Skip to main content

Aviation Industry Updates: March 8, 2022

By March 8, 2022March 14th, 2022Industry News

Oil Prices Force United & American To Adapt

  • United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) and American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) may need to consider potential equity raises to provide further liquidity cushion with oil trading over $100, according to Wolfe Research.

  • Wolfe is now forecasting “even bigger” EPS losses and cash burn for UAL and AAL this year with UAL burning $5.9B of cash and AAL burning $4.4B, Wolfe analyst Scott Group wrote in a note earlier.
  • “We lower our estimates across the board as we update our models for $100 oil prices,” Group wrote. ” Certain airlines are better positioned than others.”
  • Wolfe see Southwest (NYSE:LUV), Alaska Air (NYSE:ALK) and Sun Country (NASDAQ:SNCY) as best positioned.
  • UAL shares fell 9.8%, AAL dropped 7.8%, Delta (NYSE:DAL) declined 5.9% and LUV fell 3.5%.
  • MKM Partners earlier today cut its estimates on airlines to to reflect higher fuel, partially offset by “modest” pricing gains due to capacity adjustments, MKM analyst Conor Cunningham wrote. The airlines will likely update guidance at investor conferences in mid-March.
  • “We believe the airlines were sufficiently conservative with 1Q22 revenue guidance and that the high end of the ranges is achievable,” Cunningham wrote. “Unfortunately, jet fuel has spiked (guide of $2.50 to now +$3.20/gall) on the Russia/Ukraine conflict, which will extend profit losses.”

Seeking Alpha

Spirit Plans Growth In Rivals’ Strongholds

KEY POINTS:

  • The Miramar, Fla.-based discount airline is setting up the new bases for pilots and flight attendants as it staffs up to take on bigger rivals with strong holds on those airports, like Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, which is the dominant airline in Miami.
  • Spirit first launched service from Miami International Airport last October and now has 30 nonstop routes from there, making it the second-biggest carrier at the airport, still far behind American Airlines, which has more than 300 daily departures out of the airport this month.
  • Spirit and fellow budget carrier Frontier Airlines last month announced plans to merge into the country’s fifth-largest carrier. Spirit Airlines spokesman said the crew bases are not related to the combination.
  • The new bases come after Spirit has been studying for months how to staff more efficiently after crew shortages contributed to more than 2,000 flight cancellations in the middle of last summer.
  • Spirit, like other airlines, has been scrambling to hire pilots, flight attendants and other staff to cater to the rebound in travel demand.
  • The airline said it plans to have more than 100 pilots and 200 flight attendants at each new base at first. The note to flight attendants said the bases are expected to open in June.

CNBC

Network Planning Ace Leaves Delta for American

KEY POINTS:

  • Scott Laurence has had a wild beginning to 2022.
  • It started in mid-January when the 14-year veteran from JetBlue Airways departed the New York-based airline for a flashy new job at Delta.
  • Laurence would become the new vice president of network planning for Delta, responsible for strengthening the airline’s network and joint venture partnerships, with a focus on long-term growth opportunities.
  • But, that move was short-lived, to say the least. Nearly a month after starting his role at Delta, Laurence already started packing his bags during the week of Feb. 14.
  • Since then, aviation observers and industry insiders have been wondering where this long-time executive has landed.
  • And the answer is American Airlines, as confirmed by a carrier spokesperson to TPG.
  • And now, the same executive who spearheaded the Northeast Alliance at JetBlue is jumping to American after a brief four-week stint at Delta.
  • When Laurence moved to Delta, he brought with him extensive knowledge of the partnership, which had become a major competitive thorn in Delta’s side. Delta likely won’t find someone with better knowledge of the current demand, competition and opportunity in the Northeast region than Laurence.
  • Now that Laurence is working for American, it only adds to what questions regulators might have as they proceed with their case against the Northeast Alliance.

