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Old 11-07-2019, 06:18 AM   #1  
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Exclamation The AA Flow-Thru Agreements MUST END

The American Airlines flow-thru agreement with its wholly-owned subsidiaries need to end immediately. Here's why:

Starting in 2020, the airline in industry is going to see over 6,000 mainline pilots (legacy, major, national, U/LCC, cargo, etc.) hired per year for the foreseeable future. SIX THOUSAND. United is hiring 4,000 between now and 2022 (averages around 1,300 per year), Delta just announced they're hiring over 1,300 pilots in 2020 which will likely continue for years to come to keep up with their retirements, American Airlines is hiring around 1,300 pilots next year and will continue to hire at least 900 per year to offset retirements, Southwest & JetBlue are on a hiring streak of roughly 600 per year and indicate they will continue to do so. FedEx is both growing and dealing with their own retirements with a forecast of around 800 pilots being hired next year, UPS is dealing with the same issues and will be hiring well over 300 next year. Spirit announced a huge aircraft order last month and will be hiring 600-700 pilots per year for growth for at least the next 4 years. Frontier is hiring at least 30 per month for at least the next 6 years to build up their pilot group given their large purchase order of aircraft. Moxy is allegedly starting up within the next 2 years and will need to hire a few hundred pilots just to get kickstarted. Allegiant is hiring 100-200 pilots per year as well. I guess there is also Sun Country and all those other ACMI outfits as well, but meh.

All that said, six thousand pilots is a conservative estimate for number of pilots needed per year at mainline. That's A LOT of movement. Let's consider the applicant pools --

Regional Airlines. Regionals have roughly 20,000 pilots on their books; given that mainline hires mostly captains, the applicant pool is in the ballpark of 10,000 pilots. Of those, approximately 10% are lifers with another 5-10% that are unhireable due to DUIs, criminal backgrounds, too many checkride failures, etc. That leaves us with 8,500ish eligible regional captains. Now consider the pool of pilots with a pilot resume that differentiates them from the standard "I'm a pilot, I fly" resume (undergrad or graduate degree, volunteer work, veteran status, leadership roles, extra type ratings, etc.). Extremely competitive competitive candidates are going to get purged very quickly.

Non-Legacies & ACMI. This one is a tough one to predict. If the company has a decent contract and a pilot on property is already a captain at a place like Spirit or Kalitta, it'd be tough to leave to give up the pay, schedule, retirement, etc. The people most tempted to leave are going to be first officers at these companies. Interestingly enough, places like Spirit, Frontier, and Allegiant have been to known to hire guys with little to no TPIC time in order to keep them from getting snagged up from the legacy carriers with time in an A320 type. That said, the competitive pool - so long as TPIC is a discriminator - is probably lower than people would think.

Corporate & Fractionals. They definitely have a shot at a major if they want it, but they'll likely need a higher experience threshold to be considered since the majors (or at least the legacies) like 121 experience. This applicant pool is hard to predict in terms of numbers and overall competitiveness.

Military. In any given year, there's roughly 800-1,200 military fixed-wing pilots leaving the service. Not all of them are going to pursue a career in the airlines, but given the career opportunity, many nowadays likely are strongly considering it.

Now consider the current flow-thru agreement with AA....
Approximately 50% of all new hires from AA are coming from their flow-thru. Meanwhile, most pilots at Envoy, Piedmont, and PSA have applications out to all of the aforementioned companies hiring en masse in 2020 and beyond. Therefore, most of the competitive or desirable candidates in the years ahead are going to get snatched up elsewhere before they ever come close to flowing to mainline. AA thinks the flow-thru is a carrot for keeping their regional carriers staffed - which is true insofar as recruitment goes. However, it blows my mind that AA effectively has zero control in 50% of their new hires throughout this hiring wave.

The flow-thru has allowed some highly experienced regional captains familiar with the AA system come over to mAAinline in recent years which is great for the pilot and great for the company. However, that's simply going to be less and less the case in years ahead. It would be one thing if AA's regional carriers applied the same high level of scrutiny to their pilot new hires as did AA mainline, but given the squeeze on recruiting at the regional levels, there were periods of time where the wholly-owned carriers were hiring everyone with a pulse.

By eliminating the flow-thru, AA can have 100% discretion in their hiring practices and compete for the limited pool of highly competitive candidates rather than relegating 50% of their new hires to come from flow through candidates that were undesirable by other major carriers.

Discuss.
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:27 AM   #2  
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Yawn 🥱
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:46 AM   #3  
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:03 AM   #4  
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If it's serving it's purpose of helping recruit new regional guys to fly for the substandard wages and work rules provided, why would they cancel that?
Then, by your own prediction, the hiring wave is about to pick up dramatically.... meaning they will all be hired elsewhere long before flowing.
So, what's the problem?
You've got an interesting argument in search of a problem where none exists
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:05 AM   #5  
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:18 AM   #6  
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You are aware that AA will hire Envoy/PSA/Piedmont pilots outside of the flow.

