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View Full Version : How long can Alaska survive?


OneMore
09-30-2018, 04:06 PM
So I've been reading about the air group, picking up pieces of information here and there and decided to ask what you guys think of it.

It seems to me Alaska has been losing space in the market. Slowly and steadily, it feels they're getting squeezed even at home.
Southwest is pushing hard for Hawaii and Delta takes a big chunk of Seattle, it feels they have nowhere to go.
On top of the lack of space to grow, in their SEC filings of February, if I'm not mistaken, they pretty much said they don't know what to do with most of the things they bought from virgin, as well as some of the personnel, which makes us wonder why they bought them in first place.
I wonder how AS will remain competitive with so little room to grow and with competitors like Delta and Southwest.
Would it be crazy to think AS will eventually be bought out?


Packrat
10-01-2018, 06:10 AM
I'd worry more about being squeezed out than bought out. Alaska could survive if it retreats to the State of Alaska and back to the West Coast. That would require shrinking the airline back to pre-Virgin size.

Excargodog
10-01-2018, 06:59 AM
I'd worry more about being squeezed out than bought out. Alaska could survive if it retreats to the State of Alaska and back to the West Coast. That would require shrinking the airline back to pre-Virgin size.

It almost seems like they are doing that. Breaking up and getting rid of parts of VX they just bought, probably at a premium to their actual value. And even for Horizon, the transition back to jets hasn't gone well. Huge disconnect between aircraft and aircrew availability and Horizon vs Skywest codeshare flying. It's almost like they are banking crews against a huge future expansion at Horizon while at the same time they are limiting growth or scaling back at mainline.

A lot of Alaska pilots complain that AAG acts like a huge regional. Maybe that's the plan - cut back mainline flying and just become a huge regional? Who knows? Right now they are just giving away money to guys on reserve at Horizon that do embarrassingly little flying. Not efficient, not economical, and not good for those pilots career progression either when you struggle to make consolidation in four months.

Either there's something really Machiavellian going on and the Angle Lake Mafiosi are outsmarting everybody, or they are incredibly inept. It doesn't seem like there is a middle ground between those two possibilities.

I guess time will tell.


Ala5ka
10-01-2018, 07:29 AM
Not long. In this climate they either need to grow or it will be a slow death.. hopefully a buyout instead

OneMore
10-03-2018, 09:10 AM
It almost seems like they are doing that. Breaking up and getting rid of parts of VX they just bought, probably at a premium to their actual value. And even for Horizon, the transition back to jets hasn't gone well. Huge disconnect between aircraft and aircrew availability and Horizon vs Skywest codeshare flying. It's almost like they are banking crews against a huge future expansion at Horizon while at the same time they are limiting growth or scaling back at mainline.

A lot of Alaska pilots complain that AAG acts like a huge regional. Maybe that's the plan - cut back mainline flying and just become a huge regional? Who knows? Right now they are just giving away money to guys on reserve at Horizon that do embarrassingly little flying. Not efficient, not economical, and not good for those pilots career progression either when you struggle to make consolidation in four months.

Either there's something really Machiavellian going on and the Angle Lake Mafiosi are outsmarting everybody, or they are incredibly inept. It doesn't seem like there is a middle ground between those two possibilities.

I guess time will tell.


I want to trust they have a strategy behind their decisions, but it's becoming hard to believe that when you see what they're doing with virgin.

To me it's just a matter of time until offers start coming in.

Griever
10-03-2018, 12:07 PM
And even for Horizon, the transition back to jets hasn't gone well....

Right now they are just giving away money to guys on reserve at Horizon that do embarrassingly little flying. Not efficient, not economical, and not good for those pilots career progression either when you struggle to make consolidation...

Do you know what it takes to pull off a 50% fleet replacement, or to bring on a new aircraft, or expand an airline during a pilot shortage or hiring for planned attrition?? You don't. Please stop pretending. Stop. Your lack of informed opinion on these boards is getting old.