TPG

Pandemic Redraws US Route Maps As Business Travel Falters

KEY POINTS:

  • US airlines are redrawing the flight map of America as they cut routes that the Covid-19 pandemic rendered unviable and add new service to cities that have prospered during the pandemic.
  • A widespread reshuffling is under way, with less service to traditional business hubs and jets redeployed to holiday destinations and on-the-rise cities, according to domestic flight data from Cirium, an aviation consultancy. Meanwhile, some less populated regions were further isolated as carriers reduced service.
  • US airlines could also trim more flights to contend with jet fuel prices that have soared since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine affected oil markets.
  • The number of domestic flights scheduled at 11 mainline US airlines was 1.63mn in the first quarter of 2022, down 12 per cent compared with the same period in 2019, a Financial Times analysis of the Cirium data showed.
  • The country’s largest carriers, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines, together had 14.8 per cent fewer domestic flights on their rosters and 8.3 per cent fewer seats.
  • Persistent weakness in travel for business has led the declines. US airlines reported in recent earnings calls that business travel was running at about 60 per cent of pre-pandemic levels for United and Delta and only 40 per cent for large corporations flying on American.

Financial Times

Weekly TSA Numbers

03012022 TSA Numbers

Delta Hosting Meet & Greet at Women In Aviation

  • Join us at this year’s Women in Aviation Conference in Nashville! We will have a booth space in the Exhibit Hall where you can learn about life as a Delta Pilot and pick-up some cool swag! We will also be hosting one on one conversations with a member of our Pilot Recruiting Team in the Hermitage E room.
  • If you are interested in an one on one conversation, please sign up for only one day/time to ensure there are enough spaces for others to also have time with our recruiters. Note, if a duplicate registration is detected both registrations will be canceled. The times are listed in the interview location time zone for Central Standard Time.
  • Please ensure you have an updated application on file with us in Airline Apps and come prepared with a copy of your resume. You will also need a photo ID, your WAI Conference Name Badge and your ticket QR code at check-in.
  • If you need to cancel your selected date and/or time you will be able to do so on your own by referencing your confirmation email.
  • Please do not hesitate to reach out to us via DM on our Delta Pilot Recruiting Facebook Page if you have any questions.

REGISTER HERE

Endeavor Air has a new Agreement In Principle (AIP)

Pilot Retention Program

  • Each pilot at Endeavor will be able to opt-in to a pilot retention program that will allow an individual to earn up to $110,000 dollars, subject to the terms and conditions of the agreement. There is a two-year service requirement that must be met, or the pilot will be required to return any monies paid under this program. This requirement is waived if a pilot is either retiring from EDV or moving to Delta under LOA 125, LOA 129, the Delta Off the Street process or any future contractual EDV program.

For current Captains at EDV – $110,000 dollars

  • Initial bonus of $40,000 dollars for those that opt-in to the program upon successful ratification.
  • Second bonus of $40,000 dollars at the completion of year 1 under the program.
  • Pilots who retire or transition to Delta within their first year, will be entitled to the entire second payment of $40,000 dollars even if their first year under the program is not complete.
  • Pilots leaving before the completion of their first year, while owed the second payment, will not be owed the third bonus payment.
  • Third bonus of $30,000 dollars at the completion of year 2.
  • Pilots who retire or transition to Delta within their second year, will be entitled to the entire third payment of $30,000 dollars even if their second year under the program is not complete.
  • For Captains opting into the program, you must complete the service requirement, retire from Endeavor, or transition to Delta through a contractual EDV program or OTS. If that standard is not met, the full amount, including applicable taxes, must be repaid to the Company.
  • Captains will have a 21-day window to select their desire to opt into the retention program. There will only be one opportunity for Captains to opt-in. Payment will be made within 14-days of the close of the window.
  • Captains leaving for Delta before the first payment is received will receive $40,000 dollars but will not be eligible for the second $40,000 dollar payment under the language.

For current First Officers at EDV – $110,000 dollars

  • Initial bonus of $20,000 dollars for those that opt-in to the program.
  • Second bonus of $40,000 dollars at the completion of Captain upgrade training (OE).
  • Note: The 2-year service requirement does not begin until the completion of Captain upgrade training for First Officers.
  • Third bonus of $40,000 dollars at the completion of your 1-year service to EDV as a Captain.
  • Fourth bonus of $10,000 dollars the completion of year 2 service to EDV as a Captain.
  • First Officers who accept the terms of the program while they are an FO will be required to accept the first Captain position they are eligible to hold on the EDV seniority list.
  • A First Officer who does not elect to opt into the program as an FO can wait to make their decision and opt into the program as a Captain at the completion of their upgrade training.
  • First Officers who elect to opt-in later as a Captain will be paid under the Captain structure above.

