Not likely; in fact the rumors lean the other way – there’s talk of another 50 in January, but just talk. There’s nothing on the company board about recall or further furloughs, and nothing substantial on the ALPA board either.
The company’s official line has been that they were done furloughing for this quarter; as soon as they knew the planned flying for next quarter, they would reevaluate the staffing needs, with all that implies. So far, no news at all, good or bad.
Remember, Eagle has two “unique” problems compared to other regionals that will hinder our recalls. First, we have an ASM lock in effect while AA has any pilot on furlough. For that reason we increased our flying in the beginning of October, presumably to lock in as high a number as possible; we’re flying less than that amount right now, but there’s not much room under that ceiling.
Couple with that the conversion to the regional jets, which fly longer legs with more seats, which we’re continuing to receive at 2-3 month, and to keep under the ASM ceiling Eagle will actually have to retire 3-4 props per month. That means (unfortunately) that everything else being equal, i.e. keeping approximately the same number of crews per plane, we actually will need fewer pilots.
And secondly, CoEx and Eagle have the “flush down”. The numbers keep changing as AA furloughs and we acquire more jets – but the flow back pilots force displacements further back into the company. The last number I had for those actually being trained was a little under 50, with just over 125 eligible. These flow backs expand the pilot roster – numbers wise, it’s like we just recalled 50 (though of course we didn’t, unfortunately for our pilots).
So on at least two levels, the key to your wife’s recall really lies in AA’s fortunes. They cancelled one furlough, which is great news both for them and indirectly for us – but it doesn’t mean there won’t be more furloughs down the line. Reading some of their marketing/manning projections, they’re looking to be back to 90% of their flying by the summer. When this all started last October, we heard unofficially from the company not to expect anything ourselves before the summer; while we’re hopeful for something good in the new quarter, the summer is still probably a more realistic time frame.
I'll post or mail if we get any (hopefully good) news.
Thanks for your informative reply. I'm curious as to how Eagle is going to handle the ASM lock. I don't know how close you are now to the ASM max, but with what you said about jets having more ASM's and having to get rid of 3-4 props/month, you guys might be in a bind soon. Getting rid of more props at a higher rate than getting jets is going to present a problem. How are all the routes going to be covered? Perhaps 1 jet flight will take the place of two prop flights on some routes. UAL has a small jet agreement too, but is was no problem for management...they simply ignored the agreement since 9/11. John
The short answer is that I don’t think they’re worried about it the ASM ceiling, not because they intend to ignore it but because the feeling we’re getting is that the company is expecting this to be a relatively short term problem. They seem to have already cut enough flying to give them a comfortable amount of room under the cap for a couple of months. If this thing were to stretch out, or if Eagle were to try and recover too quickly the ceiling might become a problem. There’s a perception among several captains I’ve flown with that the company is really busier positioning themselves for the “recovery” now, whenever that actually occurs.
Again, the critical factor is AA – the sooner they recall, the sooner we recover as well.
The actual ASM numbers are a mystery, but I do think they’ve moved well beneath the ceiling. We claimed to fly a 90% schedule for the first two weeks of the October; right now we’re flying something more along the lines of an 80% schedule for the company as a whole, based on number of departures, so there’s probably some room there. BTW, there’s actually also a lock on block hours, but we’ll bump into the ASM ceiling first.
Naturally the reductions have come out of the prop flying; the question for us is how fast the prop lines will drop. In the prop world, JFK has been reduced by half and Boston props have been reduced by about two-thirds. Reductions in Dallas, Los Angeles and Miami have been smaller, and I think that San Juan is more or less unchanged but after we move the ATRs around there will some more losses. Jet numbers will grow, of course.
Anyway, without knowing the actual numbers it seems like they’ve probably cut enough ASMs from what’s left of the northeast props that they can take jet deliveries for a while before they have to start reducing the prop fleet again. RDU is still a wild card – AMR wants a big presence there, which could mean more long-distance jet flying, and a lot of ASMs. Rumor has they would take the flying from the shorter LGA flights, but there’s a lot of different rumors.
As far as shifting flights down from AA to EGF SJs (to borrow a United term - CJs here), there’s probably been a little but the ASM lock will keep too much of that from happening. Where other regionals can pick up whatever flying they can make money on, including routes conveniently dropped by their code-share majors, the ASM lock keeps EGF from picking up too much flying regardless of whether it’s new routes or dropped AA routes; plus there are restrictions based on financial considerations (the “WACC” – I don’t really understand it) that also block certain city pairs. I doubt there’s much room for interpretation, and since the lock is actually in the APA contract, and we’re both owned by AMR I’m pretty sure it will be enforced.