Klsytakesit
10-03-2018, 08:46 PM
Do you know what it takes to pull off a 50% fleet replacement, or to bring on a new aircraft, or expand an airline during a pilot shortage or hiring for planned attrition?? You don't. Please stop pretending. Stop. Your lack of informed opinion on these boards is getting old.
Watching many other airlines do it with ease. Horizon approaches everything they do by first figuring out how to screw their employees. Second, how to make the employees happy about being screwed and third, see step one....They have no time and very little talent leftover to run an airline....

snackysmores
10-17-2018, 10:50 PM
Watching many other airlines do it with ease. Horizon approaches everything they do by first figuring out how to screw their employees. Second, how to make the employees happy about being screwed and third, see step one....They have no time and very little talent leftover to run an airline....

Yep, they just announced hiring another union buster as "Managing Director of People and Labor Relations", she will report directly to Gary.

fivebyfive
10-19-2018, 11:40 AM
Yep, they just announced hiring another union buster as "Managing Director of People and Labor Relations", she will report directly to Gary.

It is safe to say something big is about to go down. Mrs Abidoye is an expensive big gun from Ford Harrison and has quite a highlight reel. Mgmt already has the Teamsters over a barrel with the new concessionary contract and the F/A union poses no real threat. As for day to day negotiations, the company knows you don’t need a expensive pit bull like Mrs Abidoye to win a chawauwau fight. Just a bigger chawauwau. My guess is the big news will drop in January.

DashAviator
10-19-2018, 04:47 PM
In my opinion, our current group of Horizon "leaders" have got to be some of the least ethical and honest managers in Horizon history. Here's a short list of what they've accomplished in the last year:

(1) Forced the pilot union to sue the company to gain information on jet deliveries. As expected, some of the jets ended up at SkyWest.

(2) Forced individual pilots and the union to file multiple grievances for contract violations. In some cases, the company has delayed implementing sections of our 2017 CBA ("this stuff takes time, ya know...").

(3) Wasted a lot of time on the part of our union volunteers. The union and company will meet and agree to work up a Letter of Understanding (say, on fatigue). A few weeks later? The company backs out or wants to cherry-pick the agreement.

It's typical union-busting 101: Stall, stall, delay, waste peoples' time.

In addition to violating our contract, the company now seems to be hell-bent on abusing our safety programs. It appears that Hornibrook wants to use the FOQA program to go after individual pilots. I'm also concerned about the use (or abuse) of irregularity reports. The company has claimed that they will never be used for disciplinary action, but it now appears that management is automatically forwarding them to the FAA.

Finally, hiring a new Director of Labor Relations from Ford and Harrison is a clear indicator of where the company is going from the standpoint of labor relations. If you work here, watch your back.

snackysmores
10-19-2018, 11:11 PM
Yep, good write up Dash. 100% accurate. I think our entire FOQA Dept has quit or in the process of returning to the line.

cactusflyer
10-20-2018, 08:19 PM
I’d bet that at least part of why we have an official director of union busting now is because management is expecting a private sector version of the Janus Supreme Court ruling to come down the pipe sometime soon-ish, so they want to be prepared to convince new hires that they really don’t want to give those evil unions part of their paycheck.

Plus, they probably figured out that if they can indoctrinate new hires that unions are bad at QX, and those people move to Alaska, it’ll weaken ALPA there, so it’s a win-win for management.


As for the FOQA thing, I remember Alaska blowing a gasket when that FO had the double stick shaker in ANC a few years back and the FOQA folks refused to give them confidential information, so I’m not at all surprised Alaska is trying to hijack it now.

snackysmores
10-20-2018, 10:16 PM
Iíd bet that at least part of why we have an official director of union busting now is because management is expecting a private sector version of the Janus Supreme Court ruling to come down the pipe sometime soon-ish, so they want to be prepared to convince new hires that they really donít want to give those evil unions part of their paycheck.

Plus, they probably figured out that if they can indoctrinate new hires that unions are bad at QX, and those people move to Alaska, itíll weaken ALPA there, so itís a win-win for management.


As for the FOQA thing, I remember Alaska blowing a gasket when that FO had the double stick shaker in ANC a few years back and the FOQA folks refused to give them confidential information, so Iím not at all surprised Alaska is trying to hijack it now.

If I remember correctly they did terminate her anyway.

