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For SWA Poolies

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Well-known member
Nov 27, 2001
Flying the line this week resulted in some interest "rumors" from discussions being held among GK and the SWA leadership team from sources I spoke with.

Flying will be increased 2-3% 3Q10/4Q10. This will end up putting the overage that the pilot group has had to merely double digits. The previous number quoted as recent as 1Q10 is 200-300 pilots.

GK was very positve for 3Q10 in revenue gains and ticket trends. One analyst said we may generate as much profit in 3Q as we did in the entire year last year.

SWA is sitting on a load of cash, loads of cash draw suitors (Warren Buffet mentioned LUV as a takeover candidate); look for some expenditures on SWA's part to capture growth.

International flying is coming by SWA airplanes, 18 months target. (We've heard this for some time internally and GK has talked a lot about it but hopefully this time something will come of it...opinion from Chase)

Speculation on my part

I didn't hear an estimate on specific details but the 2-3% growth from current levels I confirmed from other released sources from SWA to airline analyst.

Lots of discussions about talks with CHS and GSP airports/communities also in the news. Merger of UAL/CAL will take capacity out and will help all carriers obviously.

Hopefully we can get some of you here sooner rather than later but thanks for hanging in there.

Not much of a life line but hopefully better than nothing.
Chase, I keep hearing the same "overmanned" situation as well. I am finding lots more VJA for F/O's and even yesterday there were some on the Capt side in Phx and mdw. HOu and Dal were all MO, DO, or AR but I didn't look at the other bases. Seems to me we are not overmanned at all but just about right on target. The weekends and overlaps are creating premium pay while there is still plenty of EF and DO on the weekdays. I realize this is a far cry from 3 years ago when everyday my phone rang off the hook for JA but we were critically undermanned at that time. I believe that we are just almost perfect now and with the growth in May and June that there will be plenty of flying at premium rates this summer. I think hiring will resume this year or we will be back to the undermanned situation we had a few years ago. Thoughts?

Hey Chase, you mentioned the overage of our pilot group to double digits.

Hope this is true, but I am not sure of the number spouted by everyone. This number has been anywhere from 200-450 pilots.

I have heard some rumors along these same lines, hopefully things do come to fruition.

As a former poolie, I'm sure the updates are appreciated. As a poolie and a junior FO, I'm always inclined to believe any rumor that is positive for me! But with the recent M&A talk, this is a race against time to get the swimmers on property.
Good luck to all.

The excess was a reality and documented from the folks I've spoken to at SWAPA and SWA. That being said, several factors are in play that have eliminated some of the excess IMHO:

1. Sept '08 was when SWA was at its peak from a flight standpoint. Reductions in flight schedules began at that point to a low point of 10% a year later.

2. Ebb and flow in the flight schedules since then and the expected increase later this year will put SWA back within 2-3% of that peak.

3. I was told at one time we have approximately 25-30 pilots a year who go on medical leave for extended periods of time. Some of these never return unfortunately. As our pilot force ages, that number will increase.

4. We had some of our pilots (as I recall around 15-20) take the early out that was offered late last year.

What will bring the excess of pilots down to the point of needing new hires will be growth in the near and long term. That will come from reoptimization of schedules (occurring each quarter) , taking advantage of drawdowns by merging carriers and adding new cities or additional current city pairings.

Nothing earthshattering with that but the buzz from the GO was the revenue picture is brighter and has trends that look up. Organic growth appears to be the desire more than merger discussions but those discussions wouldn't be shared with even trusted management types I suspect.

The price of oil with the leakage in the gulf, uncertainity in the ME with Iran as always or any number of things that always appear to be on the horizon seems to the short list of items that could pause such growth as a caveat.

We all want to see new faces on the property but we want them to have 100% job security and not feel they are "temps" waiting for a furlough if things go ugly. I flew with an FO recently who was in training at AA on the Monday before 9/11....by the end of the week they were all gone and never heard back from AA after that. A simple reminder that other airlines use a tool (furloughs) without giving it a second thought. Versus SWA that started a class shortly after 9/11 and the members all drove, carpooled or made their own arrangements to come to training....SWA didn't turn their back on them once offered a class date.

SWA isn't perfect and doesn't have all the answers; we have a small number of jerks like all carriers do and none of us can assume the company can last forever without working hard to give the next generation a better airline. SWA must provide a better product, at an affordable price, do it safely and treat its employees at partners in the process if SWA wishes to continue to be successful.

I'm sure some poolies have moved on to other pastures but until you say "no" to the first clase date you get offered, you still have a choice. No harm in saying "no" as each case is different.

Good luck and we'll hope for something more than just my drivel or others who put their ramblings on here.
I have to agree with the original post. I'm hearing rumors of some positive announcements in May. We'll see.

Hang in there guys, it's worth it.
I collected my 2yr poolie pin back in the day, so I can sympathize with the guys still floating.

Not to be a Debby downer, but I think 2-3% added flying could easily be made up by increasing the line totals and making some of the trips more dense. I am all for hiring, but we need to make sure that the guys on property get all they flying they want/need. I think we would need to increase above the 2-3% before hiring starts. Just one mans opinion.
I collected my 2yr poolie pin back in the day, so I can sympathize with the guys still floating.

Not to be a Debby downer, but I think 2-3% added flying could easily be made up by increasing the line totals and making some of the trips more dense. I am all for hiring, but we need to make sure that the guys on property get all they flying they want/need. I think we would need to increase above the 2-3% before hiring starts. Just one mans opinion.


Couldn't agree with you more. Density/efficiency needs to improve before hiring begins. That has been the key to our advantages in the past. Hiring new folks to offset higher labor costs is also part of that equation. The first needs to occur before the latter.

Thanks for reminding all readers of that.
Freedom '09 was 29 guys, I believe the last guy retired this past month. There could be a couple guys left, I don't remember the exact details (but it's not many guys left).

Our lines are getting better; the FO side has VJA all the time. There are 4-day VJA trips out there nowadays! My phone does not ring much, but that's because I am not on a list. There is a lot of positive news regarding business travel and demand in general. We have around 2.6 billion in cash and short term investments. GK can pull the trigger on assets pretty much at any time. He is cautious though, not one to jump at the first indication. This is a sought after trait in the world of airlines. However, he may miss an opportunity when it comes up (IMO, Aloha going out of business left a void now being filled nicely with Alaska Airlines, et al). Good for them. Wish we could have filled that void, but that is another topic.

We are knee deep in our final stage of RNP training. The training center took April off, but should be in full 5900 pilot training swing May - Oct/Nov. They will take December off for the usual reasons, but I would not be surprised to hear of training to kick off in Jan (maybe even a class or two later this year).

We made $$ in the worst quarter of the year, this may give GK the confidence to start expanding again. Our loads are through the roof. We leave people all the time. Check our latest $200k fine? We need more flights.

IMO I'd expect another 2 cities or so announced before the end of the year. With expansion amongst our current cities. ....

Things are turning around. Hang in there, it's worth it!

PS sorry if I jumped around, gotta go coach some t-ball!
Trust me SWA will have classes this fall. SWA does not show there hand with anyone (not even SWA VPs) Mark my words there will be classes this fall. JMO :)

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