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Are the days of the "big jets" numbered

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Well-known member
Jan 30, 2002
In the recent statement by Don Carty he said something to the effect that the fokkers because they have only 90 seats are not efficient and the routes should be operated by regional jets which have much lower operating costs.

My question is:

1). Will the growth of regional airlines effectively lead to A and B payscales for pilots and in the long run bring salaries down.

2). On longer domestic routes is it inevitable that we will see more regional jets?

3). How soon before we see smaller jets on international routes or is that financially not feasible?
Don't think we'll see small planes on the transoceanic flights.

One questoin is how much can the ATC system handle? I'm thinking there has to come a time soon when their antiquated system (upgrades keep being delayed) won't be able to keep up with all of the aircraft.

The flying public has spoken that they don't like props and the manufacturers keep making more efficient aircraft. The majors are discovering that it is much cheaper to operate "RJs" and can use them on runs of 2.5-3 hours which used to be exclusively mainline. So these aircraft are going to stay.

The only hope we have as pilots is to get the airlines to pay RJ pilots the same as MD-80/88/90 types, after all, they are also moving 50 or so folks from place to place and if something happens you don' t have CNN report a XXX Connection flight went down, they report a XXX flight went down. But figure the odds!
Two separate airlines

shon7 -

To be a little more verbose than AV8OR;

The cost of the F-100 is artificially high due to the manufacturer being out of business. Thus relatively routine things become more expensive (especially replacing parts). The new, reinforced cockpit doors that must be in place by April are being designed in large part by the airplane manufacturer, with the FAA looking over their shoulders for certification purposes. For the F-100 fleet, AA has a bunch of spec sheets and blueprints from Fokker but is doing the legwork with our own MX guys up in Tulsa. That costs money, and as the fleet gets older it only gets worse.

As to the larger question of RJs, no, I don't think it will lead to another B-scale, but it will lead to largely divided pilot groups at each airline (mainline vs regional). The most pessimistic view to take is that AMR will grow the RJs through loopholes such as American Connection while sounding the drumbeat of "we're not competitive with UAL and DAL" for negotiating purposes. While UAL and DAL set the standard for industry pay (pulling USAirways with them), DAL and U have just set the industry standard for a weak (read nonexistent) scope clause as well. Just look at the furloughs at DAL - already over 800, with 50/month planned until they reach 1300. While mainline guys go on the street, RJs are being delivered at a frantic pace.

If AA can't hold the line on scope, I see the airline business stabilizing in about 5 years in a much different capacity, at least at the majors. Expect most "spoke" flying to be done by RJs with regional pilots and regional costs. Transcon and international flights will still be flown by the big jets with mainline pilots. Unfortunately what this means is mainline reductions with "regional" growth. Good for someone who wants to fly RJs, but for someone looking to get hired to the mainline with a major, it may be longer than anyone expects.

Ideally I would like to see us bring the large RJs (say, >70 seats) into the APA. I think we lost this opportunity in '97, and may never have the opportunity again. The RJ issue took every union by surprise, and management will now wring every concession they can out of us to keep the RJs at bay, but at some point the losses become too great to keep up the fight.

Finally, as for RJs international, I don't see it except for some close vacation destinations like Cancun, Monterrey, or some close Carribbean islands. The RJs' strength is added frequency on busy routes or added distance on thin routes. Most international departures run only once or twice a day from each hub, and I cannot see a demand for a 50-seat, all-coach ORD-LHR flight that departs five times a day being greater than a twice-a-day 777. Besides, most long-haul international to Europe and South America is timed to arrive at the beginning of the business day at the destination so that you can hit the ground running. Added frequency at other times (say, a 10 PM arrival in Frankfurt) is too thin to justify any sort of service.

Just my 2c.
SIA Is Set To Shine In Glittering Las Vegas!
2 August 2002

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will today take flight to its latest destination – Las Vegas. The three-times-weekly flight, via Hong Kong, is Southeast Asia’s first direct service to the US entertainment capital.

The route will be serviced by a EMB 145-200ER (Extended Range) aircraft which is not only fitted with SpaceBeds, SIA’s latest luxurious business class lie-flat seats, but also installed with the latest KrisWorld inflight entertainment system, enabling all passengers on board to enjoy audio-video-on-demand as well as an unbeatable variety of over 200 entertainment options. The flights depart Singapore with same day arrivals in Las Vegas on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The return service from Las Vegas departs on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, arriving back in Singapore the next day.

