Originally Posted by forgot to bid
If you could send 2 76 seaters for the cost of 1 100 seat DC9, then you would because thats an extra 52 seats for the same price plus you could offer flights 2 or 3 hours apart. If its 2 50-seat CRJ200s for the cost of 1 100-seat DC9 then whats the point? Their goal isn't to keep either the CRJ200 or DC9, otherwise we'd still have 732s. Their goal is to get cheaper airplanes operating in mass.
Now, the problem is if 2 76 seaters = 1 150 seater (i.e. MD88). If that happens or if it is happening, then we've got a problem because all things being equal I think the company would rather offer frequency and the pricing advantages therein rather than run a single jet. Thus the whole reason for ensuring scope is not relaxed by our pilot group and/or our union and we secure 76 seaters on our side of the fence. Or, the company will in its financial interest continue to pursue scope relaxation while at the same time moving towards the elimination of the 9 followed shortly thereafter with the MD88 and they could potentially get both.
This is what has happened and continues to happen...
Just look at the cost for a 1.5 hour flight:
461 GPH x1.5 = 691.5
$1,949 BH x1.5 = $2923.5
Fuel for 2 departures = 1383 GAL
Cost of 2 departures = $5847 for 152 seats
869 GPH x1.5 = 1303.5
$3,019 x1.5 = $4528.5
883 x1.5 = 1324.5
$3,662 x1.5 = $5493
The cost of running the RJ is only $350 (apx) more than an MD88 and you get 10 extra seats and of course frequency.
The 51+ seat jets must be flown by the majors if we want to ever make sizable increases in compensation. The regionals will never be able to command similar compensation to the majors due to the fact that they must compete with each other for the flying they get and are on short term contracts with their major partners. This allows management at regionals to keep compensation low playing on fear that their flying will be transferred if cost rise to high (and they are correct). This has had a direct impact on major airline compensation because mainline costs were so out of line with compensation and benefit level of the regionals.
Delta management has replaced mainline in numerous cities over the last 8 years and has done so with a lower cost product which has put compensation on a downward spiral. It took a 50% pay cut (as well as a lot of restructuring) to get an MD88 to be cost competitive with a CRJ. Ironically the 50% reduction in compensation as well as the lost of other benefits is what is helping us during this current down turn. Since we are at a similar cost to the RJs there has actually been bleeding at the regional level the time around but this has been at a high price to our quality of life.
The only way to increase what we are paid to fly an MD88 (or any aircraft) is if we are negotiating the rates for the 69+ seat jets, whether we fly them or not, thereby raising the cost of our replacement jets eliminating the downward pull. The other option is to trade more scope so that management can outsource more flying in order to change the breakeven cost. This is the current DALPA MO.
Lee Moak is correct that the RJ is good for mainline. In reality they are a good tool for management to make money off of cheap, controllable labor and in return Moak can get an extra 5% +/- for the pilots of Delta Air Lines. The problem is that this destroys the future of all professional pilots (over time, just look back 8 years) and has a negative effect immediately on the bottom 30 40 percent of the pilot group.
The line in the sand needs to become a wall and should be built at the 51 seat mark.