Representing the Flight Attendants
of American Airlines

Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

03.24.05

Hello, this is APFA Vice President Brett Durkin with the Hotline for March 24, 2005.

There are several items on the agenda this week.. We know you are “restless,” as our days get longer and minimum rest becomes the norm as opposed to the exception. The leadership of APFA has recently unveiled the ”  We’re Restlesscampaign. Please visit the APFA website at www.www.apfa.org to download your “Declaration of UnRest” and the official “We’re Restless” bag tag . Please continue to check the APFA Hotline and website in the coming weeks as this campaign moves into full swing. Your participation is critical to its success.

This coming week the APFA and TWU, Local 556, which represents the Flight Attendants at Southwest, will jointly host a summit on Flight Attendant fatigue. The leadership of most Flight Attendant unions will be in attendance and we are hopeful that this will result in the unions moving forward jointly to address this critical issue.

On March 16, 2005, the APFA, APA, TWU and American Airlines agreed on a “Joint Position Statement on Pension Reform.” We have agreed:

  • That we are mutually committed to the continuation of the American Airlines

  • Defined Benefit plan, and

  • That we will work for pension reform legislation as outlined in [the] statement.

 

For the complete text of the statement, please see the APFA website.

As Buy on Board has become a reality, APFA, and particularly my Department, need your input. As my office continues to assess the staffing issue your comments, both positive and negative, are very helpful. Please take the time to drop your feedback in your local APFA lockbox, attention Vice President’s Office, or email them to my attention at apfa-vice-president@apfa.org.

In closing I would like to remind everyone that as we continue operate in this uncharted and precarious environment, the leadership of APFA cannot do it alone. Your support is critical – 25,000 voices are much louder than 20. Our next lobby day in Washington is May 11. We MUST be proactive – not reactive. Information is available at APFA.org. Please join us on Capitol Hill – your future depends on you.

Here is Jaimie McNiece, APFA Scheduling Coordinator with the rest of the hotline:

Thank you, Brett. This is Jaimie McNiece, National Scheduling Coordinator, with the rest of this week’s Hotline.

APFA continues to have 4,240 furloughed flight attendants and 12 members serving full time in the military. Please keep them in your thoughts.

As a reminder, the Company’s deadline for receipt of dependent verification documents is April 8. Please be sure to submit the necessary documentation prior to that date.

APFA, with unanimous endorsement by the Board of Directors, is pleased to announce a Purser Flexibility Test created in conjunction with Flight Service, Crew Resources, and Training. The Test will begin on May 1, 2005 and end on September 30, 2005. These enhancements to the Purser Program are meant to recognize the scheduling limitations that have resulted in resignations from the qualification and to encourage participation in the program without creating additional costs to the Company. Details of the new Flexibilities will be provided next week on both the APFA and AA websites. We look forward to your feedback as the Test takes place.

AA Flight Service retirement counselors will hold two Flight Attendant-specific seminars on March 29 in DFW at 0900 and 1230. IDF Vice Chair and former APFA Contract Coordinator Bob Walker will be in attendance. Other seminars are planned for LAX on April 20, SAN on April 21, ORD on May 3 and MIA on May 19. APFA Retirement Specialist Jill Frank and local APFA base representatives will be in attendance at all of these seminars. We are hoping to be in NYC in June and to visit all bases before the end of the year.

From the Scheduling Desk: As a courtesy to your fellow Flight Attendants, if you are trading an OE trip on HIBOARD, please make sure you include “OE” in your comments. Only the person completing the trade will receive the alert that an OE trip is being traded, and that can result in some surprises.

In accordance with Article 7.L.5., Flight Attendants with an on-duty rest break of over five hours are to be provided with single rooms. The contract also allows for “isolated situations of a temporary nature where these accommodations cannot be obtained at a rate of $65 or less.” Under these circumstances, “double occupancy in a double room will be acceptable until single occupancy accommodations are again available at this rate.” Unfortunately, beginning in April, we will see some stations where doubling up will be necessary based on room rate. In these cases, room vouchers will be placed in the #1 Flight Attendant’s HIHTL. The crew will be responsible for deciding who will share rooms. As always, opposite sex crewmembers will not be required to share a room. For example, a 757 crew with three female and one male crewmember will receive three rooms to share. Don’t forget that day rooms apply to “scheduled” on-duty rest breaks.

Fuel prices continued to remain at record high levels this week. CEO Gerard Arpey announced to investors at the Goldman Sachs Transportation Conference in New York Tuesday that AA expects to spend $1.4 billion more on fuel this year than last year – or about $5.4 billion, nearly double the fuel bill of two years ago. AA’s average price per gallon of fuel in 2004 was $1.22. If current prices hold, average for this year will be about $1.65 per gallon – a far cry from the 2002 average per-gallon price of 76 cents. U.S. carriers spent about $6 billion more for fuel in 2004 than 2003, and analysts predict fuel costs will lead to billions more in losses at the major airlines this year.

APFA is planning a lobby day on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, May 11, to focus Congressional attention on the effects these record fuel prices are having on our Company, our members and their voters! Please make note of this date and plan to join your co-workers in Washington, D.C., for this important effort.

