YET MORE Mainline Flights Going to RJ's--Hope someone is TALLYING all these!

Voice Of Reason

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YET MORE Mainline Flights Going to RJs--Hope someone is TALLYING all these!

1hr ago---off the newswire ( www.syracuse.com ):


Northwest slashes seating, drops Syracuse-Detroit flight

Thursday, June 11, 2009 By Rick Moriarty
Staff writer

Northwest Airlines, which recently merged with Delta Air Lines, is reducing its service between Syracuse and Detroit.
Northwest's flight schedule shows the airline will eliminate one of its four daily flights from Hancock Airport to Detroit on Aug. 18 and further reduce seating capacity on the route by using small jets - 50-seat CRJ's - instead of the larger, 120-seat DC-9 on two of the three flights. Currently, it uses DC-9 planes on three of the flights and the CRJ on one of them.
The switch in jets and the reduction of one flight a day will shrink the carrier's seating capacity on the route almost in half, from 410 to 220, according to information provided on the airline's Web site.

CRJ's can come in a stretch version, which contains 90 seats. However, the airline's Web site provides seating charts that show the 50-seat version. And the CRJ has no first-class section.
Northwest officials did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.
Northwest's flights to Detroit are important to Syracuse because travelers from here can make connections from Detroit to many destinations in the West and Northwest. It provides the only nonstop flights between Syracuse and Detroit.
"Any time we lose a flight, any time we lose capacity, it is not good news," said Kevin Schwab, director of air service development for the Metropolitan Development Association, an economic development organization. "It gives passengers fewer options and puts upward pressure on fares."
Schwab said the Detroit service also is important because travelers can catch flights to Asia from Detroit. Business travel to Asia has been rising significantly in recent years, he said.
Northwest recently merged with Delta, and its name is being changed to Delta.
Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll said Northwest is making similar flight and capacity reductions in other cities in response to a drop in travel caused by the worst recession in decades.
He said it was "quite possible" Hancock will see more service reductions as airlines look for ways to cut costs.
The number of people flying in and out of the city-owned airport fell 11.5 percent in the first three months of this year, compared with the same period last year. "
-----------------------------
Isn't it time ALPA dumped RJ carriers? Maybe they wouldn't lose mainline carriers if they represented their interests! There should be a RALPA completely separate from ALPA. Is everyone SO desensitized that the only attitude is "nothing can stop it, oh well?". Please tell me pilots can take time from their busy schedules to help fight this kind of thing...it affects EVERYONE. ALPA should be LEADING and ORGANIZING a national effort involving pilots from even smaller mainline unions.
 
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Smarta$$

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Your point should not be to tell the airline what airplane to use on what city pair, but it should be to make sure all aircraft are flown by mainline pilots. Also, the reason may simply be that they need these DC9's for other flights that have a higher demand.

Its easy, just demand that RJs are flown by mainline pilots. Or negotiate into your contract that any RJ that is contracted out and flown by any pilot not on the DL seniority list must pay the pilots at least 120 dollars per hour. That will take away any incentive to outsource. You have that leverage, we do not.
 

Voice Of Reason

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Your point should not be to tell the airline what airplane to use on what city pair, but it should be to make sure all aircraft are flown by mainline pilots. Also, the reason may simply be that they need these DC9's for other flights that have a higher demand.

Its easy, just demand that RJs are flown by mainline pilots. Or negotiate into your contract that any RJ that is contracted out and flown by any pilot not on the DL seniority list must pay the pilots at least 120 dollars per hour. That will take away any incentive to outsource. You have that leverage, we do not.
That may be good...and maybe a conundrum to my idea of separating unions, since your mainline pilots would want to remain in their union in a flow down, not a different one.
 

SEVEN

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Your point should not be to tell the airline what airplane to use on what city pair, but it should be to make sure all aircraft are flown by mainline pilots. Also, the reason may simply be that they need these DC9's for other flights that have a higher demand.

