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So much for those Spirit layoffs...

flyboycmsu

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Spirit Airlines President Says No Layoffs Planned

POSTED: 3:19 pm EDT June 3, 2008
UPDATED: 8:48 pm EDT June 3, 2008


MIAMI -- The president of Spirit Airlines said Tuesday the carrier has no plans for layoffs, despite reports that implied it is laying off half of its employees.

According to letters released Tuesday by union leaders, the airline may lay off or move up to 60 percent of its flight attendants and 45 percent of its pilots in an effort to cut costs and deal with soaring fuel prices.

The Miramar-based discount carrier wrote in the notification letters that it plans to close its hubs in New York's LaGuardia Airport and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and shrink its main Fort Lauderdale hub by Aug. 1. The airline is also closing its Detroit hub for flight attendants, according to the letters.

Spirit told NBC 6 no layoffs are planned. The airline's hub will stay in Fort Lauderdale, but the carrier may relocate crews to different cities to save money.

The letters, required by law under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, were sent out Friday by Jeff Carlson, the airline's vice president of flight operations. Carlson wrote in the letters that the airline will furlough or displace up to 448 flight attendants and 242 pilots.

"It's kind of unfortunate that it got put out that way," said Spirit President and CEO Ben Baldanza.

He said the letters began as a precaution to keep the airline alive and then became a rumor that the carrier was dying.

"The Spirit management team, the owners of Spirit and all of the employees of Spirit are completely committed to working through a very tough economic environment with high fuel prices, doing what it takes to keep the airline stable, solid and growing over time, and that's exactly what we're all here to do 24-7," he said.

Baldanza said the airline will not raise airfares and has no plans to cut any routes. He said the carrier is even adding new destinations.

"If we make the actual decision to shrink at all -- to reduce one frequency on one route or return some airplanes or do anything -- if we made that decision, which we have not made yet, we would absolutely talk to all the employees affected directly about that change and what that meant for them," he said.

But the letters sparked concern from the pilot and flight attendants unions.

"It was utter shock," said Sean Creed, chairman of the Spirit Airlines pilots union. "To say I am disappointed would be an understatement. We are devastated."

Spirit has about 540 pilots.

As many as 240 attendants could be affected in Fort Lauderdale, 141 in Detroit, 15 in New York and 52 in San Juan, according to letters sent to Patricia Friend, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants. Spirit has about 750 flight attendants.

"These are the worst case scenario numbers," said Corey Caldwell, spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, the union that represents Spirit's attendants. "It's likely the ultimate number will be less, but it kind of popped out of nowhere."

Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said the notices were necessary to comply with the WARN Act.

"We have made no final decisions about reductions, if any, but to maintain flexibility, we will need to continue to evaluate our overall flying this fall during our lowest demand period of the year if fuel prices remain at record levels," she wrote in an e-mail.

Creed said he has been flooded with calls from concerned pilots, who were listed by name and title in the letters.

"It's very difficult, as a pilot, if you lose your job to go find another one," Creed said. "Pilots are worried about their future."

Baldanza said the airline is getting ready to make changes to deal with the tough economic times but has not committed to anything. He said the carrier plans to grow over the next few months.

"In a fast-changing economic environment, generally the people who survive and the people who win out of that environment are those who are the lowest cost producers of their product," he said. "And Spirit is the lowest-cost producer of its product everywhere we fly, and therefore, if you're going to bet on any airline for the fall, Spirit is the kind of airline to bet on."

The airline industry is struggling to overcome with record fuel prices.

"Fuel is pushing up to be 50 percent of our total cost and that compares to less than 20 percent just a few years ago," Baldanza said.

Last month, American Airlines said it would cut domestic flight capacity by 11 percent to 12 percent in the fourth quarter, after the peak summer season is over.

Delta Air Lines said in March that it would offer voluntary severance payouts to roughly 30,000 employees -- more than half its work force -- and cut U.S. capacity by an extra 5 percent. The Atlanta-based carrier said last week that more than 3,000 people took the package, and Delta will accept all the volunteers.

