Wednesday, April 5, 2023
May 2023 Staffing and Allocations
We had our monthly call this week to discuss the trips for May. Charlotte did not have the winter pull down this year but rather a gradual increase in time over several months. May will kick off the summer season with full IPD flying, island destinations, and other seasonal leisure destinations.
CLT will be running at full capacity this summer. Last year, the Company threw most of the summertime at us in May and June. As a result, the June numbers took a nosedive, and we did not run an efficient operation. We rebounded in July as the CLT staff made adjustments and corrected for a large amount of flying we had. This year, we will not be getting the large jump in time. It has been phased in for months.
May will see an increase in flight hours to 167,192 hours, almost a 10,000-hour increase. Most of this is due to the full IPD schedule being back for the summer. What can we expect with a full schedule? Full flights as the load factor will start at about 91%, an increase in cargo, congested terminals during peak bank turns, maximum use of gate space and times, longer lines at TSA security, longer taxi times, understaffing with our contractors, ATC delays for congested routes, construction problems, longer lines at US Customs. But wait, that was last June. This year we have been easing the time increase and adjusting month by month. We had a handle on most of these problems by the end of July and finished the summer with strong performance numbers.
The Company has already put in plans to use more gates on the A concourse for wide-body flying. The TSA is opening more checkpoints. AA is working with US customs to address staffing at peak times. The Operations center has been securing air corridors and planning to use “escape routes” or “snowbird” weather routes. Taxi times have been cut. New construction will open, our contractors have been hiring, and AA has gone on a CLT hiring spree with over 9,000 AA employees now working at CLT Douglas. Flights will be spread out to different banks with a concentration on peak banks. This year will have its challenges, but we are already ahead of the game because of the problems we had last year. June should only have about 10 to 12 more daily flights than April and May.
Charlotte is a crucial part of the financial stability for the entire system. The operation here can make or break the entire summer. So, how will this look in the form of trip construction? Simply put, they are continuing with the mandate of doing more with less and keeping the costs low. There is not a lot of soft or rig time in our construction model. Most programming involves more flights in a single duty period, so the trips pay “hard time.” We see the same model we have seen for months, with most trips having three legs a day. AA continues to hire robustly, but our staffing remains stretched.
We will have nine banks of flights except on Tuesdays, where the last bank will continue to be cut off. There are two small schedule changes, on May 5th and then on June 1st. The first week has slightly more time than the rest of the month, but the schedule looks pretty even throughout the month, with more flying on the weekends. The days with the most trips are May 2nd and June 1st, the first and last day of the contractual month. These are the most likely candidates for coverage needed days. Memorial Day is on May 29th, and the schedule is pulled down for that weekend, so this should not be a huge concern (People drive on this holiday).
With the increase in flying, there are more Lineholders and more Reserves. We cautioned the Company on using the new hires as cannon fodder, which has caused problems in past years. They are using our Reserves and are running short at the end of each month as more and more are calling out of time. With a huge amount of flying scheduled for the last day of the May bid month, they want the extra Reserves to cover the last few days. Our Reserve numbers remain well above the system average as CLT, MIA, and Dallas remain centralized hubs where all bases flow through.
We continue to see a very high number of systems trips created in our base, accounting for a higher reserve usage. We did ask the Company how many Reserves are needed to clean up the failures we continue to see with our bidding computer systems each month. They said less than 1%. In theory, our Reserves should cover absenteeism, such as sick calls and personal days. Still, a fragile system with unreliable tech running it disadvantages our people. Accountability only flows one way, apparently. The cut-off for Reserve will be Feb 2, 2015.
- 1-Days will make up 22.5% of our trips (↓)
- 2-Days will make up 31% of our trips (↑)
- 3-Days will make up 23% of our trips (↑)
- 4 -Days will make up 4% of our trips (=)
- 2/3-Days will make up 6% of our trips (↓)
- 3/4-Days will make up 2% of our trips (↓)
- ODANs will make up 7% of our trips (=)
- Red eyes will make up 4% of our trips (↑)
- Pink eyes, bullets will make up less than 1% of the trips
The fluctuations in trip distribution continue, with the biggest difference being less 1-Days and more 3-Days. This is the normal distribution changes we have seen month to month and is driven by the amount of flying and the Company trying to keep productivity with more hard time. There are no plans to change the model drastically. We can expect these types of trips for the foreseeable future.
The 2-Days remain the highest amount for our trips, be mindful of the departure times when bidding back-to-back trips. The home base rest remains a problem when PBS results come out, and we continue to see flight attendants missing out on the trips they want to fly.
The 3-Days were higher and have the most sit time. 26% of our trips have sit times greater than 2 hours and 30 minutes. Some of the sit time is built in when a turn comes back from an NIPD destination. This allows for ample time to clear customs and still have time to make a pit stop before the next segment. Most of the synthetic time (Rig time) is built into the 3-Days, with schedule changes and new aircraft routing, it is harder to keep the crews with the aircraft. This builds in connections and when a connection is not possible, the computer just puts the crew to bed.
The commutability of the 4-Days has improved but has not been eliminated. There are a few really good 4-Day trips for those who do and don’t commute. However, we would like to see these trips picked up by those who want to fly them. It remains difficult to drop/trade into other trips in TTS on the 4 days. The programming that we were promised to reduce this problem has yet to be implemented.
The ODANs remain strong, but we are seeing many of them in open time when PBS closes. Please remember the home base rest needed when bidding multiple pairings with the ODANs and Red Eyes.
The 2/3-Days and the 3/4-Days are fewer simply because we have more flights and banks of flights in each base. Many of these are built because there isn’t a flight to legally get a crew home or moving again. This is why we see many long sits in low-frequency cities. With the return to a full schedule system-wide, it makes it easier to keep a crew working. The 30-hour layovers include MYR, PVD, MKE, RIC, BDL, CID, MCO, DTW, CLE, CHS, AVL, BUF, DAB, BNA.
The Red Eyes have increased as we have added more late-night flights to the West Coast. Pink Eyes and Bullets remain where they have been for months.
May 2023 Bidding Timelines
The summer season will kick off in May. The trips will most likely mirror what you can expect for the entire summer. We can expect higher line averages and more hard time built into the trips (More legs). We are actively engaging the company on several issues so we don’t have a repeat of last year. Hotel inventory, contract transportation, staffing, critical operations, and reliable technology to support all this to name a few. We continue fighting for overall improvements to the internal systems to improve our quality of life.
Take care of yourselves and each other,
The Charlotte APFA Team
APFA CLT Base President