenda to get rid of that nasty "B Scale!" ALPA, including its "not-so-junior" members who had voted for "B Scale," were suddenly fighting with management over it, ...as if ALPA had nothing ever to do with the birth of "B Scale."

. . . Never any desperate situations, only desperate people.
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Old 23rd Nov 2002, 03:26
  #30 (permalink)  
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Sorry Dude. I gave you the wrong impression. My point was that it is very easy to criticise the people facing the loss of their career when you yourself a fairly safe.
Calling people "petty and small minded" when they are struggling in a battle for survival seems extremely coarse.
By the way, for the record my son is not trying to bump to a regional. He put in three and a half years as a regional pilot before he got hired by the major. He has served his time.
I do not want to see anyone furloughed, did four years myself. (Dammit, I told my son not to follow my career pattern so closely!).
If I am making a point it is this. If your company is pure self supported, paid for its own aircraft etc. you should be absolutely safe. If some of your aircraft were paid for by your major flying partner perhaps some of those major pilots do have a point in expecting a proportional flow back into the regional.
I don't know, just a thought.
Old 23rd Nov 2002, 05:22
  #31 (permalink)  
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Yes the pilots who flowed up through the regional should be allowed to flow back....to the bottom of the regional seniority list..just where the regional pilots who flow up are placed
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Old 23rd Nov 2002, 14:57
  #32 (permalink)  
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Who's really helping who here? The way I heard it, Comair for one was quite a profitable entity unto itself until acquired by Delta. Now, it is a major revenue source (along with the other regionals) for Delta. If it had been left to its own devices, Comair would have no problem buying its own RJ's. Come to think of it, Comair wouldn't likely be throwing 10 SEATS out of a brand new 50 seat aircraft, if it wasn't saddled with Delta either.

The only good thing is that they only need 16 full seats to make a profit on those things. Thanks to the fine scope clause, they make 10 seats LESS profit on every flight of their new CRJ's, which is of course that much LESS profit which can be funneled into keeping Delta afloat--which is precisely where their profit is going.

Yes I'll admit that Comair's F/O's are all either on food stamps or clearing tables at Denny's to make ends meet, and I do think they deserve a lot more than they have. That said though, the Barbie jets and their drivers are the only profit source going right now for Delta. If somebody doesn't pull in their horns soon (I will lump both unions and management in here)and concentrate on a way to EXPAND the profit source while keeping it profitable, Delta will go down and nobody will win.
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