I can only give you my impressions as there has been no official news lately.
This years system bid closed with 9 additional airplane deliveries so there is going to have to be some hiring to fill those slots. That equates to 90 or so additional pilot slots. I don't know what the company is waiting for except to say that everything around here tends to be accomplished in a reactive manner instead of a proactive one. We will probably be in a crisis staffing mode (getting close to that already) before someone decides to hire for the additional airplanes.
Rumor now is that we are going to take an additional five 757-300's and seven 737-800's from the options list...delivery date unkown. Again..just a rumor but one that started in the main office flight department.
If I were you I would look into JetBlue before ATA. Friend of mine there just finished class and is looking at a Captain slot in the Fall. He used to be at ATA and was in class with me as a new-hire. He also makes more in his first year then I do after several years here. Add to that his 4000+ shares of stock given as a new-hire, a positive work force, and an innovative and forward thinking management and you have a great place to work.
If you are looking for short-sightedness, customer-service that reaches all time lows, angry and disheartened employees all fighting amongst themselves, a company that believes the cheapest way to go is the best way, schedules that are less than productive and make commuting difficult, a support structure for the pilots that is anti-flight crew, and a place where you can earn a wage significantly lower than many regionals...then this is the place for you.
Sorry about the rant...I used to be more positive but it was beaten out of me. You know the old line" Beatings will continue until morale improves"? I think they take that seriously here.
I'm not going to refute anything that has previously been stated about ATA. Customer service can be pretty poor, pay is terrible relative to other carriers, and morale is low. I would agree that going to work for another airline would probably be preferable than working for ATA.
However, at least I'm still flying. I've been turned down by SWA, I declined an interview with TWA several years ago, and no other major has called me for an interview, so I'm going to have to make the best of it here at ATA.
I flew scheduled service on the 727 out of Midway for a couple of years and have been on the L1011 for the last year. Yes, commuting to MDW was miserable. Now that I live in base (LAX), my qualitiy of life has improved tremendously.
So, you can decide what you want to do. If you are willing to move to your base, your life at ATA (or any airline) can be OK. Commuting will always S*CK. Hopefuly you can get hired at a better airline, but if you'd rather fly than be a Wal-Mart greeter, insurance salesman, bartender, or whatever, then go ahead and send a resume to ATA.
If you do get hired, be prepared to go on strike though. The pilots here are not happy and are willing to shut down the company to better their way of life.
I got a bud at JB who started 4 March and he was able to buy shares at the IPO price. Additionally, he was given 6,000 OPTIONS, not outright stock. He has to hold on to the options for a specific time period and I am not sure of the strike price.
Yeah...I'm like TriStar_drvr. After 9/11 I thought for sure that my career was going to come to a screeching halt. I still can't believe that of my close group of friends, myself and another are the only one's still flying for an airline.
The frustration evidenced in my post comes from the fact that ATA has all the right stuff to be in the same game with SWA and Jet Blue. It is very frustrating to see media coverage on "low cost carriers" and never see anything about ATA. You always read about SWA, Jet Blue, AirTran, and even Vanguard. For cryin out loud, the company has been around as long as SWA!
We are hampered by a management structure that I believe has reached thier limit. In many ways we are managed / treated like it was still a 10 airplane charter operation. What this company needs is some charasmatic and visionary leadership. One that recognizes the contribution the employees make towards the overall success of the company. One that truly believes in the term "customer service".
I keep thinking back to the early 90's when CAL was the last airliine anybody wanted to work for. A short 5 years later with the right leadership, it was top of the game. We need that here desperatley.
As was asked earlier...do I think this place will be better off as a whole with a pilot contract that gives us most of what we are seeking.
The answer is no...it will make the airline a better place for the pilots. A contract alone will not solve the fundamental issues keeping us back. For that to happen will require a buyout and replacement of our current management team.