Spirit, which is privately owned, flies to 36 cities in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. The carrier employs about 2,200 people and has hubs in Detroit and Fort Lauderdale. Spirit is one of the largest carriers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
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flyboycmsu

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Either management is b.s.ing in contract talks or they are pushing off the impending implosion to collect their golden parachute. In any case, Jack D's and popcorn is in order....anybody want to join? JP? JS?
 

ReverseSensing

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Baldanza said the airline will not raise airfares and has no plans to cut any routes.

"Fuel is pushing up to be 50 percent of our total cost and that compares to less than 20 percent just a few years ago," Baldanza said.

What am I missing?
 

Whataburger

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I dont believe that WARN letters get sent out for sh!ts and giggles. I got one once, and that company is no longer around. At this point, I would think that if mgmt is talking, they're lying.
 

Skippy

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doing the same thing united is doing, ----- oh things are great, dont leave- things will be fine.


then they announce a few minutes ago that they are parking the ENTIRE 737 fleet and 6 747's by fall 2009.


work hard all summer then you can be furloughed-- gee where do i sign.

f'n great!!!!!

SKIPPY
 

scarlet

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MGt. is SOUL searching for INVESTORS...!!! NONE to be found-ASK FRONTIER??? Why would you have your senior mgt send out notices?

Spirit Mgt has been looking for more investors for awhile now...???
 

Beantown

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I for one hope it's true and the union overreacted. I don't want any pilots on the street. Best of luck. -bean
 

captain dad

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Same reason Hillary gave her speach three stories underground and was introduced as "...the next president of the United States". That way the crowd couldn't get phone or blackberry service to see she had actually just lost.

Lie to me, make me feel all is well, right up till when the axe falls. Normal operating methods for airline management.

I hope I am wrong and wish you folks good luck.
 

clippyrip

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Warning letters are like condoms, you don't pull one out unless you plan on using it.

Sorry for the news, good luck to yall.
 

igneousy2

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Management is lying.

If people think that an airline is about to stop operations they will stop buying tickets. Pilots and other employees start leaving.

Management COULD have retracted the WARN letters...but they didn't! Instead they spin some BS about needing "flexibility".



Sorry...I wish you all the best.
 

Wino

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There are two things going on here unfortunately.

The wording in the letter no layoffs letter is actually kinda narrow, and I suspect the translation into plain english is that there will be no layoffs for staff in Ft Lauderdale. Every other base will experience a blood bath.


The other thing is historic for airlines in general, and I have noticed it in every place I have ever worked. You never get a letter saying, "Get your resume's in order the ******************** is about to hit the fan!" (unless the government REQUIRES it which is what the warn letters are about)

I don't even think its about keeping customers any more. I just think when management knows the ship is sinking, the one final game they enjoy in the board room is the "See how many rats (pilots) we can get to go down with the ship" game. Now part of it is that they don't want to have hire and train the guy who flys the last revenue flight on the last day, but most I think is just spite and greed these days.

Generally the more assurances I get how rosey things are (when many other airlines are struggling) the worse things REALLY are.

Good luck gentleman

Cheers
Wino
 

On Your Six

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Ben Baldanza used to work for David Siegel at USAirways before that carrier almost went liquid (saved by AWA - although the Easties will deny that). Ben has learned from some of the best out there... Yeah, watch out and start working on your Plan B.
 

~~~^~~~

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Common legal strategy. Send the official notification, then verbally retract it.

Meet the legal standard, while trying to maintain employee expectations. That way everybody doesn't quit on the same day.

United did this repeatedly during its bankruptcy and admitted to having used the tactic to manage expectations.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/retirement/view/
 
Last edited:

atlcrashpad

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Either management is b.s.ing in contract talks or they are pushing off the impending implosion to collect their golden parachute. In any case, Jack D's and popcorn is in order....anybody want to join? JP? JS?
throw in sum Gin an Juice wif sum pork skins...... an I bez dere.....
bouyyyyyyyy.....
 
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