Also on Tuesday most major U.S. airlines, including American, revived increases of $10 per round trip on many domestic flights to cover the rising cost of jet fuel. Continental initiated the price increase last Thursday and was followed by Delta, American, Northwest and US Airways over the weekend. On Monday Delta reconsidered and withdrew the increase but then pushed fares higher again Tuesday morning. Most of the major carriers followed suit. If the fare hikes stick, they will be the third in less than a month, for a cumulative jump of $30 or $40 on some domestic round trips.

Jamie Baker, an analyst with J.P. Morgan, said that the latest fare increases are “a step in the right direction” to cope with higher fuel bills. Oil futures are currently trading above $56 per barrel. Baker said the latest fare increase would allow airlines to offset about $5 per barrel of that cost.

Arpey also told investors this week that AA plans a new simplified operating procedure that will match crews to aircraft throughout the day. He reported that this change will be fully implemented by May and will save American about $100 million a year. He stated that although this program will require “fewer people to run basically the same sized airline,” the duty hours for crews will be the same and the flying hours may actually increase. As an example, he said that the MD-80 fleet now has about 450 crew changes during a typical day. After May, this number will be reduced to fewer than 20.

According to Arpey, AA also plans to add seats throughout the fleet in an attempt to boost revenue by more than $100 million this year. Six seats will be added to 737s, seven to MD-80s and 767s, and nine to 777s.

While Arpey reiterated that 2005 was “shaping up to be the challenging year we all expected,” he also reminded investors that AA managed to cut its projected loss despite a $1.1 billion increase in fuel costs. He praised employees as the “driving force behind all of the progress” and recognized their willingness to make difficult changes to ensure the company’s future.

Also, as we reported last week on this Hotline, in spite of the media hype caused by one financial analyst who stated that AMR might return to its employees asking for additional concessions, AMR has not approached APFA or any other Union for more concessions nor given any indication of wanting to open contracts.

The latest issue of Skyword was mailed last week. On page 24, the contract article contained an error. The second bolded “R2” should actually read “R3.” Please note that when you are bidding for a vacation relief, the R3 designator is the code that should be entered if you DO NOT WISH an individual selection in your ballot to be awarded as a relief

The Hotel Department reports that layover hotels for the new BOS-SNN (Shannon) and ORD-DUB (Dublin) service have been selected. Please see the secure section of the website for the names and addresses of these hotels. APFA is extremely pleased with each of the hotels.

Many of you have called concerning the weekly fire alarm tests at the long layover hotel in London. The Fire Brigade Marshal has declared that until further notice the hotel must test its system on a weekly basis. The tests will be performed each Friday at 2pm and last for 1 minute. Unfortunately this time could not be changed to later in the day due to the operational needs of the hotel.

In further news from London, the long layover hotel’s corporate office has instituted a new policy in which any tips received via credit card will be split 60% percent for the server and 40% for the hotel. When you leave a tip, if at all possible, please do so in cash so that your server will receive the full amount of the tip!

In industry news this week, the FAA has extended voluntary flight caps at Chicago O’Hare Airport for another six months, and has also unveiled a new proposal that would limit flights at the airport until early 2008. The current voluntary flight cap agreement was due to expire April 30, but the extension pushes it to Oct. 29. AA and United reduced the greatest number of flights at O’Hare. The FAA reported that since the voluntary flight reductions took effect, on-time arrivals at O’Hare have improved by 17 percent and overall delay minutes have been cut 22 percent.

American Eagle received an exemption recently to operate new service between DFW and Veracruz, Mexico, starting July 2. The daily route will most likely be flown by a regional jet.

After six weeks of intense negotiations, Comair, Delta’s regional carrier, backed off its proposal to freeze Flight Attendants’ pay and proposed lower starting salaries for new workers instead. The 1,000 Comair Flight Attendants, members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, will vote on the tentative agreement, which provides a 20% lower pay scale for new hires for five years. The voting extends through April 8.

Southwest Chairman Herb Kelleher said the carrier may start flying to Charlotte, N.C., sometime in the near future. He called Charlotte “very desirable” and noted that Southwest would quickly start flying to the city if US Airways goes out of business.

Southwest management is in support of a group of pilots who are challenging the federal rule that forces them to retire at age 60, a spokesman for the airline said Saturday. Southwest plans to file a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing the 1950s regulation that bars airline pilots from flying after they reach 60, regardless of their health.

Northwest is seeking additional pay and benefit cuts from its workers, the airline’s chief financial officer, Bernie Han, reported this week at the Goldman Sachs Transportation Conference. Citing high fuel prices and a weak fare climate, the company wants to reach cost-cutting labor agreements with its unions by the end of the year. For the past two years, Northwest has said it wants to cut annual labor costs by $950 million. So far, the carrier has reduced labor costs by $300 million a year by cutting the compensation of pilots and salaried workers. Northwest remains in mediated contract talks with the mechanics and ground workers’ unions. In early April, Northwest and the flight attendants’ union will meet for the first time with a mediator.

According to a Ft. Lauderdale newspaper, regional and discount airlines are on a pilot hiring spree. Smaller carriers hired nearly 9,400 pilots last year, while larger airlines kept 9,100 pilots on furlough. Experienced pilots at smaller airlines earn between $70,000 and $80,000 a year.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for calling the APFA Hotline.

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