Delta Pilots Picket | Cite Strain From Low Staffing
In early April, Alaska Airlines pilots at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport picketed to protest what they say is an outdated labor deal, all while grappling with low staffing. Now, Delta Airlines pilots are voicing similar concerns, with a picket of their own planned for Tuesday, April 19.
The union representing Delta’s pilots claims that the airline is currently “trying to operate more flights with fewer pilots, leaving no wiggle room for weather delays and operational strain,” and that they have been logging “record amounts of overtime” in the process.
“Pilots are mission-oriented and want to deliver the best service in the industry, but we are also humans with limitations,” Delta Master Executive Council Chairman Capt. Jason Ambrosi said in a news release. “Not every day is blue skies. Weather disruptions and other operational issues can cause flight delays and cancellations. Our customers deserve better.”
Ultimately, Delta pilots are hoping to have “management come to the table to discuss scheduling concerns.”
That will have the airline’s pilots picketing on Tuesday at Sea-Tac, marking the fifth different travel hub where they will have done so.
American Airlines’ new CEO Robert Isom is aiming for one thing this summer: reliability.
The airline grew faster than its large competitors last year and occasionally passengers faced widespread disruptions, the result of routine challenges like weather as well as understaffing. Other carriers such as Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines faced similar issues that forced them to trim schedules.
Now Isom, who took the helm of the biggest U.S. carrier on March 31, said his priority is making sure passengers can count on American this summer and beyond.
“People really need to feel like they have control of their itineraries and we give them control by making sure they get to where they want to go on time. I just can’t be any more blunt about it than that,” Isom told pilots during a company town hall last week, which was reviewed by CNBC. “Other airlines are really struggling.”
American’s partner in the Northeast U.S., JetBlue Airways, for example, earlier this month told staff it would cut as much as 10% of summer flying to avoid repeats of mass cancellations and delays, CNBC reported. American’s West Coast code-sharing partner, Alaska Airlines, announced a 2% capacity cut this spring because of a shortage of pilots.
Skywest Airlines announced that they would be canceling service to 29 smaller cities due to a pilot shortage, only later to be told that they must continue the services because they had received federal subsidy for some of them. United Airlines placed a big order for full-sized jet aircraft in part to replace flying currently performed on smaller jets by regional airlines. One way for this critical sector of the airline industry to survive is to encourage consolidation to make these carriers more efficient.
While consolidation among the regionals would not reduce the number of pilots needed or make more available quickly, it does mean that the industry could better plan and prepare.
Like most things, airplanes get cheaper if you buy a lot of them. Having larger individual regional airlines means that fleet orders could be better optimized. It also means that spare parts, maintenance, and other operational costs become more efficient through economies of scale.
Possibly the largest and best synergy of regional consolidation is the better use of limited management talent. Airlines in general do not have deep benches of talent, and at the regional level there isn’t much room between the senior leadership and the front line employees. Republic Airlines and Skywest Airlines tend to operate better than other regionals, and not surprisingly their management is also considered top tier.
But even those skeptical of further large U.S. airline consolidation should embrace the idea of regional consolidation. The regional industry is a mish-mash of independent and airline-owned carriers, many who fly under the banners of a big airline but some, like Cape Air and Silver, that fly under their own name. This sector of the industry has been at the wrong end of the industry’s whip, meaning that while changes have happened at the big carriers, the regionals haven’t always benefitted. They have also been leveraged and been taken advantage of in some cases. Consolidation in this sector of the industry would be welcomed and improve the state of the industry, while securing more jobs and stabilizing more of the U.S. airline network.
The Biden administration will no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on public transportation, after a federal judge in Florida on Monday ruled that the 14-month-old directive was unlawful, overturning a key White House effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Soon after the announcement, all major carriers including American Airlines (AAL.O), United Airlines (UAL.O) and Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), as well as national train line Amtrak relaxed the restrictions effective immediately.
Last week, U.S. health officials had extended the mandate to May 3 requiring travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains, and in taxis, ride-share vehicles or transit hubs, saying they needed time to assess the impact of a recent rise in COVID-19 cases caused by the airborne coronavirus.
Industry groups and Republican lawmakers balked and wanted the administration to end the 14-month-old mask mandate permanently.
TPNx is the annual networking conference that is part job fair, part mastermind, and part hangar party; it is all opportunity for us as aviation professionals. This is our chance to bring the companies that support and employ us to come together for a weekend of synergy!
Tickets: We are limiting this event to 400 tickets on Saturday and 400 tickets on Sunday. You are welcome to attend for a single day, or both (add each day to your cart separately for purchase).
Dates: 23-24 April 2022
Location: Orlando International Airport (MCO), C Terminal
Dress Code: Casual (no suits allowed). Look nice but be comfortable. Polo Shirts and jeans are recommended.
Spouses: We encourage spouses to attend. Companion ticket information will be emailed to you.
Resumes & Published Application: Highly encouraged if interested in a 1-on-1 meeting with Airline Recruiters.