They can try to indoctrinate the new hires, but then they fly with captains who've been here for a while and are set straight quickly haha.

nunya12345
10-21-2018, 03:16 PM
Iíd bet that at least part of why we have an official director of union busting now is because management is expecting a private sector version of the Janus Supreme Court ruling to come down the pipe sometime soon-ish, so they want to be prepared to convince new hires that they really donít want to give those evil unions part of their paycheck.

Plus, they probably figured out that if they can indoctrinate new hires that unions are bad at QX, and those people move to Alaska, itíll weaken ALPA there, so itís a win-win for management.


As for the FOQA thing, I remember Alaska blowing a gasket when that FO had the double stick shaker in ANC a few years back and the FOQA folks refused to give them confidential information, so Iím not at all surprised Alaska is trying to hijack it now.

Well, I don't think there is even a case pending any judgement in any of the courts that have to do with the same type of situation as the Janus case. There are many arguments against unions, and I personally don't think they should be around any longer, especially for government employment. I might be more for them if they were not allowed to spend my money on political contributions. However, the Teamsters are extremely liberal, and against pretty much everything that I stand for, politically, morally, Constitutionally. (If this angers you, so be it.)

All that being said, why are we members of the Teamsters, instead of ALPA? We contribute so little financially, that I don't think they really care what happens to us. I have absolutely nothing against the QXers that are our stewards; good people, and they bust their butts for us. However, the Teamsters proper have terrible leadership, and the lawyers that worked on the last contract couldn't look ahead more than three feet to assess what might happen in the future. The dang jets had never left the factory, so the company never violated the contract, which stated delivery and placed into revenue service, so someone please explain how they feel I am wrong. You have to look ahead and play the game from the other side's point of view.

Vent over on that, but, with all of the complaining about the company, and how you all feel like you have everything figured out and complain about the company leadership, did any of you apply for the base chief position, or didn't you have the stones to put yourself out there and try to change things for the better?

snackysmores
10-21-2018, 08:13 PM
Vent over on that, but, with all of the complaining about the company, and how you all feel like you have everything figured out and complain about the company leadership, did any of you apply for the base chief position, or didn't you have the stones to put yourself out there and try to change things for the better?

The BCP position is for yes men/women only. You WILL toe the company line and you WILL do and say what you're told. If not, you are FIRED. Freethinkers need not apply.

Sikorsky38
10-21-2018, 09:16 PM
...with all of the complaining about the company, and how you all feel like you have everything figured out and complain about the company leadership, did any of you apply for the base chief position, or didn't you have the stones to put yourself out there and try to change things for the better?

Maybe you didn't hear about the very popular Chief Pilot over at Alaska that was just fired from that position a couple months ago. That is a prime example of why other than 'Yes men', don't bother applying for jobs like that. If someone wants to make a difference, get involved with the union. You don't have to agree with Teamster National to do so either. You are supporting your fellow line pilots, not the Teamster organization.

cactusflyer
10-21-2018, 10:49 PM
Some of the current BCP's are really good people who will try and protect pilots, but it's pretty clear that upper management wants to eventually replace them with people who won't question anything that AAG does.

Since they appear to be considering allowing non-flying BCP's again, I'm wondering if they won't consider dragging some yes men (or women) out of retirement (or just grabbing them from Alaska) to make sure they don't end up with someone who might think for themselves sometimes.

PA18
10-21-2018, 11:34 PM
Sikorsky,

"Maybe you didn't hear about the very popular Chief Pilot over at Alaska that was just fired from that position a couple months ago. "

You have any more detail on what the popular one was known for or trying to do?

Galaxy5
10-22-2018, 07:16 AM
Maybe you didn't hear about the very popular Chief Pilot over at Alaska that was just fired from that position a couple months ago. That is a prime example of why other than 'Yes men', don't bother applying for jobs like that. If someone wants to make a difference, get involved with the union. You don't have to agree with Teamster National to do so either. You are supporting your fellow line pilots, not the Teamster organization.

Back before most of you youngsters got hired at QX there was a similar handling of a well-respected BCP within your own ranks (about 3 years ago).

snackysmores
10-22-2018, 09:06 AM
Back before most of you youngsters got hired at QX there was a similar handling of a well-respected BCP within your own ranks (about 3 years ago).

