All this regional jet talk has got me asking a few questions?

bizicmo

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All these question come from this constant arguement about who should be flying the 190's or the 170's.

Why is a "regional jet" called a regional jet? What makes it a regional jet? If a major airline flew "regional jets" would they still be called regional jets? Or would the Major airline now be a regional airline? If the "Majors" flew the regional jets would the pay be any better or would it be as it is now?
 

MTpilot

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Ten ways!

Ten ways you can tell it's a regional? ........well 5 anyway

5.You make more than the pilots.....and you are vaccuming the plane

4.You can't close the door to the bathroom while you're in it.

3.Peanuts?

2.The magazines have "courtesy of Delta" on the cover

1.you drop $5 bucks and the F.O. quitely pockets it
 

FN FAL

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bizicmo said:
All these question come from this constant arguement about who should be flying the 190's or the 170's.

Why is a "regional jet" called a regional jet? What makes it a regional jet? If a major airline flew "regional jets" would they still be called regional jets? Or would the Major airline now be a regional airline? If the "Majors" flew the regional jets would the pay be any better or would it be as it is now?
To succinctly answer your question...

I fly the smallest regional turbine aircraft in the industry...and we currently have major airline pilots on our staff. Several from Northwest Airlines, I have heard.

They started out at first year pay, just like everybody else does.
 

Sticky

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As a major airline, why buy an RJ and be forced to pay reasonable salaries to pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, dispatchers, rampers, etc., when you can just out source your "regional" flying to small carriers who can successfully exploit their employees? Why hire generally older and experienced pilots who expect fair pay for being away from their homes, families, and need retirement planning, and so forth...when another "stepping stone" carrier will hired young pilots and other employees who just want to fly/travel and live pay check to pay check?

Some day the current new hires will learn that life requires more then uniforms and shinny jets, and they'll start demanding more money. They'll find themselves in the same shoes of the people they're currently replacing.
 
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FN FAL

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Sticky said:
Some day the current new hires will learn that life requires more then uniforms and shinny jets, and they'll start demanding more money. They'll find themselves in the same shoes of the people their currently replacing.
If I ever find myself in a shinny jet, I'm keeping my shoes...my dog, my wife, my car, maybe? But they aren't getting my shoes...those cork soakers.
 

BenderGonzales

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This thread really draws focus to the regional jet dillema perfectly.

In order to understand this industry and, therefore, set our career expectations we must be able to define a "regional jet" and determine what impact that equipment has had (and will have.)

First of all: Is there any such thing as a "regional jet"? I don't believe there is. There have been 50-100 seat jets operating for decades. It was not until the mid 1990s that they actually took on the name "regional".

Before that, aircraft such as the Bac 1-11, BAe146, Fokker 28, DC9-10 etc... successfully flew (even post deregulation) for major air carriers. All of these types carried less than 100 passengers and fulfilled essentially the same role as the "RJ" does today. They were old, inefficient types, and in the early 90s began to be parked.

A few years later a marketing GENIUS came up with the term "RJ" when Canadair stretched their Challenger platform to create a new passenger airline. ALPA and Delta dropped the ball by modifying their scope language and allowed Comair to be the first "commuter" to fly a turbojet powered aircraft.

So now the cat's out of the bag. The reaction at that point was nuclear. Once it got underway, it was largely self-sustaining.

Passengers:
In a lot of small markets, passengers were accustomed to the E110, the SF340, the Shorts, etc. They were delighted at what they perceived to be an improvement in service. They had a quiet, comfortable jet to fly. A few years later airline management began to use the equipment differently. They flew long-thin routes which were previously incapable of being flown by turboprops. They also acted as "hub raiders" -- allowing the airline to successfully fly into another airline's hub. Maintain market share at low cost.

Pilots: Before the introduction of the RJ pilots looked at the regionals largely as a stepping stone. There were a few lifers, sure -- but nowhere near as many as there are today. As airline managers very quietly parked their DC9s, F28s/F100s, 737-200s, BAe146s... the job opportunities which used to be "entry level" began to disappear.

More and more RJs appeared at commuter airlines... and fewer and fewer of the traditional mainline jobs were available. Why? Because American didn't HAVE an F100 anymore. Continental didnt HAVE a DC9 anymore. USAir didnt HAVE an F100 or a DC9 anymore. Instead Eagle had CRJ700s, Continental had an armada of E145s, and USAir had RJs flown by Mesa, Trans-States, CHQ, and anybody else who was willing to take the chance.

The pilots -- anxious to make themselves more qualified in order to get that "dream job" -- were more than willing to work for sub-par wages in order to get that PIC turbine in the new jets. Thus "Shiny Jet Syndrome" (SJS) was born.

Management: It didn't take management long to see that the RJ was more than a hub-raider --- it was a union killer. They finally had a tool that they could use to successfully outsource the mainline jobs to a lower bidder. With the fee-per-departure program and effective marketing they could make MORE money at lower costs even though the RJ is a high-cost per ASM product.

After all, they weren't giving the customers a discount for flying an RJ! Airfares were still high, but costs were a fraction of what they were at the mainline (and thanks to FPD they were fixed).

They soon realized that, not only could they play the major airlines against the regionals, but they could play regionals against each other. The Portfolio concept was born. Each airline could build a collection of regional "partners" who would bid against each other for additional flying. The only losers were the employees who were forced to take lower pay and reduced benefits at every turn to remain competitive. But they kept lining up to do it!!! The trap was set...

To be continued....the E-Jet revolution...
 

