Go Back  Airline Pilot Central Forums > Airline Pilot Forums > Major
US Airways pilot newsletter >

US Airways pilot newsletter

Major Legacy, National, and LCC

US Airways pilot newsletter

Old 08-03-2005, 10:58 PM
Gets Weekends Off
Thread Starter
Freighter Captain's Avatar
Joined APC: May 2005
Position: -400 CAPT
Posts: 483
Default US Airways pilot newsletter

Hello Everyone,

Yes, it's been a few weeks and yes, there's a lot to discuss and yes, I'm going to discuss it. In the next few days, I'll have the July traffic reports and the DOT's monthly Air Travel Consumer Report but first, let's look at some other things like:
Things you don't want to hear
Mesa is a Messa
Second-quarter financial results
Doug Parker's first strike
Bruce Lakefield's weekly messages
Why IndiGo (India's soon-to-be low-cost airline) is set for failure

First up:
As we go through life, there are some things we would rather not hear. For example:
"Will the defendant please rise"
"License and registration, please"
"Trust me"
"It's not you, it's me"
and my newest favorite "We appreciate your patience"

In one of Bruce Lakefield's recent weekly phone message to employees, he mentioned how bad weather plays havoc with the operation of the airline. I'm guessing he was only referring to the mainline operation. As far as the Express side goes, specifically in Philadelphia, I've never seen such a mess, especially with Mesa Airlines.

I can't even begin to tell you how many flights have been cancelled for the following reason: "Due to Air Traffic Congestion and resulting lengthy delays, this flight has been cancelled." Oh, and here's another popular excuse, "This flight has been cancelled due to a lack of a flight crew."

Recently, I got to witness Mesa Airlines up close and personal. My flight had a posted delay of only about 15 minutes while we waited for a flight crew. Nothing too unusual about that - it happens. The agent said we would board as soon as the crew showed up and then thanked us "for our patience." Then, once the crew was onboard, there was a "minor maintenance delay," which "should only take about 15 minutes and then we'll begin boarding" and then, once again, we were thanked for our patience. The delay turned into an hour and of course, we were thanked again for our patience. After boarding, we sat for about 20 minutes until finally one of the pilots said "we're just waiting for someone to come and load the baggage and as soon as that's done, we'll be underway. Thanks for your patience." After waiting 30 minutes, someone came and loaded the 12 bags that were gate checked.

We then departed the gate but we didn't get very far. After sitting for about 20 minutes, one of the pilots told us that "we don't have a departure sequence number yet, but it looks like there's at least 25 planes in front of us. We'll get back to you as soon as we know. Thanks for your patience."

Now this certainly isn't Mesa's problem, but you see where I'm going here. It's just one thing after another, and it's almost on a daily basis. I've monitored flights between PHL and Wilmington, NC, where I live, which are operated by Mesa Airlines and the service is embarrassing. One flight cancelled 5 out of 8 days in July, all for Air Traffic Congestion. Oddly, I don't recall ever seeing mainline flights cancelled for this reason.

And it's not just Mesa. In fact, you can go to www.phl.org and pull up the current arrival and departure status for all flights in and out of PHL. See who's late, who's cancelled, etc. The vast majority of the cancellations are Express flights. But the bottom line in all of this is that so many paying customers are having their travel plans disrupted and/or ruined because of lame excuses like air traffic congestion resulting in lengthy delays and lack of flight crews.

Anyway, by the time I landed at ILM, we were only late by over 2 hours - it's not unusual. Upon landing, the flight attendant welcomed us to Wilmington with the standard arrival announcement but she just had to include "thank you for flying US Airways Express, operated by Mesa Airlines, recently recognized as commuter airline of the year. We apologize for our delay and thank you for your patience."

So, how about this new low-fare, start-up airline in India called 'IndiGo?' Our old friend Rakesh Gangwal is a big part of this and as you've no doubt heard, another US Airways exec who didn't have a future west of the Mississippi, Bruce Ashby, has joined him.

Who cares? The way I see it, it appears that IndiGo is going to be well-positioned to begin reporting quarterly losses once this airline begins operations. I wonder if IndiGo will outsource jobs in India with folks from America? Anyway, be on the lookout for Deepak, the IndiGo Fares Guy. He'll be traveling from Bombay to Paradip, with his trademark yellow hair, handing out coupons and Rakhis.