Besides being the first-ever direct service from South East Asia, the flights into Las Vegas serve as an important gateway for trade to Midwestern states like Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.

To celebrate the launch of services to Las Vegas, from 15 August to 30 September, Singapore Airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore will be jointly bringing Las Vegas-themed entertainment shows and audience participation games to all passengers at the transit areas of Singapore Changi Airport.

With this new destination, SIA will operate 45 direct flights weekly from Singapore to United States. The other 42 flights serve New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. The combined route networks of SIA and its regional subsidiary, SilkAir, cover 92 destinations in 38 countries. With codeshare services included, SIA’s global reach extends to 109 destinations in 39
dragon said:
The majors are discovering that it is much cheaper to operate "RJs" and can use them on runs of 2.5-3 hours which used to be exclusively mainline. So these aircraft are going to stay.

For God's sake, Man, get a grip!!!! Three hour flights on an RJ? Come on!

Have you ever sat in the back of an RJ for more than an hour flight? It is torture. In the ERJ, if you are in a window seat, you can't even get both of your feet flat on the floor, and I am not kidding. It will not be too long before the public starts treating the RJ's like a Brasilias, calling them a "small plane" and a "puddle jumper". I actualy had a passenger the other day look into the B717 as she was boarding, and said, "Oh, it's a little plane". Hmmnn, 117 seats is a little plane to some folks.

Don't forget, an RJ takes the same infrastructure as a B737! Same gate people, same rez center, same rampers, caterers, Ops, pilots, mx, etc. Except the B717 or B737 can carry more pax, has greater passenger acceptance, and has business classseats to sell.

In other words- similar Operating Costs, but less Revenue Potential.

Anyway, good luck to all!
I agree about being in the back of the RJ for more than an hour is torture..and I fly them. However I disagree on the economics. Profit rules the management mindset. They wouldn't be there if there wasn't a good reason, yup crew costs are less, but thats only part of the equation.
Re: Are the days of the "big jets" numbe

Are the days of the "big jets" numbered?

One of the most effective ways of reducing direct operating cost is to reduce pilot cost. Add 15-20% fuel savings and I'm sure Airbus will sell a ton of A380s

1). Will the growth of regional airlines effectively lead to A and B pay scales for pilots and in the long run bring salaries down.

Expect to see pilot salaries dropping in the next few weeks already as mainlines streamline their operations and shift flying to their regionals.

2). On longer domestic routes is it inevitable that we will see more regional jets?

Pay pilots less and have them fly the long thin routes that previously were served by higher paid crews and you'll make more money.
The smaller RJs are not necessarily more efficient, in fact I believe they are less efficient than some larger ac but the RJ pilots get paid a lot less than traditional mainline crews.

3). How soon before we see smaller jets on international routes or is that financially not feasible?

Expect large ac on "Economy Class" routes and more use of narrowbody jets like the LR 73/75 families with a larger business class sections on "Business Class" routes. German Lufthansa is first at the gate, flying an all Business Class BBJ (wet lease, 48 seats i believe) between Duesseldorf and New York.

More big big ones, more little little ones, less money for everybody, fewer jobs total. Welcome to the New Economy!

Cheers, Keep your head up!
Two words...

... "Virtual Airline".

The big planes will be here in the future. The RJ's will be here in the future.

The big question is, "Who will own and operate the aircraft?"

Imagine UAL, AMR or DAL with ZERO airplanes, ZERO flight crews, ZERO mechanics, ZERO everything except for a few executives making 7 figures annually and a whole bunch of reservation agents making minimum wage.

Can't happen, you say??

Look at what a perfect business this is. A customer in Phoenix needs to go to Hong Kong. They call United's 1-800 reservation line. The customer is quoted $1200 one-way with a stop in LAX. United pay Skywest $200 to carry the passenger from PHX to LAX on an RJ. United then pays one of its Star Alliance partners $800 to carry the passenger from LAX to HKG on a 747. United pockets the $200 left over. Practically pure profit due to "virtually" no overhead.

Not a bad racket, huh?? This is why protecting our contracts is soooooo important.
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On the Money


Exactly right. Between cabotage and scope I see......umm, wait....whatever it is, it's getting smaller.........oh yeah, I can just barely make it out.....it's a US major carrier! Better look fast, because it continues to shrink!

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