Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Allocations August 2019
We had our monthly allocations call last week. Here’s how the trips break down for September.
Our total head count is 2766 with 2503 active.
There will be 2018 line holders and the reserve number is set at 485.
The trips break down as 14% 1 days, 60% 2 days, 19% 3 days, and 6% 4 days. The 60% 2 days include same duty period red eyes (bullets) at 3.5%, ODANs 28% and 8% pink eyes.
The real number on 2 days is about 20 percent. The 4 days have been programmed to be commutable and about 80% are commutable on one end or the other. We have asked them to clean up the 4 days and the result was a sacrifice on the commutability factor. As long as the emphasis for 4 days is on commutability, the pay will only be around the min days or 20 hours. The 3 days still have the seasonal flying for International and the traditional red eyes making up the bulk of the 3 days. We did see more 3 leg out 1 leg back traditional red eyes to some cities that have recently been only bullets. Cities like SLT and PHX (mid con) were only bullets a few months ago and to bring them back as traditional red eyes, they need to add hard time to the sequence to make them productive, hence the turn at the beginning of the trip.
So, what does all this mean?
We will see the beginnings of the fall schedule change after the Labor Day holiday. The first loss in seasonal flying will start on the Wednesday (4th) after the holiday. The biggest loss? Island/vacation destinations and for us, 1 day turns. This happens every year in September and along with an increase in the amount of vacation allotted, the total man hours will decrease over 2000 hours, but the impact will be felt as a ripple on all types of trips.
We pushed for more 1 days as they are productive for the most part and the company has promised to put an emphasis on constructing more turns to help the 1 day count. With the 737 MAX still out of the picture for September, the system will still have to balance the rest of the fleet to fill higher yield flights and eliminate the lower yield cities from main line and redistribute the time to express flights.
On traditional trips, we are still seeing long sit times when you pass through a hub. The amount of more than 2 hour sits has reduced from 34% (company figure-ours was closer to 40%) to 28% (company figure-ours was closer to 32%).
The reduction was the result of programming the optimizer to place penalties on longer sits, not by cutting down the max sit times. This is a good start but even though the company says they program in the sits to happen before 12:00, we still have long sits in the afternoon and evenings. The worst of these happen on the last day of the trip when the finish line is in sight* (*-terminology stolen from PHX). Keep in mind, Charlotte has a large amount of ODANs that are a single duty period with a long sit so our numbers will be higher than the system wide average.
The company has also stated that a duty day will not be longer than the prior night’s rest, except for special cases. We found those special cases on many of the trips and have sent some of these to the company for review. These special cases still seem to appear and decreasing them by a few percent is not the same as being compliant. We want FAR protection and will continue to push for on a National level.
We are still seeing about 11% of the trips with multiple sits of greater than 2 hours. These make for long duty days, low pay and add to the fragile nature of this whole approach to trip construction we have seen this summer. While there was some improvement to the trips, they are very much the same as August. The current trip construction model has been put in place to counteract other problems AA is facing like the loss of the MAX, maintenance issues and an internal problem with command and communications.
If Mr. Parker was telling the truth at the last crew news, once these issues get under control, things will get better. The proof is in the actions. We will see if trip construction is one of the things that gets better or just something that is of little importance to the company. It’s a major issue for us.
We will have 485 reserves or 19% of the base.
We asked if there were extra reserves put on just to cover the first 4 days of the holiday at the beginning of the month, and would we be overstaffed the rest of the month? The company said they were basing the numbers on last year’s usage in September and that it was consistent throughout the month.
Last year we had 486 reserves and the number for this year is only one off, but we have less time this year, fewer line holders and our overall head count is down.
The company continues to count standby shifts as sequences for usage numbers but still won’t assign a number to the shifts which is causing other problems. The amount of total time in the base has to be the driving factor for setting the reserve numbers, not last years usage. While 485 may seem like a low number compared to the last few months, it is still not in line with the amount of time we have.
Mr. Parker has said 20% is the new norm and that LUS had it this way for a long time. We know this was not the case. We successfully operated our reserve system with 15 to 18%. If we had those numbers now it would equate to about three or four hundred reserves. The numbers are still way too high, and the total time should be the driving factor. The company is too cautious and it is affecting the quality of life for about 60% of the base. As long as we have the current trip construction model, operational deficiencies and an unproductive reserve system, we will continue to see the higher numbers.
The loss of time in the base means they will be offering VLOAs. They set the number at 50 leaves. We asked for more. If not enough people take the leaves it will drive up the reserve numbers and raise the line average. Charlotte asked for more because we feel there is an appetite for them and based on the way Charlotte bids, it will have little effect on the line average.
Keep in mind when the LRD tool opens, it will show higher numbers than 485. We addressed this with the company and stated it was unfair to our members. People need to be able to plan their lives. The LRD tool numbers will show speakers who may be on a different rotation schedule. Tentative reserves numbers also cause the discrepancy. September should also have more people bumping down and based on the PBS bidding results. We are hoping the reserve numbers decrease and more people are afforded blocks.
Take care of each other and fly safe.
APFA CLT Base President