BenderGonzales

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The E-Jet Revolution: Airline passengers are a fickle bunch. It was not long before the traveling public realized that the RJs were not just flying the old Shorts and Saab routes anymore -- they were now flying longer and longer distances between large city pairs. Even the leisure traveler remembered flying on a 737 from LaGuardia to Atlanta and the business travelers were disgusted. The RJs had no first-class, very little service, they couldn't use their laptops in their seats, they couldn't board via Jetway, and you had to be a carnival performer to use the lav!

The airlines needed a larger, more comfortable, platform to keep the business traveler from moving to LCCs that were still (for the most part) flying full-sized equipment.

Embraer came to the rescue with the E-jets. Although Embraer did not call that airplane an RJ -- the airlines continued to do so. They went to great legnths to make the Embraer an "Express" product. This was simple psychology. Don't let the mainline pilots believe for a moment that this airplane was theirs.

After 09/11 and the subsequent financial disaster that almost all airlines faced, scope language was obliterated. Senior pilots sold junior pilots down the river in order to hang on to what little pay/retirement they could.

The Embraer jets were coming.... from 70-105 seats and there was no stopping them. They are a better product -- and the customer liked them.

Conclusion: Despite a valient attempt to keep the E-jets at the mainline (though a "b-scale" division) at US Airways, these full-sized aircraft are now regional airplanes. Yes, Jetblue will fly them, but at regional wages and work rules as well. Competitive pressures will keep the airplanes at the "commuters" indefinately.

So what does that do to our career expectations? There is already talk of eliminating more 737s and narrow-body Airbus aircraft. Bombardier intends to build a 120 seat "regional jet" as well.

Major airlines will become "ticket brokers" -- selling seats on airplanes they dont own. The only flying they will do is long-range transcon and international. Job opportunities at Legacy carriers are virtually gone. Pilots now will spend years (and thousands of dollars) training only to have max career earnings of less than $100,000/yr.

The new paradigm is now firmly in place. Today young people graduate from flight schools having been brainwashed. They aspire to be a Jetblue or Airtran pilot. They still look at the regionals as a stepping stone, but you dont hear them dreaming of United or Delta any more.

With LCC and mainline jobs at a fraction of the total number of pilots in the industry most of these pilots will spend their career in RJs. In the past it was tough to get hired by a major -- but a strong percentage of regional airline pilots were able to make the leap.

Today that percentage will be much smaller. There are fewer jobs available and when the E-190/195 and the Canadair 120 seat platform are on-line it will get even worse.

The airline passenger will have his comfortable mainline aircraft back. It is a new generation of efficient, long-range, domestic airliner. They won't know the difference. As always, the airline customer will buy a Delta ticket and believe that the airplane is being flown by highly skilled Delta pilots and maintained by Delta mechanics. They have been duped.

Airline management will be delighted as they have successfully broken ALPA. The high-paid airline pilot job is gone. Pilots now squabble over who will be "lucky" enough to take concessions to get new jets. Pilot labor costs have been reduced to peanuts.

Pilot career expectations have been permanently altered -- and yet, people still line up outside the door begging to interview...

... and somewhere in that line are pilots who are willing to do it for even less.

-end-
 

LowlyPropCapt

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Wow...

Bender has it dead on. That is one of the best descriptions of the "race to the bottom" I haev ever heard/read. Kudos to you!

The concept of "mainline" is on the endangered species list and not likely to survive. Until pilots get over the aptly named SJS, wages and quality of life will continue to plummet.
 

hotwings402

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Dead on BenderHow long before everyone at the regionals wake up and relieze that they will be there for 30 years and start getting better contracts.
 

BenderGonzales

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Thanks! So why not throw a few stars on this thread? 3 or 4? Then I can convince my wife I didnt waste my time writing all that.

Or not. lol
 

Tarzan

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Good post Bender. I am not in the airline busness yet but start class 8 Aug.

It hasn't been hard to see that the airline market is trending the way you pointed out. The Majors will wind up ticket venders and making the jump over the pond, everybody else will fly "RJ's" (which in itself has become a much looser term now).

The market has probably wanted to go this way for quite a while since deregualtion took effect, but is now starting to manifest itself. It will be interesting to see where we end up ten years from now. I'll have to believe the wages will go back up again once this thing settles but it looks like it may be painful for a while.
 

MJG

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Uhh...ya what Bender said. Seriously that pretty much sums it up in a nutshell.

That should be sent to every flight school out there, every aviation publication, and posted on every internet website that has anything remotely to do with professional aviation.

Well said.
 

rchcfi

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I woke up, read this in Utah and said "Holy Cow, this is dead on!" I stopped in Idaho Falls around noon, read it again and was thoroughly pleased someone had put into words everything everyone always wanted to say about this industry, and now here I am reading it again just because it is so eloquently written......I second the notion that it should be sent to all those polls that show pilots making the #2 wage in the nation, pilot factories, and just the public in general.
 

grinder

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Re: Mainline as ticket brokers.

Don't forget that mainline has already been able to outsource a fair amount of international flying in the form of codeshare or "partners" who happen to have lower costs. It is only a matter of time before mainline management attemps to use them for the transcons as well.

Grinder
 

cmiller

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once pilots realize that there are no longer many major jobs, they will better unionize themselves at the RJ level and youll slowly start to see wages go up and not as tough schedules. Not to the 200k+ level obviously but prob back over 100K.
 

cmiller

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oh yeah, i work at jet blue and heard that the E190 pilots are basically getting a Bscale pay wage bu i didnt think that there holding them to different schedules.. The way the e190 is configured (over 100 seats) still counts as a mainline and jetblue is running it as a mainline so all the pilot duty times still fall under the same part 121 category as the A320 pilots, just theyll only make 2/3 of the a320 pilot
 

ISaidRightTurns

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BenderGonzales said:
The airlines needed a larger, more comfortable, platform to keep the business traveler from moving to LCCs that were still (for the most part) flying full-sized equipment.
LCCs?
 
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