Increase New-Hire Bonus and Longevity Credit

  • The new-hire bonus as negotiated under LOA 91 will temporarily increase from $20,000 to $40,000 dollars and then snap back to the previous contractual terms on March 31, 2026.
  • Pilots who elect to come to EDV with previous 121.436 qualifying hours will be offered longevity credit for previous service under the following terms:
  • Pilots transitioning to EDV from a previous ALPA carrier will receive longevity credit for their previous service on a 1:1 basis at EDV.
  • Pilots transitioning to EDV from a non-ALPA carrier will receive longevity credit for their previous service on a 1:2 basis at EDV.
  • 10-year cap on longevity.
  • Pilots coming to EDV under the Longevity Credit program will be eligible to continue to advance up the EDV longevity scale immediately.
  • Longevity will apply to pay scales, vacation accrual, 401(k) match, but not vesting.
  • The Company will not be able to offer longevity to new hire pilots beyond March 31, 2023.
  • EXAMPLE: A pilot is hired with qualifying 121.436 time from an ALPA carrier where they served 5-years. Once they are hired and onboarded at EDV, they will be on year 5 longevity and year 1 seniority. After a pilot completes their first year of service at EDV, they will be on year 6 longevity and year 2 seniority.

Mutual Benefit Package

  • Your MEC leadership has also come to an agreement with the Company on a mutual benefit package that will allow the Company some contractual relief in exchange for items of priority for the pilot group and MEC. Below are the highlights of that package:

Reduction in CAP Service Requirements

  • The 54-month CAP service requirement has been removed. Pilots now only need to complete the 24-month Captain service requirement.
  • All other terms of the CAP remain unchanged.

Seniority List Instructor (SLI)/Non-Seniority List Instructor (NSLI) Modifications

  • Allow NSLI to perform checking events, provided the NSLI previously held a seniority list position at an ALPA carrier and subject to the following restrictions.
  • Mutual and continued concurrence between the Association and the Company must be given and maintained for each instructor selected under this program.
  • Mutual concurrence can be removed at any time by either party on an instructor-to-instructor basis.
  • NSLIs will be able to conduct MT-7 (Maneuvers Training 7) lesson for the next 48-months.
  • Increased stacking for SLIs from 2 times per month to 4 times per month, but no more than 1 stacked event during a work period sequence.
  • All stacking continues to remain voluntary by the FTI.
  • Permit NSLIs to stack events up to twice per month under the following conditions:
    • Limit to 2-times per month.
    • Must not allow stacking until 24-hours prior to the event.
    • Must give all SLIs first opportunity to stack and only when/if an SLI is not available can an NSLI stack an event.
    • Stacking for NSLIs must be voluntary.
    • Parties will satisfy ALPA Grievance 21-09 – FTI Pay and agree to remedy affected pilots.

    Trip & Duty Rigs

    • Company agrees to implement a Trip Rig on a 1:4 basis.
    • Trip rig will apply to actual Time Away from Base (TAFB).
    • Rig will apply to both Line holders and Reserve pilots.
    • Rig will pay towards guarantee.
    • Programming Rainmaker will take no more than 6 months.
    • Company agrees to implement a Duty Rig on a 1:2 basis for actual duty time in 15 months from date of ratification.
    • For each month beyond 6-months that a Trip Rig is not implemented, the Company will retroactively apply the Trip Rig to a pilot’s pay credit and 1-month of duration will be removed from the implementation of a Duty Rig.

    Sick Bank Payout

    • Pilots will be able to cash out the unused portion of their sick bank upon leaving EDV, subject to the following terms:
    • A maximum of 250-hours can be cashed out upon separation.
    • This will only apply to pilots retiring from EDV or transitioning to Delta through LOA 125, 129, Delta OTS or any future JCBA contractual program.
    • Pilots separating from the Company to pursue other airline careers or to leave the industry will not be eligible for a sick bank payout.

    Increase in 401(k) Match for First Year Pilots

    • Section 28.B will be revised to provide 401(k) match beginning on a Pilot’s DOH
      This will be retroactive to 1-1-2022.
    • Additional Section 28 language to codify that under the terms of Federal Law, pilots moving to Delta are not subject to the EDV vesting schedule and are fully vested due to the common EDV/Delta 401(k) plan.

