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US Airways RJ Issues - Explain Please!

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Should US Airways Wholly Owned Get RJ's

  • Ohh Hell Yeah!

    Votes: 34 63.0%
  • Nope

    Votes: 12 22.2%
  • Screw the RJ's and the their pilots.

    Votes: 8 14.8%

  • Total voters


The Man
Nov 27, 2001

I am wondering what is going on with the RJ issue at US Airways? I've heard a lot of things. Some are that USA pilots only want them if they can flow down now. Other things I've heard are that USA management wants them to use as a bargaining tool against the pilot groups.

I don't really understand the bickering. If the wholly owned do not get RJ's..the business will go elsewhere eventually. If its a matter of seats...well..there are always DOJETS w/ capacities of 32 or so. Not a problem considering the 8's are 37+.

If its a $ issue. Well, it won't be if US Airways goes belly up.

Could someone shed some light on this issue please. The US Airways site has nothing in terms of news and neither do the ALPA public sites.

Thanks in advance!!
Well, the original proposal that US Mec gave to manangment was shot down which called for 189 RJ's, operated by the whooly owned. The catch was that all the mainline guys that are on furlough have first rights to fly the airplane. The remainder of them would be operated by the three wholly owned. The mainline group has flow-down rights in case of more furloughs but the express guys have flow-up. Double-edged sword if you ask me.
As far as DO-328jets. Why would managment want to operate a airplane that carries the same amount of pax and has a higher cost per hour? They want the 50 to 70 seaters. The 728jet, when it comes out would be a nice pick.
There is alot of speculation that PSA is recieving atleast 5 more Dork props in January up to 12 all together. This adds about another 25 flights per day based on 5.4 crews per airplane for 5 airplanes. All the furloughed guys will be back by Jan 10th, 2002 and we will need alot more F/O's.
I think this is US mangments way of sticking it to the mainline pilot group. Someone said that managment is going to expand the three wholly owned till the RJ's come forth. This is what I have heard and is by no way fact. If anybody has concrete facts, please add them here.
Oh, any Chataugua guys heard anything about you guys pulling out of PIT all together? I heard you guys are getting rid of the Saab's but does that mean you pull out of PIT?
Sure, the wholly owned carriers should get RJ's. Should have had them years ago when it could have done some good. Sadly, I don't think it matters anymore. RJ's or no RJ's, US Airways isn't long for this earth, at least in its present form. Upper management clearly is not interested in running an airline; rather they're trying to sell off "assets". :( When, not if, the selling starts, the wholly owneds will be some of the first pieces to go, since they can potentially fetch the highest price without affecting the core airline. I hate it as much as anyone, but that's the way I see it. Discussion is appreciated!

The fact is, there's plenty of blame to go around here. A management team that was weak in operating focus but strong on playing market games is at the top of the list, but utter myopia from the US Airways ALPA MEC runs a close second. There should have been a recognition years ago from the MEC that US Airways is not, and has never been, anything more than a regional airline with a few big jets. If they had made that paradigm shift and sold it to their own pilots years ago, rather than cling to illusions of being a United (just a bit smaller) they could have built the world's leading regional airline, and all of them would still have jobs. The wholly owneds possibly would no longer exist, their function taken over by the main pilot group, but they could have been merged in given the will to do so. Instead, the mainline pilots were too good to fly those small jets for less than mainline wages and benefits, which were clearly out of line with the reality of their business. Worse, they weren't going to let anyone else do it either.

I know all about the argument about upholding the profession, keeping the standards high so that we all will have a mainline job worth having, etc., etc., but at some point reality has to set in. This isn't an industry-regulated 1968, and those feeders aren't flying your momma's Navajo. You can't pay a 50-seat RJ crew $200/hr and make money. It's out of line with the amount of revenue they're generating. Once upon a time, the industry fare levels supported that (inflation adjusted), but then again, the industry was federally regulated, and five times smaller. The argument that pilots as a whole have lost money over the years on an inflation-adjusted basis is valid, but irrelevant given the market conditions since 1978. Also, there's no effective difference anymore between a pilot at, say, Piedmont, and one at US Airways. None at all, not in skills, job function, or worth to the parent corporation. Artificially sustaining a barrier between the haves and have-nots (aka the real pilots vs. commuter trash) removed what little chance there was of raising the standard for all pilots and creating a united pilot force to be reckoned with.