Its easy, just demand that RJs are flown by mainline pilots. Or negotiate into your contract that any RJ that is contracted out and flown by any pilot not on the DL seniority list must pay the pilots at least 120 dollars per hour. That will take away any incentive to outsource. You have that leverage, we do not.
Mainline pilots don't want to fly the lawndarts. They chose to scope them out. It was THEIR choice. They sold their soul to the devil 2 decades ago. They can't have their cake and eat it too. This is a different industry now. Things change in every industry over time. Industry evolves over time as well. The argument that all rj's should be flown at mainline is no longer valid. Those days are long gone.
 

Lear70

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Mainline pilots don't want to fly the lawndarts. They chose to scope them out. It was THEIR choice. They sold their soul to the devil 2 decades ago. They can't have their cake and eat it too. This is a different industry now. Things change in every industry over time. Industry evolves over time as well. The argument that all rj's should be flown at mainline is no longer valid. Those days are long gone.
I disagree, as do most of the professional pilots I know.

We now see what the outsourcing of RJ flying has done to the profession, and many pilots are doing what they can to hold the line, if not take BACK scope give-backs. (AirTran pilots voted down a T.A. that gave away major scope concessions including larger RJ's and virtually unlimited Q400 flying and want to close the loophole even more as we move forward).

We recognize that no-furlough clauses are USELESS.
We see what is happening at Midwest and will make sure language is written so that regional creep can't be misinterpreted as "code share".
We know the future will include smaller aircraft, and simply want to fly them at mainline wages.

You may see some poor examples of pilot groups that keep giving up the store (Delta's recent allowance of additional seats on some RJ's), but for the most part, half or more of the pilots at mainline airlines are ex-RJ pilots who had to LIVE through an extra 5, 7, or 10 years at a regional because of this and will fight HARD to keep it from further deteriorating.

Give it another 3-5 years as those junior pilots get more involved in their unions and even take the reigns from the older guys who "gave up the store" back in the 80's and 90's. Getting people in positions of power in unions and enough pilots in the general ranks to back them is the first, key step to REALLY taking things back.

The next step is getting people to have the STOMACH to fight the hard fight; because nothing short of a legal job action is going to TAKE BACK large gains in scope give-back.

How important is it to you? It's my #1 priority in any contract (and is many other people's as well), and I'm willing to burn the house down because the house won't hold together without Scope to begin with. We've seen it too many times, and I refuse to believe there's no taking control back of our lives.
 

WayBack

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Awesome. I hope the mainline pilots put that in their pipes and smoke it.
They brought on themselves.
 

Colonel Savage

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"...The argument that all rj's should be flown at mainline is no longer valid. Those days are long gone."

ALPA has a long history of not listening to its membership.

Two ALPA MEC's were approached by mainline and regional pilot groups concerned about this very issue over 20 years ago and they refused to address the issue.

ALPA National was approached by LEC's in the late 70's as deregulation approached concerning the national seniority list issue and rebuffed them as well.

So here we are 30 years later with the profession glutted with pilots, wages a fraction of what they could be, and an industry with service levels befitting a third world country.
 

samballs

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Does anyone feel bad for the current group of people at mainline (minus the new hires on the streets) There egos created this mess, and it will continue until there is one mainline pilot left, he'll probably realize to not give up on the scope in his contract
 

Voice Of Reason

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Updated: 06/09/09 09:15 AM
FOCUS: INVESTIGATING FLIGHT 3407