    LCP Incentive Pay Increase

    • Revise Section 3.U.1 and 2 to increase LCP and Lead LCP Incentive pay to $30.00 and $40.00 respectively.
    • Revise Section 3.U.1. and 2. to clarify incentive pay also applies to DH legs connecting to LCP or Lead LCP events.
    • Revise Section 3.U to clarify that, when the Line Check Pilot picks-up a trip at premium, the incentive pay will also be paid at the premium rate offered.
    • The Company may offer Line Check Pilot pick-ups at a higher rate of premium pay without applying the same higher rate of premium pay to all other Open Time offered to the specific Position. These trips must not be offered beyond 14-days of the start time of the trip and should be used for Operating Experience.
    • Clarify that all Line Check debriefs (3.U.3), including those done during Initial Qualification and Captain Upgrade, are paid per the terms of 3.U.3.

    OE Withholding

    • Revise language to increase the current 23% cap on Reserve Lines in months in which Company withholds FO Pairings to twenty-eight percent 28%, by fleet.

    Prohibited Cities List

    • Add language to allow for the Company to implement an international no-fly list (PCL) which will prevent Pilots who are ineligible from bidding and being awarded pairings that contain international trips.

    Increase in Per Diem

    • Modify Section 5.D.1 to increase per diem as follows:
    • Effective DOS – $2.15.
    • 1/1/2024 – $2.20 per hour
    • 1/1/2026 – $2.25 per hour
    • 1/1/2028 – $2.30 per hour

    Customs Pay

    • Implement customs pay of 12 minutes each time a pilot is required to go through customs, paid above guarantee.

    Front-End Alternate Deadhead

    • Allow pilots to deviate from assigned Deadheads on the front end of the trip, subject to similar restrictions in the PWA at Delta.

    Advanced Upgrade Language

    • Modify existing Section 24.H. Qualification language to add new “Advanced Upgrade” process
    • Applies only when there are open Captain positions in a vacancy or realignment after exhausting the minimum qualifications found in Section 24.H.
    • Company can elect to award “Advanced Upgrade” positions to FOs up to the number of Captain positions left available.
    • FO who meets the “Advanced Upgrade” requirements would move into the next available upgrade class determined by Flight Ops Training.
    • FOs eligible for an “Advanced Upgrade” award must meet the following in the vacancy:
      • Within ‘X’ number of hours to become Captain eligible (Min qual for a regular award: 950 Part 121 hours)
      • Bids for the open captain position in the same vacancy award

CommutAir Pilots Ratify New Contract with Significant Pay and Quality-of-Life Improvements

CommutAir pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have ratified a tentative agreement, which now becomes the pilot group’s collective bargaining agreement. With 83 percent of eligible pilots casting ballots, 92 percent voted to ratify the agreement. The four-year agreement provides significant improvements to pay rates, retirement, and working conditions.

 

“After suspending and then restarting negotiations amidst the pandemic, CommutAir pilots now have a contract in which the pay rates and benefits reflect our contributions to this company,” said Capt. Earl Blowers, chairman of the CommutAir ALPA Master Executive Council (MEC). “This agreement is the result of not only hard work and dedication by our Negotiating Committee, but also reflects a readiness to cooperate during these tough times and demonstrates the unmatched unity of the CommutAir pilot group.”

Highlights of the contract include:

  • 25.4 percent pay increase for captains
  • 32.0 percent pay increase for first officers
  • Provisions for management to increase pay rates up to 25 percent over the term of the agreement
  • A new travel benefit program through which pilots will receive reimbursement for commuter costs
  • 30 days of paid maternity leave
  • Improved work rules, particularly for reserve pilots
  • The pilots began negotiations with management in September 2019 but suspended bargaining in response to the pandemic. Negotiations resumed in May 2021, and earlier this month, the parties reached a tentative agreement. The vote to ratify the agreement by the pilot group opened on February 16 and closed today at noon ET.

“Our pilot membership made clear that their priorities for the coming years included pay and quality of life, and our Negotiating Committee delivered,” said Blowers. “This new agreement brings pilot quality of life in line with their peers.”

The contract will go into effect on March 2 and becomes amendable in December 2026