You may argue about the details, and about the motivations of the pilot group, but the stunning lack of leadership from both management and labor has almost certainly killed what could have been a great airline.
Agreed. If the USAirways mainline pilots worry too much about job security, they won't have a job left to worry about. The majors that are doing the best right now, have the most RJ's allready.

I agree 100 percent with you. You were there, you say how it was when we tried to get jets on our own. Mainline simply said "no way" and that was that. Now all the sudden they want them in order to preserve their jobs.
I ask you though, what can the wholly owned do about this. Is this strickly a upper managment and mainline pilot group decision?
Are we completly helpless? I don't care about flow-up. I don't think US Airways will ever hire again. This airline, even though i like it now, is not my ending goal in life.
I don't care what we fly, props, jets, hovercraft. Give me a decent shcedule, some noce days off and Im happy.
I think we need to realize that it dosent matter what we fly. If you like your job then great, if you dont then move on.

Interesting point about being shelled off to someone else. I actually think that might be a good move for all us wholly owned guys.

What can the wholly-owneds do? Nothing. The big card, scope, has always been held by the mainline pilots. Unless they are on board, and they won't be, you can't do anything to affect your circumstances in any meaningful way. Any allocation of flying at the "commuter" level is ultimately done by the VP of Express Operations at mainline, so you live and die at his whim. If you get more Dorks, that's great, but they can be taken away just as fast, and your latest routes flown by yet another contract carrier. As long as your routes are controlled externally, you're ultimately powerless. Even the "big boys" with their big scope trump card have to fight to keep their routes, and they lose their battles on a regular basis, too. Unless and until management starts to behave rationally in an operational sense, you're in trouble.
Jeff G. For what it is worth I completely disagree with you. "You can't pay a 50-seat RJ crew $200/hour and make money." How do you know? I wonder why an airline such as Comair had the highest profit margin of any airline in the U.S. (probably the world). Maybe because most young pilots will do anything to get some time in a jet. I bet that Comair will still have a higher profit margin than all the majors once the industry recovers, despite their new contract.
If it wasn't for those "big boys" and their scope clauses that you seem to hold in disregard I bet that there wouldn't be any crews making $200/hour. All the flying would be done by $60/hour RJ captains. Management could care less what planes they fly, they just want to make money. I would venture to say that is exactly why Regional airlines have had such explosive growth over the last few years; their pilots could care less if they make less than the garbage man. Why put a mainline 737 on a route when two RJ's could do it and make more money? I am part of the problem as well, as I was working for 15.30/hour as a first officer at a notoriously bad regional. I just think that if we fight to eliminate scope clauses then what is there to look forward to? I think it is time that pilots stop donating years of their life to a company that could care less just to fill up our log books.
Unified Front

There is a website called, "A Unified Front" started by some US Airways "newhires" that believed that there should have been an RJ agreement (including flowthrough) years ago.

They have lobbied the US Airways MEC for 3 years now. Although it may be too late, they have an Express page on their website along with a message board where you can discuss your views.

Would be nice to have some Express pilots over there giving us your ideas...tell us what you suggest we have our MEC do.

Hope to see you there.
A Unified Front

I read on a board somewhere that USAir Mgmt was considering flying the RJs at the mainline, as USAir aircraft. Anyone know about this?

Thanx for the info!


PS-I hope USAir gets RJs somewhere, to help them claw their way back as a profitable airline.
Finally the truth is told. The market can no longer support outrageous employee overhead and make a profit. The only reason the majors made any money in the 1990s was becasue of the unbelievable...and unsustainable...economic boom of the dot.coms. As soon as that boom was gone (well before 11 Sep), the majors with the huge amount of overhead...NWA, AMR, UAL, DAL, started losing money hand over foot. Who was making money? The majors without the expensive overhead...SWA, CAL.

A SWA Captain starts out around 11,000/month and tops out at about 12,500/month...and that's before any per diem...isn't that enough? I mean is it worth putting thousands of people out of work and financially crippling the company everytime there's an economic downturn?

To many of the senior guys...yes it is...they've "paid their dues," by gosh they deserve every penny, no matter what the cost to other employees and the company...and to heck with everyone else...if you're affected by bad times, tough...just need to suck it up...because they're "preserving the profession."

Sad thing is those guys, and the majors ALPA MECs, are so senior that they will never be touched by furloughs unless their company goes under, so the chances of them sacrificing for their junior brethren, or making the tough choices necessary for long term job security and company financial stability, are nil to none...evidenced by what's happening right now.

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