Sorry for the overly optimistic posts from some of the folks who frequent this forum. I will temper my natural optimism with a dose of reality.
SWA had roughly 200 folks in the pool prior to interviewing in January. SWA interviewed over 800 people in the months of January-March. They also interviewed a small number of folks in April in conjunction with the equal opportunity type rating scholarship program. This unprecented interviewing added another 350-400 folks to the hired pool.
I know you guys keep up with the SWA class schedule, so you probably already figured out that 200 new hires started class in 2002 (including the July class). With only four additional jets scheduled for delivery this year, -200 retirements, no plans for new cities or pilot bases in the foreseeable future, and a pilot group which is currently snapping up extra flying like sea gulls grabbing fish scraps, there will likely be no more classes this year. The pilot contract extension vote has nothing to do with pilot hiring (IMO).
Not the news you wanted to hear, but just the reality of the situation. SWA prefers classes early in the year. They can write off costs associated with your employment while squeezing a LOT more out of you before you are eligible for profit-sharing (which starts on the January 1 following the year you complete probation).
As for interviews, don't expect any until next year. And don't be surprised if it is well into 2003. The current pool will support 18-20 classes. It is possible that will be the extent of hiring in 2003.
This is not good news for anyone! For you folks in the pool or awaiting an interview, the roller-coaster ride from hell continues. For those of us at SWA, no growth means stagnated seniority, delayed upgrades, etc.
Start paying more attention to FedEx, jetBlue, Alaska. They continue to interview and hire. In fact, they are the only source of clients for my airline pilot interview prep business right now!
The source for the above information is a combination of my own detailed client records, my intimate knowledge of SWA hiring practices, and several recent discussions with SWA chief pilots whom I enjoy excellent working relationships.
Your gouge always seems to be right on, but I just can't (won't) believe that it's that bad. Why did they interview so many people just to add them to a hiring pool? There has to be a plan hidden somewhere that utilizes all the pilots that they've hired since January. I know SWA is conservative with regards to growth but no classes in August is not enough to make me believe I might not be on property (along with everyone else) until the end of 2003 (I think I'm 137 on our current list). I'll remain positive until somebody calls to give me bad news.
I've asked JB how many people are in the pool. She told me they didn't track that information. I took that response to mean she wasn't going to give out that information so I didn't press the issue. Do either of you know how many pilots are in the "typed" hiring pool? How many are in the "non-typed" hiring pool? Why would SWA continue to interview/hire pilots after September 11, 2001, unless there are plans for expansion/hiring? It doesn't make a lot of sense. Can you please, if you can and are able to, shed some light on this for us? Thanks in advance for your response and for your posts. Fly safe!
"SWA had roughly 200 folks in the pool prior to interviewing in January. SWA interviewed over 800 people in the months of January-March. They also interviewed a small number of folks in April in conjunction with the equal opportunity type rating scholarship program. This unprecented interviewing added another 350-400 folks to the hired pool.
I know you guys keep up with the SWA class schedule, so you probably already figured out that 200 new hires started class in 2002 (including the July class)."
Unfortunatly this is not entirely correct - the last person out of the pool entered it in late October. There are still two months of 2001 poolies to go. My guess is that the pool was 300+ on 01 Jan 02.
To those inclined to grasp at straws let me sugest that there is no master plan at SWA that involves draining the pool. Maybe they interviewed and "hired" all of us "just in case". It doesn't cost very much to fill the pool, and when they do expand that is one thing they don't need to worry about - that doesn't imply an impending explosion of growth, just that they are keeping their options open.
Although I am less informed than RB, I am less pessimistic - I think there will still be classes in 02. But I think there is not a soul alive who knows how many or when. My guess is the pool will probably continue to slow leak until just before every one recalls.
Think of it this way; the ideal time to swing at a pitch is before the ball is over the plate, but after it has left the pitcher's hand. It would be great if the training center was running full tilt right now, but obviously someone doesn't think it is justified.
For what it is worth I think that when good news starts flowing out of DAL it will be unexpected, fast, and before it happens anywhere else.
Keep the faith
PS I am just a caveman, so don't put too much faith in my opinion.
OK.... I have never gone through or been a part of Pilot Contract Negotiations at a major airline. Therefore, I cannot give a very accurate opinion. So can anyone explain to this board why the SWA pilot contract extention vote will have NO affect on the future growth of Southwest?
