I work the ramp for Delta on the west coast, and I checked out the loads at our hubs and most are operating at 100% or more for the week. Looks like people on Spring Break are not afraid to fly. It looks better, but most are still operating at lower levels than pre Sep 11. I would think this summer the airlines might bring more flights back but it is hard to say. The economy is starting to look better and we all know how the economy plays a key role on how well the airlines perform. Their performance was slipping last summer anyway because of the downturn in the economy and Sep 11 was just a nasty blow to the head. I think by this time next year we'll all see better things. As for me, I am going to continue instructing until things open up.
I just got recalled, so of course I think things are getting better. But, I also know that NWA is bringing back the 3rd and 4th banks of flying this summer. Granted that is just NWA, but I imagine it is a good representation of the industry. If you are hoping for a hiring flux anytime soon, I wouldn't be too hopeful. Again, I really only know NWA, but they will need plenty of time to retrain and recall thier pilots that I seriously doubt they do any new hiring within the next year and a half and probably not for another year after that. That of course means that very few regionals will be hiring until all the airlines can retrain all of thier furloughed pilots. How long will that take? I don't know, anything I say would be purely a guess, but I've been told to "get comfortable" with my position in the company, I'm going to be there a while (i.e. no movement anytime soon).
I think it is recovering, but I heard that economically speaking, it's only cost effective to furlough a pilot if it lasts for at least three years. Otherwise you don't save anything by the cost of training and such. I'm not sure this includes the aircraft usage though, which I'm sure is a large part of it. I believe personel costs are second at an airline, to jet fuel.
UAL is also adding about 170 flights this summer and the number good go up..Right now the flights are operating at about 70 to 90 % full..
Things do look like they are improving but it is going to be a while before the majors do any hiring...
Regarding recalls of pilots..According to a friend a Midwest Express who is furloughed, they were told that to make the furlough cost effective the pilot had to be out a year..As far as good old UAL, pilots have told me that for the furlough to be cost effective the pilots had to be out two years.. I don't honestly believe that it takes 3 years to make it cost effective..The good thing is that I believe some of these furloughs could be short lived, due to fact that they were mostly done due to Sept 11 traffic decline..At the time nobody expected the public to return to flying as quick as they did..Thank god the public has a short memory and that getting some where fast means more than not going anywhere at all..
Hopefully the rebound continues and everyone will start hiring in the next two years or so..
It really does not matter how many years a pilot needs to be furloughed in order to make it cost effective. If the economy turns around and people really start to fly the airlines will meet this demand. They are not going to avoid recalling pilots because some bean counter says "oh no we can't grow anymore because the last pilot furloughed has only been on the streets for one year and it is not cost effective." BS. Most furloughs were the result of 9/11 and I think many of the airlines are realizing those same bean counters overreacted. Passenger demand is obviously higher than anyone thought it would be so soon after 9/11 and many airlines are adding back capacity. Just look at UAL by June they will have gone from 1600 flights a day right after 9/11 to nearly 2000 flights. That will be roughly half of their total schedule cut returned in 9 months. I don't think anyone thought it was going to happen that fast. If the pilots are needed they will be called back regardless of what length of time they have been furloughed.
On the furlough issue, I couldn't agree with you more..If the pilots are needed to added capacity then the company will call back the pilots...I was not implying that the airlines would not recall because they have not been gone long enough..
I have to agree with you..I believe all the airlines overreacted in regards to 9/11..Nobody had any idea how the event would have effected the industry.....Good thing is at least now we have a Chapter in the airline manual for future execs that covers "when Terrorists Attack the US"....No. 1 don't overreact..Slow done and evaluate...
I was replying more to skydivedriver's post than yours. I think when the airlines furloughed all their pilots last year and early this year I really think the executives and bean counters probably thought and hoped the furloughs would last a very long time and thats why they did them. But it appears they won't last as long as first thought, barring any other attacks God forbid.