Feeder airline growth breeds corner-cutting

By Michael Beebe
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
The February crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 in Clarence Center, with the loss of 50 lives, revealed what pilots call a dirty little secret about the way America’s aviation industry has evolved in the last decade.
Small regional airlines such as Colgan Air, operator of the doomed flight, have grown to the point where they now fly half the scheduled airline trips in America, carrying about 20 percent of the flying public.
These feeder airlines sign agreements with major carriers, which sell the tickets and often don’t tell passengers that they are not flying the likes of Continental, US Airways or Delta, but small regional carriers instead.
Three days of hearings into the Flight 3407 crash by the National Transportation Safety Board last month, and related hearings this week in Congress, reveal an industry where co-pilots of regional aircraft make so little money that some qualify for food stamps, and many are forced to take a second job.
These pilots, much like Flight 3407 pilot Marvin D. Renslow and co-pilot Rebecca L. Shaw, lack the money for hotel rooms or crash pads and commute to their flying base, catching what sleep they can in noisy crew rooms.
“There’s a joke among airline pilots,” said a captain for a major airline who grew up in the regionals. “What do you call a regional first officer without a girlfriend? You call him homeless.”
The result of the low pay is pilots who often arrive for work fatigued. They then have four or five 14-to 16-hour days with multiple takeoffs and landings in all kinds of weather to fit into their eight hours of flight time.
The newer regional pilots are often, as in Renslow’s case, graduates of flight academies that produce pilots quickly and place them in co-pilot seats of regional airlines such as Gulfstream International in Florida, Renslow’s alma mater. “One of the things that you buy,” former Gulfstream pilot Kenny Edwards said of the $37,000 he paid at Gulfstream’s academy, “is not only all your training, but 250 hours in the right seat, flying passengers around.”
“That’s one of the things about regional airlines,” said Edwards, who was fired after he refused to fly a plane he said lacked an instrument that saved his passengers’ lives in a previous flight. “The right [copilot’s] seat in a regional airline is basically an apprentice seat.”
A Colgan captain, who asked that his name not be used in order to protect his job, described what it was like to have a rookie graduate of a flight academy sitting as his co-pilot.
“I felt like I was a single pilot. It was a lot of work for me,” he said. Colgan even had their own pay-for-training type scheme in the mid-’90s. Pretty much the same thing that Gulfstream did. They copied exactly what Gulfstream did.”
How did the passengers on Flight 3407 end up flying on a regional turboprop operated by Colgan, when they bought tickets from Continental?
Colgan Air was formed by Charles J. Colgan Sr. and 16 shareholders in 1965 in Manassas, Va., about 35 miles southwest of Washington, D. C.
Colgan, now 82, is a former Air Force pilot and the senior senator in the Virginia State Legislature. He did not respond to a request for an interview, but after the crash of Flight 3407, he said he knew the crew members who perished and was devastated by the crash.
Colgan ran a flight school and charter operation until 1970, when he started flying commercial passengers with a Beech 99 plane. The route was mainly for IBM employees from Manassas to Poughkeepsie.
The airline grew and by 1986 had nine airplanes and flew to a dozen cities from Washington.
Colgan sold Colgan Air to Presidential Airlines, which quickly went into bankruptcy.
By 1991, Colgan and his family, many of whom had worked for Colgan Air, were itching to get back in the business and restarted Colgan Air.
Its first flights were on a single plane between Dulles International Airport in Washington and Binghamton, and after flying its own routes for six years, Colgan signed an agreement to fly for Continental.
Louis Smith, a retired captain for Northwest Airlines, runs Fltops.Com, which helps pilots guide their careers. He said that these code-sharing agreements, as pacts like the one between Colgan and Continental are called, put regional airlines on the map.
“You start a regional airline and sign a feeder agreement, and people just show up,” Smith said. “You don’t have anyone answering the phone and selling the tickets.”
Is it being honest with passengers not to tell them which airline is flying the plane?
“I think that the airlines probably should disclose these relationships,” Smith said. “I think passengers would like to know the airline they’re flying on. At the current time, most of the logos on the airline will say Continental Connection, Delta Connection.”
“I see this as a risk-swap arrangement between the main lines and the regional airlines,” Smith said. “The regional airline is protecting the mainline airline from increasing labor costs, pilot costs. And the mainline carrier is shielding the feeder airlines from oil prices.”
Colgan thrived on the feeder arrangement—later adding US Airways and United Express — as well as a program set up by the U. S. Department of Transportation that subsidizes air routes to small cities.
Under this program, Colgan last year collected $20 million from the federal government.
Besides the subsidies, Colgan Air also benefited from the Colgan family interests, say Colgan pilots.
Said one of those pilots, who asked not to be identified:
• “All of the company cars we used to have were from Battlefield Ford in Manassas, Va. Battlefield Ford is owned by the Colgan family.
• “The instruments you see on the airplanes that were refurbished were done by Capital Avionics. Capital Avionics is owned by the Colgan family.
• “The training center for Colgan was in a strip mall that the Colgan family owned. When the classes were full, what they would do is . . . force the pilots in the training class to sit in the dance studio next door, also owned by Colgan. There would be pilots who would come to get professional training, professional standards and professional guidance in how to operate an airliner, and we’d be sitting in a dance studio as 12-year-olds are learning to dance.”
Colgan had a reputation, its pilots said, of closely watching the bottom line.
“Colgan has always been a place where people come in, they get their time, and they get out,” said a Colgan pilot. “They don’t want you staying around long. They want you to come in, get your time and move your career forward. And I believe they treat people that way.”
Complaints about schedules and other matters, the pilot said, were met with a response: “Basically, we have a stack of resumes of people who will be willing to take your job.”
Another Colgan pilot said the company treats those in the cockpit as just pieces of equipment. He contrasted that with Southwest Airlines, considered by many the ultimate employer. “Southwest charges the least, yet they pay the most,” this pilot said. “And they treat their crews with the most respect.
“We want to be treated as professionals We want to be treated as more than equipment. Right now, management is the team, and we’re the equipment. At Southwest, that’s not the case. Everyone pulls their weight, everyone does their job, and they’re treated with respect.”
Pinnacle Airlines, another regional operator, bought Colgan for $20 million in January 2007. At the time, Colgan operated 38 SAAB 340s and 15 Q400s, the Bombardier twin-engine turboprop model that crashed in Clarence Center.
Regional airline pilots say they hope that publicity from the safety board hearings into Flight 3407 and the subsequent congressional hearings will shine a bright light on regional safety, pay scales and training.
“The Buffalo crash seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Edwards said.
“Flying on a regional airline is safe,” said a Colgan pilot. “However, we can make it safer. And the way to make it safer is to force these companies to offer livable wages to their employees, enhance their safety programs and increase rational policies for your employees to work under.”
He said Colgan’s sick-leave policy, even under the new Pinnacle ownership, is punitive, an accusation that Colgan executives denied at the safety board hearings. “If we call in sick, we will get a missed trip, and if the missed trip caused the flight to be canceled, you could be fired,” he said. “You could be a lot safer if you don’t have a threat hanging over you.”
Edwards originally complained to the Federal Aviation Administration about safety and maintenance problems at Gulfstream, but the complaint was dismissed. He then went to Congress, contending that Gulfstream was using automobile parts in planes and was keeping pilots in the air past their legal limits. The FAA reopened its probe and has recommended $1.3 million in fines. Gulfstream denies the accusations.
The complaints haven’t done anything for Edwards. He’s working as a waiter in Phoenix — blacklisted, he said, because he refused to fly what he said was an unsafe airplane. Gulfstream has denied this accusation, as well.
Edwards, who is suing to get his job back, said the FAA needs to take a firmer hand.
“The real problem to me,” Edwards said, “is the FAA. I think there are a lot of areas that seriously need to be scrutinized, not studied, but fixed. Pilot fatigue, for example; this can’t keep coming up.”
mbeebe@buffnews.com