Okay, we had to wait, as usual, for US Airways to finally report their second-quarter earnings, uh, I mean 'results,' so let's take a look and see who made money and who didn't.

AirTran ... $11.4 million net income
JetBlue ... $12.2 million net income
America West ... $13.9 million net income
Alaska ... $17.4 million net income
American ... $58 million net income
Continental ... $100 million net income
Southwest ... $159 million net income

US Airways ... $62 million net LOSS
Northwest ... $225 million net LOSS
Delta ... $382 million net LOSS
United Airlines ... $1.43 Billion net LOSS ... for THREE months!

United's Glen Tilton, who is Chairman, CEO and president, said "we now have the foundation in place that enables us to continue to build a much more competitive enterprise." Man, how out of touch with reality is this guy? Also, on the same day United reported this absolutely massive loss, the airline issued a statement in response to actions taken by the Association of Flight Attendants by saying "the actions the AFA leadership has threatened are illegal and will not be tolerated. (But a $1.4 billion quarterly loss will?) United will do whatever is necessary to ensure the continued smooth operation of the company for our customers. (now really, when was the last time things were "smooth" at United?) Oh yeah, in case you missed it, United has once again, for the umpteenth time, announced that they will delay filing their plan of reorganization. See you in 2006.

And we're going to stay on the topic of money.

You may recall that America West reported first-quarter net income of $33.6 million. I was sure the airline would have an even better second quarter. I was wrong.

I mean, consider this:
American Airlines went from a Q1 net loss of $162 million to a Q2 net income of $58 million.
Continental Airlines went from a Q1 net loss of $184 million to a Q2 net income of $100 million.

So, how does America West go from net income of $33.6 million in the first three months of this year to only $13.9 net income for the second three months of this year, which is always the best quarter for every airline?

Now, combine that with merger partner US Airways' net loss of $62 million and you've got an airline that can be profitable with oil at $60/barrel, right? That's what Doug Parker has promised.

However, here's what his own CFO had to say about the company's small second quarter profit:

"While we are pleased with our revenue performance these improvements are not enough to offset the ongoing high price of fuel. Fuel expense for the quarter was the Company's greatest expense item, exceeding even salaries and benefits for only the second time in Company history, and we do not see any signs of this trend altering itself in the foreseeable future."

On the other side of the fence, Bruce Lakefield said in his weekly message last Friday, with respect to the merger, that they'll be "taking advantage of the synergies of both airlines." Go figure that one out yourself.

Of course, you can't help but shake your head in disappointment at US Airways. After all the concessions, wiped out pensions, planes being returned, single-engine taxis, elimination of pretzels, etc., etc., etc., and the airline is nowhere near reporting a profit. How does a similarly-sized airline like Continental do it and US Airways can't even come close, after all that's been squeezed out?
Freighter Captain is offline  
Old 08-03-2005, 10:59 PM
Gets Weekends Off
Thread Starter
Freighter Captain's Avatar
Joined APC: May 2005
Position: -400 CAPT
Posts: 483
Default page two

CSI: Crystal City
Crime Scene Investigation? No, Core Service Initiatives.
So I was listening, again, to one of Bruce's weekly messages. It appears that US Airways has another new slogan -- this week it's "All Together - Make the Difference."

Last month, it was "All Together - Always Safe" and before that it was "All Together - On Time" and then there were the classics like, "US Airways Begins with You" and "Moving the Needle" and "They melt in your mouth, not your hands." It seems like a menagerie to me, but if the goal is to make a difference, then the first step would be to quit canceling flights for lack of a flight crew and air traffic congestion resulting in lengthy delays.

Thanks for your patience.

I mean, I know the flights are operated by the likes of Mesa, Republic, Piedmont, PSA, Chautauqua, etc., but when you buy your ticket at www.usairways.com and you go to the US Airways terminal and you check in at the US Airways counter and you board at the US Airways gate and you get on a plane that has US Airways Express on it and you sit in your seat and read the US Airways inflight magazine -- folks, you're on US Airways.