Are you referring to LH? I thought they gave him the boot because he accurately warned them about the upcoming FO shortage and reminded them too often their strategy wasn't working.

Galaxy5
10-22-2018, 10:00 AM
Are you referring to LH? I thought they gave him the boot because he accurately warned them about the upcoming FO shortage and reminded them too often their strategy wasn't working.

No, that was similar, though. Gotta admit I dumped a lot of stuff from my memory when I left last year, but iirc it was Bill(?) in BOI in the name of streamlining redundancies. They brought that office under SEA for a time, let the dust settle, then hired to have a BCP there again. It was the same shakeup that put April in PDX.

snackysmores
10-22-2018, 03:02 PM
No, that was similar, though. Gotta admit I dumped a lot of stuff from my memory when I left last year, but iirc it was Bill(?) in BOI in the name of streamlining redundancies. They brought that office under SEA for a time, let the dust settle, then hired to have a BCP there again. It was the same shakeup that put April in PDX.

Bill is still BCP in BOI

April was BCP in SEA but she's going to AS.

Galaxy5
10-22-2018, 05:28 PM
Bill is still BCP in BOI

April was BCP in SEA but she's going to AS.

Missed on the name then. April used to split her time with PDX, maybe end of 2015ish, and I think we had 3 covering the lower 5 bases.

cactusflyer
10-22-2018, 08:23 PM
I can't remember the name, but I think you're referring to the guy who was the only non-flying BCP at Horizon.

DashAviator
10-23-2018, 07:40 AM
sI can't remember the name, but I think you're referring to the guy who was the only non-flying BCP at Horizon.

You're probably thinking of Gary S., the base chief pilot for Seattle. He was a nice guy to most of us. For everyone else, he was in the "management material, but not an idiot" category. We could use a few more people like him.

On a side note (or is it a "snide" note?), most of our managers would fall into the "non-flying" category. Every one of them claims to be a line pilot "just like us", but the reality is that most of them would prefer to lie down in a bathtub full of live rattlesnakes than fly an actual airplane. It would be great if all of our managers would be required to fly at least six bids out of the year. They'd have to fly the same trips, stay in the same crappy hotels, and deal with fatigue, late vans, and 2-hour flow delays. It's fun to pretend to be a line pilot, but the reality involves a lot of hard work and patience.

Sikorsky38
10-23-2018, 10:06 PM
You have any more detail on what the popular one was known for or trying to do?

If you look back two or three months in Alaskaís forums, you will find a lot of commentary surrounding that event. He was extremely popular among the AS pilots.

Ashes
10-24-2018, 03:50 AM
Back to the original topic, Alaskaís best days are behind them. They burned through their reserves of employee goodwill whoring themselves out to Wall Street, and now that capital has fled for greener pastures, which it always does, theyíve got nothing.

This is the sick zebra in the herd, and the lions are going to eat. Theyíre getting beaten on home turf by Delta, and Southwest is about to take away a huge chunk of their Hawaii business. My friends there mainly just hope that their jobs will be a part of the carcass that the competitors end up fighting over.

Dashdrvr
10-26-2018, 10:25 AM
Back to the original topic, Alaska’s best days are behind them. They burned through their reserves of employee goodwill whoring themselves out to Wall Street, and now that capital has fled for greener pastures, which it always does, they’ve got nothing.

This is the sick zebra in the herd, and the lions are going to eat. They’re getting beaten on home turf by Delta, and Southwest is about to take away a huge chunk of their Hawaii business. My friends there mainly just hope that their jobs will be a part of the carcass that the competitors end up fighting over.

AS best days ARE behind them. As previously quoted, have burned through any employee morale. All that remains is the new hire rah rah. Might carry them for six months. AS and QX need that churn. With 880 pilots to operate 53 planes is some serious over staffing to cover the churn.
Probably the only way AS can survive is evolve into a LCC or ULCC. Tilden has made a couple references to mimicking a LLC with customer service of a legacy carrier. Unfortunately their cost structure is unlike a LCC. Last quarter results reflects that. Basically acquisition of Virgin has buried them and is going to require some serious excavation to return to their former glory. Firing a bunch of management isn't going to cut it.



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