http://www.buffalonews.com/145/story/697390.html
 

Yuppyguppy

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Mainline pilots don't want to fly the lawndarts. They chose to scope them out. It was THEIR choice. They sold their soul to the devil 2 decades ago. They can't have their cake and eat it too. This is a different industry now. Things change in every industry over time. Industry evolves over time as well. The argument that all rj's should be flown at mainline is no longer valid. Those days are long gone.


Those days long gone??? I think the public is waking up to the fact that EXPERIENCED pilots are leaving the industry because they are being forced out by management and the new winged RJ pilots. Did you see the latest Chicago Tribune? Yesterday shed new light on what is really going on. The public wants experience and they just might be choosing full size airplanes instead of your lawndarts...
 

Voice Of Reason

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Those days long gone??? I think the public is waking up to the fact that EXPERIENCED pilots are leaving the industry because they are being forced out by management and the new winged RJ pilots. Did you see the latest Chicago Tribune? Yesterday shed new light on what is really going on. The public wants experience and they just might be choosing full size airplanes instead of your lawndarts...
www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-wed-regionals-growth-0610-jun10,0,4248518.story
chicagotribune.com

Bigger role of small airlines raises safety concerns

Critics worry about long hours, but trade group touts safety

By Julie Johnsson and Jon Hilkevitch
Tribune reporters
June 10, 2009


Nick Fulks says he met the "bare minimum requirements" when, at age 23, with 1,020 hours of flight experience, he was hired to fly jets for a large commuter airline.