If you’re that special man I’d put in that app and update regularly.
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:19 AM   #7  
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Experience as a 121 pilot is the most desirable attribute for a new hire at mainline by far. Veteran status, volunteer work, graduate degrees, etc. are all boxes on an application to be checked or not checked and have very little impact in your ability to perform as a pilot an an airline. A flow through has more than enough time as PIC at any of the WOs to make a more than competent FO at American. You want the “most talented” pilots I guess? What exactly does that mean really in today’s environment? Even if you had to sit next to an FO who had a DUI in 2001 before they were at the airlines? Who cares? They just proved that they could do the job and fly American passengers without incident for the last 6-8 years. The only thing you need to worry about is a poor attendance record or disciplinary record at their WO, but that will be a disqualifying factor soon enough.
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:38 AM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6ix9ineYearFlow View Post
The American Airlines flow-thru agreement with its wholly-owned subsidiaries need to end immediately. Here's why:
The "why" is meaningless because you don't have the "how." It is contractual language at each regional. How do you propose to convince both the pilot groups and managements at those regionals to alter their contracts against their own interests? Do you have a plan for that? This is a pointless conversation.
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:47 AM   #9  
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The issue is a real one and why all the mainline HR departments except AA have ways to throttle and/or eliminate candidates from their “flow” programs, be they merely guaranteed interviews or additional testing or criteria demanding so much flight time as a 121 captain or an absence of bad indicators.

There is an old saying in economics, often called Gresham’s Law. It goes like this:

Quote:
Gresham's law is a monetary principle stating that "bad money drives out good". For example, if there are two forms of commodity money in circulation, which are accepted by law as having similar face value, the more valuable commodity will gradually disappear from circulation
What that means is that even if someone like an AA wholly owned starts out with a fair random mix of the quality of newbies being hired over time the better candidates in that group are going to be taken up by a major before they ever get to the point that they would be flowing to AA. With every year of experience more and more of the ‘cream’ of each pilot group would leave and by the time someone was actually flowing to AA they would be coming from the leftovers, the least desirable of the group that started.

But it’s actually worse than that, because there is clearly no guarantee the AA wholly owned actually WOULD be getting a fair random mix.

We’ve seen it time and time again recommended in APC. If you are a pilot with “issues” - be they training failures, previous FAR violations, DUIs, no degree, arrested for beating your spouse or whatever - the recommendation is that you “go to an AA wholly owned, because even if the pay sucks and the work rules aren’t the best, it’s the only way you can be assured of getting to a major with...” whatever particular mishap or malfeasance might guarantee the other majors don’t take you.

The OP is 100% correct. The current AA flow - while it works admirably to keep the regionals filled - pretty much guarantees that many of the guys and gals that do eventually wind up being hired at the WO will be sort of the culls of the industry. And the quality of this group will further be reduced over time as the better candidates are picked up before their flow dates.

Over time, the “flowees” will be the leftovers of the industry - people who would not and could not have made it strictly on merit based hire. They may certainly be good enough, and it might even be argued they deserve the position for long and faithful service to AA, but they definitely won’t be the “pick of the litter.”
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Old 11-07-2019, 07:55 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excargodog View Post
The issue is a real one and why all the mainline HR departments except AA have ways to throttle and/or eliminate candidates from their “flow” programs, be they merely guaranteed interviews or additional testing or criteria demanding so much flight time as a 121 captain or an absence of bad indicators.

There is an old saying in economics, often called Gresham’s Law. It goes like this:



What that means is that even if someone like an AA wholly owned starts out with a fair random mix of the quality of newbies being hired over time the better candidates in that group are going to be taken up by a major before they ever get to the point that they would be flowing to AA. With every year of experience more and more of the ‘cream’ of each pilot group would leave and by the time someone was actually flowing to AA they would be coming from the leftovers, the least desirable of the group that started.

But it’s actually worse than that, because there is clearly no guarantee the AA wholly owned actually WOULD be getting a fair random mix.

We’ve seen it time and time again recommended in APC. If you are a pilot with “issues” - be they training failures, previous FAR violations, DUIs, no degree, arrested for beating your spouse or whatever - the recommendation is that you “go to an AA wholly owned, because even if the pay sucks and the work rules aren’t the best, it’s the only way you can be assured of getting to a major with...” whatever particular mishap or malfeasance might guarantee the other majors don’t take you.

The OP is 100% correct. The current AA flow - while it works admirably to keep the regionals filled - pretty much guarantees that many of the guys and gals that do eventually wind up being hired at the WO will be sort of the culls of the industry. And the quality of this group will further be reduced over time as the better candidates are picked up before their flow dates.

Over time, the “flowees” will be the leftovers of the industry - people who would not and could not have made it strictly on merit based hire. They may certainly be good enough, and it might even be argued they deserve the position for long and faithful service to AA, but they definitely won’t be the “pick of the litter.”
I completely agree. Well put.
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