Thanks for the replies. The numbers that you want are available if you do some research. I don't work for AA, and am not that interested in digging it up. The economy will determine the outcome for the most part anyway. One more aircraft attack could ruin things and getting Mr. Laden could spur a recovery...we are all along for the ride. This industry has had many ups and downs before. It sucks when your out of a job and life is nice if you have a window seat with a paycheck. Cheers, John
It looks like things may slowly be starting to turn. A little bird in management was told to get ready to start looking at hiring FAs and mechanics, apparently more have quit than expected. This same person also told me they think we will start to send recall notices out some late in the summer. I know thats a long ways off but at least its a time frame. Eagle will continue to accept 2 EMBs and 1 CRJ a month for 2002 and look for RDU to become a base shortly after the new year. Rumor from some of our RDU commuters is that the real estate people are down there looking for space. this isnt the best news but at least its something. I hope its true I was in the middle of upgrading when everything came to a stop
Just a follow up to chickenpilot's post - this comes off the company rumor page:
Rumor: Furloughs & SJU (12-12-01) I heard Crew Resources is contacting FOs and asking them if they do NOT want to be displaced to SJU. They say SJU will be over staffed because Eagle is not planning on furloughing any more pilots. This is encouraging news if it is true.
Response: Here's what Crew Resources had to say: "As we receive scheduled hours, rather than projections, for April and May we can see what our staffing requirements are. We have decided that the last group of SJU FO displacements can stay in their previous position, SF3FO. Any further openings, ATR or SF3, can be filled by recalling furloughed FOs."
The rumors that I had mentioned before about furloughing 50 more pilots came out of SJU - what it may really mean is just that while they thought they were losing 50 more, really they're just not gaining 50...(50 is the approximate number of F/Os that were being displaced to SJU in the most recent cycle)
Anyway, like chickenpilot posted, it may be a sign of the beginning of the turnaround. I haven't seen any recalls of the F/As yet, but they are allowing those that were displaced to bid back to their original bases, and we have recalled other ground personnel. While they're certainly not talking about actual recalls of pilots or anything like that yet, it could be a start.
There’s no direct limits on Eagle manning in the AA contract, so there is nothing, other than economics, to keep Eagle from recalling pilots and/or hiring new pilots – at least nothing that I could find in the sections on furlough and “commuter air carriers”. In theory, we could bring everyone back if we could find flying for them to do – but practically speaking that’s where the ASM lock becomes a problem – eventually EGF would reach a point where there is no more available flying.
On that idea of finding more flying, I heard an interesting rumor from a “well placed source” in the union that ALPA and the company had talked about constructing lines below guarantee in the spring. I don’t know how likely anything is to come of this but it’s a start. I imagine it would take an agreement of some sort for us to fly to a lower guarantee, and I don’t know how likely the union membership would be to accept that – we seem to have a very non-cohesive pilot group, so getting any agreement might be tough. Still, it would help.
One thing that has been done, so far, is to avoid training the AA flow-backs – Eagle’s been paying most of them to stay home, though a few have finally started training. The company claims a couple of reasons, such as avoiding the expense of training pilots that might subsequently themselves be displaced by more senior AA pilots – but whatever the reasons, it has also kept a bunch of our jet captains in their seats, and when it’s all done, prevented displacements back into the company and furloughs at the bottom of the seniority list.
We’ve lost, unfortunately, about 25 pilots from the seniority list since the furloughs – so there are a few more vacancies there.
We’ve also heard from the planners at AA that in a general sense they’ve reached a stable position, even though they’re still losing a lot of money – there was a post on the ALPA board that they expected to be back up to a 90% schedule by the summer, and back to a 100% schedule no later than the summer after that. One problem though, is that the parked aircraft included all the B727s, (I’m not sure about the DC-10s) which means there are extra pilots (the FEs) in comparison to the number of planes, everything else being the same, so even with retirements, military leave and other things like that it maybe a while before they really get the recalls going.
I guess we’re looking at all this and, without getting our hopes up too much, figuring that maybe we’ve sort of reached the bottom – if nothing else goes wrong, and that maybe things will start to bounce back soon.
The DC10s from AA were already parked and the 727 retirements were just being sped up a little. As far as additional furloughs , they probably wont happen. Many who were being sent to SJU are now being given the option of staying in their original position.
The AA flow backs are not showing up to class in the numbers that were expected. The last DNR, captains charm school, had a lot of no shows. The FAs are either being called back or they are getting ready to start calling back the discussion in the training center was if they would have to redo IOE, so its probably not too far off. We are very shorthanded with FAs. LAX is going to be a jet base and the more bases we have the more reserves we need so thats a good sign. RDU should be announced late Jan or Feb, I know a couple of the guys who have been offered the chief pilots job. This is at least starting to show some signs of a turn around, now if we can get AA to start turning around we will all be better off.
I was talking with Mark Brown (Director of Recruitment) today at the AETC and he told he had recently spoken with Brett Lykens who is Manager of Crew Resources for Eagle. Brett said he thought that they will start calling back "some" eagle pilots in January. I trust Mark as a highly reliable source.
I was talking with a SJU based crew over this past weekend, and they said that nearly all of the furlough SJU-based ground support types have been recalled.
However, that falls into place of what the president of the SJU operation said back in September, that the furloughs of the ground support folks would only be temporary - as long as the planned increase in flying for the winter season actually happened.