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View Full Version : Major Training/Merger question


stinsonjr
08-12-2007, 06:13 AM
Reading the AA587 thread made me think of a question I have wondered about. There are lots of threads that talk about mergers and the seniority lists, etc, but what happens to the training cultures of the two merged airlines?

1) If two airlines (say AA/TWA) merge, did different training cultures exist, and if so, how are any differences handled? Does the buying airline (AA, or America West in the US Air buyout) simply take over, or are ideas from both airlines merged, using best practices from each?

2) Are airline training departments, and methods of flying so similiar that this is a non-issue?

Reading the AA587 thread made me think that there may exist differences in this area and I wanted to ask. This kind of thing is interesting to me and I think it would be a major area of concern in a merger. Thanks in advance for any input on this subject.


Oldfreightdawg
08-12-2007, 08:38 AM
Yes. sometimes very different training cultures. Usually however, the merged airlines pick one set of ops specs, because combining the two would create a new set of ops specs that would have to be re-certified (Big $$$).

In the case of AA/TWA, TWA had to come over to our side (unfortunately). TWA guys got some ground school and sim about 4-5 days worth I think. AA guys got about 6 hours of ground school on differences.

Your right about it being a major concern in a merger, but one that is often overlooked because the only people interested in a merger are investment bankers and a handful of stockholders--senior management. These players are only looking for the big payout in the short term, Stephen Wolf is a perfect example of this kind of behavior.

stinsonjr
08-12-2007, 08:48 AM
In the case of AA/TWA, TWA had to come over to our side (unfortunately). .

Why "unfortunately"?

I am interested because I have been involved in mergers (non-airline - business and a non-profit) and I have a grasp of the operation difficulties these can create...and these are in things that do not have the capacity of wrecks and people dying. It always made me wonder about how this can be accomplished safely and in an efficient manner.

How did the TWA guys react to AA procedures, etc? Did they find the training more vigorous or less? Do the vanquished carriers have any input?


B757200ER
08-12-2007, 04:36 PM
Why "unfortunately"?

How did the TWA guys react to AA procedures, etc? Did they find the training more vigorous or less? Do the vanquished carriers have any input?

Put it this way: Two airlines, twoi VERY different styles, cultures and procedures. Noone wants to change after 20 years doing something. TWA was always putting safety as #1. Our procedures reflected that.

aa73
08-13-2007, 06:17 AM
Put it this way: Two airlines, twoi VERY different styles, cultures and procedures. Noone wants to change after 20 years doing something. TWA was always putting safety as #1. Our procedures reflected that.

True statement.

TWA's cockpit culture was miles ahead of ours (AA.) I've said many times before, we could only be so lucky as to have that type of cockpit culture. AA's cockpit culture is still stuck in the 1950s, very old-fashioned. One thing I never agreed with at AA is that they don't really train the copilots to be captains from day one. When you're an AA F/O, that's all you are - fly the a/c on your leg, work the radios on the CA's leg. "Son, you'll learn all of this stuff some day when you upgrade." And sadly, if you talk to most AA F/Os, they reflect this attitude. "PAs? That's not my job!"

TWA's attitude was - you are a Captain in training, from day one. Excellent, and I wish we would adopt that.

In a truly perfect merger (is there such a thing?), the newly merged airline will adopt the best procedures of the old airline and dump the worst. Some people talk about Jetblue, being such a mix of old airlines, they took the best from all of those airlines and adopted them for their procedures.

73

stinsonjr
08-13-2007, 06:58 AM
Interesting and thanks for the replies. My Grandfather ran the TWA training department in the early to mid 60's but then went back to the line (after a side trip on loan to Saudi Arabian airlines). He told me that TWA used to give upgrade rides to co-pilots at five years and it was an up or out type of deal - that didn't mean you could necessarily hold a Captain line, but they wanted to know you could do the job. May have some details of this confused as this was long ago that we talked about this. He also always told me that TWA was a "pilots airline"...which I assume meant that pilots had perhaps more input than at other lines.

Freightbird
08-13-2007, 07:38 AM
The way it was explained to me, "when you mix ice cream and dog sh1t together, you haven't improved the taste of the dog sh1t, but you've ruined the ice cream.

Oldfreightdawg
08-13-2007, 04:16 PM
Why "unfortunately"?

I am interested because I have been involved in mergers (non-airline - business and a non-profit) and I have a grasp of the operation difficulties these can create...and these are in things that do not have the capacity of wrecks and people dying. It always made me wonder about how this can be accomplished safely and in an efficient manner.

How did the TWA guys react to AA procedures, etc? Did they find the training more vigorous or less? Do the vanquished carriers have any input?

I couldn't agree more (with wrecks and killing people) I guess that's why I say "unfortunately". Since AA's ops specs are interwoven into the very soul of AA in every operational aspect, including training. It's impossible to take parts from both and make a better training environment because every change to AA's operation (including training) takes FAA approval, both an expensive and time consuming process. So, "unfortunately" TWA gets AA crammed into them, in the interest of standardization and speed of combining operations.

That's not to say that some of TWA's people had no input, but as old Abe Lincoln put it: "we will become all of one thing, or all of the other, but we will cease to be divided". In the case of airline mergers it means use ONE of the operating certificates, but not both. Unless you want to re-certify the airline.

I would think any veteran pilot going through another airline's training program would find some difficulties adjusting, but by and large I think most make it through just fine.



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