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7.05.23 – APFA CLT Base Brief – August 2023 Staffing and Allocations

August 2023 CLT Staffing and Allocations

Wednesday, June 5, 2023

Good day,

We had our monthly call with the company to discuss the trips for August and there was really no change to the summer schedule we have been flying. The largest change is the line average will be set at 83.7 hours. This is very high and is a sign that the minimum constraints will continue at 70 and 78 hours for most seniorities. We expect PBS to be pushing most lines to the higher side of 90 hours. The trips are almost identical to the package we saw in June and July and the reserve number will be set at 832 or 28.2%. This number will include 1 new hire where July had the same numbers, but they included new hires that weren’t in the system yet. The changes we wanted to try in the programming on a few subjects were not implemented; any changes will hopefully be done in the fall months.

Our numbers break down as:

Active headcount- 2,946
Line holders- 2,114
Reserves – 832 (28.2%)
Line average – 83.7

Charlotte has the highest percentage of reserves in the system. The rest of the bases are averaging 20%. The company has shown reserve usage through May and have cited the improvements to reserve usage as a reason the rest of the bases have had their reserve numbers lowered. Except Charlotte. We track our reserve usage internally and we have been saying for months that our high reserve usage is a result of poor planning on several fronts. Our reserve usage can be predicted with the exception of weather events, and even the impact from those can be mitigated.

Some of the factors that are leading to our high usage are a high amount of trips on the first day of the month and a high amount of trips on the last few days of the month. This is putting pressure to add extra reserves just to cover these days of the month. High line averages and PBS pushing lines to the max of 90 hours is preventing lineholders from being able to pick up open time. This is compounded by a restrictive UBL and TTS system. Without the flexibility to rearrange one’s schedule, lineholders are unable to pick up open time. This is forcing more and more trips to the reserves. Lack of incentive being used is another factor for the number of trips being sent to the reserve pool. While Red Flag is the most common incentive, we are still seeing this being used selectively. We also have the incentive day pay that is not just reserved for holidays but has not been used since last Christmas. The incentives work, which has been proven in the past. The company could utilize these tools more for the few times a month when weather does decimate the system but they choose not to.

Another major factor is the sick rate. Ours was in check last year and earlier this year, but we have seen a steady increase in absenteeism. Why? Perhaps it’s how we are being treated by management locally and system wide. The amount of discipline being handed out right now would make anyone question whether they want to fly any more than they have to. FSMs prowling the concourses, agents using connect me to shift blame, having to answer for nonsense complaint letters from months ago, attendance points for failed technology, denied IODs, delayed FMLA approvals, failed bidding systems, rescheduling nightmares, no hotels, no communication etc. It sometimes feels as if just coming to work puts you in jeopardy of losing your job, making one small mistake and you’re gone. I had a senior FA that went through a 40-minute interrogation for missing an alarm and oversleeping for the first time in her career causing a 5 minute delay. At the end of the meeting she said, “You would have thought I had blown a slide”. While we are being held to impossible standards, management is not. Look at the largest cause of broken trips and delays, maintenance issues. With the schedule we have and the fleet we have, our airplanes are being pushed to maximum output. We are being held accountable for every second with on time performance while the system is being pushed to a failing point, the model is flawed, but you will be held accountable, not management who created this predicament in the first place. The emphasis on metrics has taken the joy out of doing one’s job, being reduced to a number does not motivate a workforce, nor does it translate into superior customer service.

Charlotte is also an overflow-catch all base. Our reserves have to repair our broken trips. In a perfect world, the percentage of reserves should reflect the absenteeism rate. In our base, the reserve percentage is way above the absenteeism. We are having to pay for the maintenance meltdowns, fragile trip construction and inflexibility of our scheduling systems. It’s time AA took a comprehensive approach to fixing all the problems from multiple angles rather than remain focused on targeted metrics.

The reserve cut off will be January 24th, 2011. The high numbers now will start the ripple effect on high reserve seniority leading up to Christmas.

Our trip distribution and the trips themselves are exactly as we have seen all summer. We will have 170, 160 flight hours, just a sneeze higher than July. We will operate 9 banks of flights with slight pull downs on Tuesday nights. There will be a small schedule change on the 4th and the fall pulldown will start on the 15th (No effect on CLT).

The breakdown of trips will be:

  • 1 days will make up 22% of our trips (Same)
  • 2 days will make up 29% of our trips (Same)
  • 2/3 days will make up 6.5% of our trips.
  • 3 days will make up 23% of our trips (Slightly more)
  • 3/4 days will make up 3.8% of our trips.
  • 4 days will make up 4% of our trips (Slightly less)
  • ODANs remain the same at 7%
  • Traditional Red Eyes will make up 4.6% of our flights (Same)
  • Pink eyes and Bullets remained the same.

There were no real programming changes made for the trips in August. The 1 days still have the same number of 4 leg days. There was a slight increase to the sit times and the commutability of the front end of the 4 days has not been changed yet. All are areas we had hoped could be addressed and improved before the end of the summer, but they have no plans to change any programming until the summer season is over. IPD remains complete for the remainder of the season and the Red Eyes continue to come in with the same cities and still have the 23-hour layover issue. We anticipate high line averages with the double low constraint. The most likely candidates for coverage needed days should line up with the trip starts, August 1st is the highest along with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The weekends are slightly higher than the weekends and the last 3 days of the month are high again.

Bidding Timeline:

August will be the end of the summer flying and historically we will see a pull down in trips starting in September after the Labor Day holiday. Charlotte still has the problem of picking up the express flying due to a pilot shortage at the express carriers. We don’t expect a huge pull down this year until the IPD seasonal flying ends for the winter. Our staffing becomes critical at the drop of a hat, but the company insists we are not understaffed. The old model consisted of being understaffed in the summer and overstaffed in the fall and winter. This new reality would dictate the need to add to our headcount in Charlotte, but it seems not very many people are willing to fill the transfer vacancies and we are only getting one new hire in August. Our active head count is actually less for August than June and July. Without an influx of new hires and continued high reserve numbers, we expect the seniority of reserve to continue to rise. Until the company solves its inherent problems, this cycle we have been seeing for years will continue. This is the very reason we need a new contract that addresses these issues and why we need everyone’s support in getting a new contract that has significant improvements for our quality of life.

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Take care of yourselves and each other.

The Charlotte APFA Team

In Solidarity,

Scott Hazlewood
APFA CLT Base President

[email protected]

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

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Phone: (817) 540-0108

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4Q23 EC Meeting

February 22 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

4Q23 EC Meeting

February 22 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
M-F: 3:00PM - 11:00 PM (CT)
Sat-Sun: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)

APFA Events

4Q23 EC Meeting

February 22 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
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