Make no mistake: Fulks loves to fly, and he is a serious student of everything aviation.

But the hours are abysmal and the pay is so low that Fulks, who had shared an apartment out of economic necessity, is moving back to his parents' house in Rogers Park two years into his career.

Struggles like his -- handling stress and fatigue and mastering a learning curve in the cockpit that plays out over years -- long have been a standard practice in the airline industry. It is aviation's equivalent to physicians training as a resident.

But as regional carriers become big business, some safety experts question whether pilot fatigue, training and salaries that demand overtime hours are eroding safety standards.

This sector exploded in size and importance this decade as cash-strapped airlines like United, American, Delta, Continental and US Airways shrank their regular operations and outsourced more flying to regional or feeder carriers. These contract partners operate planes, which hold between 10 and 100 passengers, emblazoned with the large carriers' logos.

Once the provider of short puddle-jump flights, regional carriers operate about half of all the commercial airline flights in the U.S. and carry about 20 percent of commercial airline passengers. During a four-year stretch following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the amount of flying they handled nearly tripled, according to data compiled for the Tribune by OAG, which tracks airline data.

Commuter airlines are required to meet the same federal safety and training standards as the major airlines. But a recent spate of accidents involving this sector has heightened concerns that rapid growth at some carriers may have jeopardized safeguards.

The February crash of a Colgan Air/Continental Connection plane that killed 50 people near Buffalo has focused attention on flight-training lapses and the financial pressures faced by pilots who are trying to make a living flying smaller planes. Many regional pilots commute cross country and spend nights in airport crew lounges to save money.

Some question whether the FAA, whose inspectors are stretched thin, has delegated sufficient resources to the sector. Like pilots at the airlines they oversee, inspectors handling regional carriers are the most junior at the agency, said Linda Goodrich, an FAA inspector and vice president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, a union representing the inspectors.

But the trade group representing regional carriers insists they are every bit as safe as their larger counterparts.

"These are not your grandfather's, or even your father's, regional airlines. Today we have one commercial airline industry, and the flight crews all meet the exact same standards," said Roger Cohen, president of the Regional Airline Association.

Some within aviation are concerned passengers will start to avoid smaller jets.

"The perception is out there, so the industry is going to have to address it," said Louis Smith, a retired Northwest Airlines pilot and president of FltOps.com, a consulting and market research firm.

Regional carriers let airlines cap their costs and also tailor plane size to the volume of passengers willing to pay full price, a helpful tool for planning in a tough economy or for service to a small city.

"Quite frankly, smaller aircraft make a lot more sense," said John Schalliol, executive director for South Bend Regional Airport, in northern Indiana. "We would have a few flights a day with the big planes. But with smaller ones, airlines could cater to the public's need with more flight times."

But airlines aren't just flying smaller jets to smaller cities. Chicago-based United Airlines last week ended its mainline service out of Miami, which once served as a hub for its Latin American routes, transferring all flying to its regional partners. Regional carriers operate more flights than do United's pilots: 1,900 to 1,200, daily.

"We work closely with all of our United Express flying partners to ensure they meet FAA and our own high standards," said United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy.

United expects to increase flying by its regional partners, under United Express, 9 percent to 10 percent this year even as the third-largest U.S. carrier slashes its mainline flying. It is not alone.

Feeder airlines are winning contracts to take over flying because they have significantly lower labor costs than major carriers. The largest carriers invest from two to five times as much in pilot pay, benefits and training than do regional airlines, according to data compiled by market research firm AirlineForecasts LLC.

"That's what this is all about: the labor arbitrage," said Vaughn Cordle, a retired airline pilot and chief executive of AirlineForecasts. "Pilots don't mind making $16,000 per year because it's a stepping stone."

There is no direct statistical correlation between pilot pay and safety, Cordle said. But pilots who have to work overtime to stay above the poverty line may be more susceptible to fatigue, a frequent culprit in aviation mishaps. There's also a concern that as regional carriers rapidly add new and larger planes to their fleet, they may not provide adequate training to pilots forced to adjust to different aircraft amid a time crunch, Goodrich said.