Folks are already lining up to object to a portion of US Airways' reorganization plan. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported today that the Allegheny County Airport Authority filed an objection yesterday asking that any rejection of airport contracts happen well before the judge has a chance to approve the plan. Hasn't US Airways done enough to that airport? http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05215/547663.stm

Also, CWA and CWA-AFA are in line as well: http://www.cwa.net/

I've received a number of emails from readers who were just shocked at the news that Al Crellin, the executive vice president of operations at US Airways would be retained at the 'new,' "synergized" US Airways. Even Bruce Lakefield recently praised Al for running the operations during the most difficult of times. Of course, Bruce also heaped praise on Bruce Ashby as well.

All one has to do is recall what happened just a little over 7 months ago at PHL. The Christmas "operational meltdown" I think is what Bruce Lakefield called it. We learned that US Airways experienced a higher than average number of sick calls resulting in thousands of bags being stranded for days and passengers vowing to never fly the airline again. We saw folks like Chris Chiames, I forget his title, going on NBC's Today Show and explaining that all this was caused by sick calls.

What everyone soon found out, however, was the REAL reason why this happened and that was because US Airways was understaffed on the PHL ramp by several hundred employees. Understaffed so badly, in fact, that US Airways had to install a temporary Human Resources office across from the PHL Radisson Airport just to hire ramp employees. You didn't see anyone from US Airways going on national tv admitting that little problem, did you? There was never a public apology from the company, despite union pleas, admitting that they were severely short-staffed. There was just Bruce Lakefield, US Airways CEO, pointing the finger at a few employees and never realizing that if the company had been properly staffed, the higher than average sick calls would never have mattered.

And through it all, Al Crellin, the operations guy, was obviously never held accountable for being so short-staffed on the PHL ramp. In fact, he's been praised and retained. That's the 'new' US Airways comin' at ya folks. Profitable at $60./barrel and all that.

Delta Air Lines has announced that they are going to "intensify" their on-time focus at ATL with their Fall schedule. Beginning September 1, Delta will:
* Reduce to 45 minutes the minimum time narrow-body aircraft spend on the ground between flights - achieving a 10-minute reduction year over year.
* Making better use of aircraft by freeing the equivalent of eight additional aircraft from the schedule - bringing to 39 the equivalent number of Delta and Delta Connection aircraft freed this year for schedule growth and fleet simplification.
* Adjusting flights in off-peak periods to better match capacity to demand in the fall when air travel traditionally slows.

Looks good on paper, but ..... By the way, Delta retooled their website: www.delta.com

AirTran launched a fare sale yesterday with fares as low as $39. each way when booked at www.airtran.com By the way, AirTran also retooled their website the same time Delta did.

Alaska Airlines began daily nonstop service between Los Angeles and Mexico City yesterday using a Boeing 737-700.

ATA is still in business. The airline lost $15.1 million in May and $27 million in June.

Continental recently announced that it has ordered two additional Boeing 777-200ER aircraft as part of its continuing international route expansion.
Continental has also modified its free checked-bags policy for international travel by putting a weight limit of 50 lbs. each for up to two pieces of checked luggage.

You won't see any Northwest mechanics enjoying backyard barbecues with Northwest management this summer. The mechanics walked away from ongoing talks today, claiming the carrier is refusing to bargain. The mechanics will be able to strike after 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 20. The airline claims they will continue to keep flying. See the Forbes article at:

Southwest Airlines has released their Economic Proposal to serve King County Airport in Seattle. Check it out at:

Say hello, say goodbye: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05210/545445.stm
************************************************** ************
Remember, if you are going to forward my newsletters to family or friends, make sure you delete the 'unsubscribe' link at the bottom of the newsletter before passing it on or you may be removed from the list. Better yet, just tell them to subscribe by contacting me at [email protected] or by sending a blank email to:

[email protected]

No spam, no selling or sharing of names and email addresses. Just facts.

I'll have the DOT report and the July Traffic reports out as soon as they become available. Meanwhile, I'm going out to find me some of them synergies everyone is talkin' about.

Thanks for your patience,

John McCorkle
Wilmington, NC
Freighter Captain is offline  
Old 08-04-2005, 03:50 PM
Posts: n/a

John McCorlke is a flight attendant with a following who lives in ILM.
Related Topics
Thread Starter
Last Post
Frisky Pilot
01-01-2022 05:02 PM
03-22-2008 05:22 PM
Freighter Captain
06-16-2005 12:40 PM
05-19-2005 05:48 PM
03-07-2005 11:04 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread