Wednesday, April 6, 2022
APFA CLT Base Brief – May 2022 Allocations
Good Day CLT Flight Attendants,
We had our monthly call with the Company this past weekend to discuss the trips for May. I also attended a base-specific briefing where local Management discussed plans for Charlotte this summer. Some interesting changes are coming that should impact our base for the summer.
We will see a 9% increase in man-hours from 143,666 in April to 153,854 in May. Much of this is in the form of Dublin IPD flying scheduled to start on the 5th. One Daily IPD flight equals about 5,000 man-hours. We will see about 4% more trips for May compared to April.
We have an additional 63 Flight Attendants in our base for May. There will be 2,008 Lineholders and 477 Reserves. (This includes New Hires who have not come out of training yet). Our Reserve percentage will be at 19.2%, which is on par with the historical percentage we had pre-COVID. The cut-off for Reserve seniority should be October of 2016. We are slated to continue getting new hires from the upcoming classes, which will help keep our rotation seniority low.
The Charlotte airport is ramping up to have the busiest summer schedule ever. The demand for flying and the pricing of those flights is exceeding expectations and remain strong. We are one of the largest through-traffic airports in the country, with 80% of our passengers being connecting passengers. We are already seeing a crowded airport and expect it to remain at high levels throughout the summer with large passenger volume passing through. This has led to some operational challenges that you will see this summer. Charlotte was the ace in the hole as a short-haul East Coast airport that maintained a good portion of our domestic flights over the last two years. Our strength was helping the entire airline survive during COVID, and the Company intends to capitalize and expand on our position adding more flights out of Charlotte this summer. One of the challenges they have is a Pilot shortage on the operation’s regional side. This will mean more mainline flights will be needed on certain routes. They have repositioned gates to accommodate more mainline aircraft. They have added three wide-body gates to the A concourse to accommodate the increase in IPD flying and alleviate congestion on the D and C concourse when the wide-body planes are used. More Airbus aircraft are operating out of Charlotte, with many 737 routes being pushed to DFW. Gates have been repositioned to have more mainline aircraft on the C concourse. They have been actively working with ATC and the FAA to get designated airspace for our increased flights, both in the Northeastern corridor and to the West, the runways will be at maximum capacity, so we anticipate longer taxi time, but the airport has a detailed plan to reduce the taxi time. One of the keys to making this plan work is the need to position more flights at the beginning of the first two banks of flights in the morning. If these aircraft can get in and get out, the volume for the other banks can be managed. With most of the airplanes doing turns out of Charlotte, meaning 90% of the aircraft will go out of Charlotte and come back, this will lead to more cities on the last bank of flights and the aircraft will come back to Charlotte on the first bank of flights. We used this to show the need for ODANs, red eyes, pink eyes and bullets. The reliability of these flights is crucial to making this operation work.
While much of the increased flying in Charlotte will be distributed throughout the bases, this has impacted our trips for May. We anticipate this to continue with a strong summer out of Charlotte. Our performance has positively impacted the concentration of increased flying in Charlotte over the last few months. Our absenteeism has been cut in half. The COVID rate for employees has dropped enough that the Company has eliminated the pandemic leave policy. We have seen a steady stream of new hires that have added numbers to our ranks where we are just a few heads short of pre-COVID levels. All departments in Charlotte have seen an increase in staffing, and the airport, along with our vendors, have been on hiring sprees. Staffing in every department will be met to meet the new demand.
May will be the kickoff to the summer season, and with the increase in flying, we will see a higher line average to 81.4 hours to account for the increase in time. There will be no VLOAs. Our reserve numbers remain steady as the reserve usage continues to remain high, mainly due to weather events throughout the system. The basic trip construction model has long sit times, non-commutable 3- and 4-day trips, some 4-leg days, and long duty days. The majority of the trips have been built with 11-hour minimum overnights, with most scheduled rests in the 12 to 14 hours range. This is in anticipation of the FAR change to the rest requirement. We are still seeing some trips with a longer duty day on the first day of the trip than the accompanying first overnight. We remain committed to cutting the sit times, reducing the duty days, and increasing the rest.
Our trips break down for May as follows:
- 1-days will make up 19.8% of our trips (Nice increase, but we still have the 4 leg trips that are plagued with sit time)
- 2-days will make up 25.5% of our trips (About the same)
- 3-days will make up 30% of our trips (Actually down from previous months)
- 4-days will make up 3.6% of our trips (Down from previous months)
- 2/3-days will make up 10.7% of our trips (30-hour layovers include – RDU, TUL, ATL, AUS, BWI, LIT, BDL, BUF, ALB, SRQ, OKC, MSN, ILM, VPS, MYR, IND, RIC, CMH, GRR, PIT, STL, BNA, ORF, CHS)
- There are a handful of 3/4-days with a 47-hour layover in PDX.
- ODANS will make up 3.4% of our trips (Trending upwards)
- Pink eyes and bullets have increases but remain under 1% of our trips.
- Traditional Red Eyes saw a few more being added.
The sit times are still high, and the commutability of the 4-days remains a problem. The largest sits are built into the 3-days where we still have the maximum time being set at 3+45. This is leading to longer duty days and creating more open time when the weather goes south. These split trips are still driving much of the Reserve usage. The time to repair these broken trips has become problematic, especially in inclement weather. We have addressed this issue with Management, and are actively looking for solutions that work for both sides. The continued model of planning for a “perfect day” is not working.
The highlights to the May schedule include the introduction of Dublin to IPD (We will have daily service to LHR (2), FRA, MUC, MAD, FCO). YUL has been built into a two-day sequence, which will benefit our French speakers when trying to bid. There are no scheduled plans to change the speaker staffing requirements for any of our flights.
The shift in flying was to more niche trips such as ODANs and red eyes. They also shifted to more 1-days, with out and backs being the majority. There will be a schedule change on the 5th signaling an increase in trips over that weekend. Memorial Day is slated for the 30th and the Company will pull down some of the flights for that weekend. This will have a reduction in the banks of flights over the holiday weekend. Our overall banks will stay with the continued reduction on Saturdays, Tuesday (last bank) and Wednesday morning (first bank). Many of the bases are finally getting back to full banks of flights.
We are concerned with the continued increases to 2/3 days as these trips pay less and seem to be replacing the traditional ODANs. ODANs are a type of trip that can be manipulated base by base. Their numbers are being affected by the mirrored pairings we see with the Pilots and the apprehension of staffing them once the FAR 10-hour minimum rest kicks in. Once the rest is in play, we will see the impact and can continue our argument for this type of flying.
The basics of trip construction remain in place with no big plans to change the programming. The Company maintains they need to leave the current parameters in place to achieve productivity. We will continue to push for more variety of trips to help give you more flexibility when creating your schedules.
May 2022 Bidding Timelines
We are actively engaged with the Company on several items including, allowing more open time in TTS, better timing of filling open time (including Red Flag), the availability of hotel rooms to the inventory, and improving recovery time when disruptions to the system happen. We have a long way to go before we believe the system will be back to normal, and will continue to fight for improvements to the overall internal performance of the Company.
Take care of yourselves and each other.
The Charlotte APFA Team
APFA CLT Base President