I guess I was WAY off base thinking the contract extention would encourage growth at SWA.
JUST A SHOT IN THE DARK FROM MY LIMITED EXPERIENCE...
I'VE HEARD A LOT OF THINGS FLOATING AROUND ON THESE THREADS AND WHILE FLYING THE LINE AT MY CURRENT 121 JOB.
I HONESTLY BELIEVE ANY AIRLINE THINKING ABOUT EXPANSION PLANS NEEDS TO CONSIDER HOW MUCH IT WILL COST TO STAFF THE AIRPLANES, SINCE IT ENCOMPASSES ONE OF TWO OF THE BIGGEST EXPENDITURES AN AIRLINE MUST ACCOUNT FOR.
MAYBE, THE SMART FOLKS IN MANAGEMENT ARE JUST TRYING TO EMPHASIZE TO THE PILOT GROUP HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR THEM TO AGREE TO THE "NEW DEAL."
YOU SEE, IF THE COMPANY PAINTS A GRIMMER PICTURE OF ZERO EXPANSION, (LEAKS OF NO NEW PILOT CLASSES AND PARKING AIRCRAFT IN THE DESERT OR STOPPING CURRENT DELIVERIES), THEY COULD EASILY MAKE IT MORE CLEAR HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR THE RANK AND FILE PILOTS. WHILE THE GRIM PICTURE IS PAINTED FOR THE EMPLOYEES, THE COMPETITORS DO NOT FEEL THREATENED.
NOW, THAT MAY HAVE BEEN THE PLAN ALL ALONG, HOWEVER. THE CURRENT ECONOMY IS STILL SLIDING AND COMPETITION IS STILL DROPPING FARES IN SOUTHWEST STRONGHOLDS (IE: JETBLUE IN CA). MAYBE, THINGS ARE TURNING GRIM FOR REAL. AT LEAST, FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW. SITTING IN A LARGE LUKE WARM POOL.
NOW, FROM MY SIDE OF THE DEEP END WHILE TRYING TO KEEP MY HEAD ABOVE WATER, I WOULD PREFER MANAGEMENT TO STOP ANY GROWTH IF THE INDUSTRY WILL NOT SUPPORT EXPANSION. LET'S HOPE THEY FORTIFY ALL THEIR CURRENT ROUTES AND REMAIN HEALTHY! IT'S BETTER TO WAIT A YEAR FOR A CLASS WITH A HEALTHY AIRLINE, THEN TO JUMP INTO A SINKING SHIP AND BE FURLOUGHED LIKE THE REST.
I have give my opinion..... when I picked SWA as the ONLY airline I applied to, the decision came from months of research and deep soul searching.
One of the main reasons for my choice was the awesome management and UNREAL track record of this airline.
Bottom line for me is close to jimEJet's post. I have to trust and put faith in the able hands of those who have made SWA what it is today.... yea - it "BLOWS" to have to continue "hold SE of the drain, left turns, leg lengths at your discretion". But I will gladly wait a few more months to know that I am coming in at the bottom of a senoirity list at a healthy company, not one that was overly aggresive at the wrong time.
Thank goodnes we are in the darn pool - at least the next call we get will be to exit holding and proceed direct to DAL!!!!
Have a GREAT weekend, I think I'll go drink some Wild Turkey and dream about flying the line..... someday we will, just not today.
I have great confidence in SWA like a few of the above posts. 32 years of success is enough for me. I know the wait is hard especially for you folks without a job.
For me, and all the others that have been fortunate enough to hang on to a flying job, I appreciate their caution. In the pool for the greatest company on the planet and have a steady paycheck is just fine by me. When the time is right, we will all get to big D and I know that it will be well worth the wait.
Hang in there everybody. It may come sonner than we all think!!!
Now that I'm over the nausea after reading today's little tid bit of information:
For those of us not fortunate enough to wait this out at another flying job I was wondering if any SWA people happen to know where the company stands on the issue of currency. I know many of the poolies are ex-military or furloughees who are not currently flying. The people dept. has been non-commital on this issue when I've asked before. I'd hate for the next call to be, "Well since you haven't been flying..." You can fill in the rest.
I do agree with the above sentiments about waiting and starting with a healthy company. Nevertheless, it doesn't make this news any easier. Looks like 1st quarter of 2003... anyone care to wager?