Fulks is one of the lucky ones, a pilot employed by a large, stable regional carrier, which he asked not to identify. He has prospects of earning a six-figure income after he pays his dues.

He and his parents spent about $100,000 on his flight education, leading to a starting salary of about $22,000.

"A lot of the first officers I know are almost angry, and some are even jealous of their friends who went into other fields and made big money right out of college," Fulks said. "We're professionals who are responsible for so many lives day in and day out, yet we are so severely underpaid. ... I try not to think that way."

jjohnsson@tribune.com

jhilkevitch@tribune.com

Copyright © 2009, Chicago Tribune
 

i fly boxes

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DTW SYR should be a 50 seat route if its not profitable on the DC9. But it should be flown by mainline pilots. Come on Prater, Take it back!!
 

flyboyike

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The public wants experience and they just might be choosing full size airplanes instead of your lawndarts...
The public wants a $95 ticket from cheaptickets.com, they don't seem to give a crap about much else.
 

flyboyike

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I disagree, as do most of the professional pilots I know.

We now see what the outsourcing of RJ flying has done to the profession, and many pilots are doing what they can to hold the line, if not take BACK scope give-backs. (AirTran pilots voted down a T.A. that gave away major scope concessions including larger RJ's and virtually unlimited Q400 flying and want to close the loophole even more as we move forward).

We recognize that no-furlough clauses are USELESS.
We see what is happening at Midwest and will make sure language is written so that regional creep can't be misinterpreted as "code share".
We know the future will include smaller aircraft, and simply want to fly them at mainline wages.

You may see some poor examples of pilot groups that keep giving up the store (Delta's recent allowance of additional seats on some RJ's), but for the most part, half or more of the pilots at mainline airlines are ex-RJ pilots who had to LIVE through an extra 5, 7, or 10 years at a regional because of this and will fight HARD to keep it from further deteriorating.

Give it another 3-5 years as those junior pilots get more involved in their unions and even take the reigns from the older guys who "gave up the store" back in the 80's and 90's. Getting people in positions of power in unions and enough pilots in the general ranks to back them is the first, key step to REALLY taking things back.

The next step is getting people to have the STOMACH to fight the hard fight; because nothing short of a legal job action is going to TAKE BACK large gains in scope give-back.

How important is it to you? It's my #1 priority in any contract (and is many other people's as well), and I'm willing to burn the house down because the house won't hold together without Scope to begin with. We've seen it too many times, and I refuse to believe there's no taking control back of our lives.
I want desperately to believe you, but something tells me the mainline MEC's will once again take care of the top 5% of their own seniority list, everyone else be damned. Happened before, will happen again.
 

PeanuckleCRJ

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Mainline pilots don't want to fly the lawndarts. They chose to scope them out. It was THEIR choice. They sold their soul to the devil 2 decades ago. They can't have their cake and eat it too. This is a different industry now. Things change in every industry over time. Industry evolves over time as well. The argument that all rj's should be flown at mainline is no longer valid. Those days are long gone.

Thank you, 1990.

It's 2009... the outlook is different, the mainline pilot groups are different. One airline, one list.
 

waka

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Mainline pilots don't want to fly the lawndarts. They chose to scope them out. It was THEIR choice. They sold their soul to the devil 2 decades ago. They can't have their cake and eat it too. This is a different industry now. Things change in every industry over time. Industry evolves over time as well. The argument that all rj's should be flown at mainline is no longer valid. Those days are long gone.
I disagree, as do most of the professional pilots I know.
Disagree or not, professional pilots or not, the way SEVEN stated it is the history and it is exactly what happened.
 
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PeanuckleCRJ

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The history of scope is what happened.... but that is crying over spilled milk.

I thinking getting ALL flying back to mainline is a bit of a pipedream. However with appropriate pressure and support from our regional counterparts, scope recovery most certainly is possible.
 

waka

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The history of scope is what happened.... but that is crying over spilled milk.
I don't see it as crying over spilled milk. I see it as an opportunity to learn from the past.
 
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