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10.10.23 – APFA CLT Base Brief – November 2023 Staffing and Allocations

November 2023 CLT Staffing and Allocations

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Good day,

We had our monthly call to discuss the November trips, and it looks like it will play out much the way we expected a holiday month to be scheduled. There will be a gradual increase from the 16th to the 26th, and then it will drop off as we head into the first part of December. Our Reserve numbers are high even with the holiday pay and incentive program going into effect. Remember that the Critical Period for Attendance is separate from the Holiday Pay Incentive.

  • FOR ATTENDANCE ONLY, the Critical Period in November is November 22nd through November 26th. This captures the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving through the Sunday following. Any absences during this period will accrue an additional point under the company’s Attendance and Performance Program. Likewise, operating all sequences, RAPs, or Standby Shifts during this period will earn an incentive credit (banked point) that can be used later to reduce a point-generating absence.
  • FOR HOLIDAY PAY INCENTIVE, any flying performed on November 22nd, 23rd, 26th, and 27th will be paid a premium of 100% in addition to your base hourly rate for any leg touching the day. ODANs will receive holiday pay for both legs if at least one leg touches these dates. Please note that these dates are different than the Critical Period and do not cover the Friday or Saturday following Thanksgiving. There is no attendance requirement to earn this incentive pay.

Our seasonal IPD will be wrapping up, but we will see an increase in hours due to the holiday demand. November will be a full month of flying with all the banks in place except a Thanksgiving Day pull-down and the usual Tuesday and Saturday reductions in bank sizes.

Creating a bidding strategy around your holiday plans is crucial to navigating November and December. A traditional bid may see assigned flying around coverage needed days. Playing into where the flying is stacked will help you get the best results in PBS.

We welcome the new hire groups to help shore up our staffing, which remains short. We are still picking up the short-haul flying gap caused by the pilot shortage at the express carriers and see that staying the same in the near future. We will lose IPD flights for the winter. Rome ends this week, and Dublin ends on October 27. We are picking up domestic time despite the loss of IPD flight hours.

November will have three LHR flights, with the late LHR not operating the 20th through the 23rd. FRA, MUC, and Madrid will operate daily with some double layovers during Thanksgiving week. There are some really nice layovers on these to spend the holiday sightseeing. RDU will have their LHR daily and a CUN turn added to the satellite flying. For those who live near RDU, the 1-day is a nice addition for flying out of the satellite.

The Reserve cut-off will be March 20, 2017. The addition of new hires is helping to keep the seniority rotation in check, but our Reserve numbers remain high. With the exception of PHX and CLT, the rest of the bases are enjoying low reserve numbers. This is exactly what was happening in 2019, and it continues as we are the catch-all base for broken trips on the East Coast. Our productivity numbers continue to reflect the trip construction model that requires high reserve numbers. Our productivity numbers continue to decline as the seniority numbers increase and the trips stay the same. The company will take every approach it can to try and use discipline to improve its falling numbers. They refuse to address the root causes of their failing metrics and stay with the same pattern, hoping they will get different results.

There are no immediate plans to change the major concerns of the current trip construction model. They will continue to tweak the current system, and we see small improvements each month, but the significant changes we want will have to come in the form of a new contract.

November flying has the spike on the first day of the month like we have seen for almost a year now. This is creating a shortage on the first day of every month. They have promised us a solution, but we’re not holding our breath.

This spike and subsequent shortage are putting a need to have extra Reserves on the books. It is another reason the Reserve numbers are inflated. They keep extra Reserves to cover just a few days each month. Historically, we only saw this in January, where they would put extra Reserves on to cover the first few days of the month, now, it is a factor every month. If you have ever heard someone say, “it’s the first day of the month, how can they be out of people?”, it’s built in.

If you were to lay the time for the month out in a graph, you would usually see the spike the first day and then the weekend peaks and weekday valleys. Unless there was a schedule change, the graph would be fairly consistent for weekdays and weekends. The holiday months are different, they add time for the holiday, so the peaks usually surround the holiday. November looks like an uphill graph starting on the 16th and peaking on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. That is how the time is being added for the holiday. If you wanted to try and bid around the increased holiday time, and still spread out the month, put in for trips where they need you – bid into the peaks. The peak days are probably the best bet for coverage needed days. The peak days for November are, the 1st, 2nd, 4th-5th weekend, 16th through the 22nd and then a huge spike on the 24th, 25th and 26th- the 3 days following Thanksgiving. The last four days of the month will drop as we pull down the flying until Christmas.

Thanksgiving Day will have very few trips. The system is cut by more than 50% on Thanksgiving Day. This pulldown has created a large amount of 2/3 days over the actual holiday. This is an opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with some friends or family while on a layover, just another strategy to consider when planning the holiday flying. If you were trying to guess where the coverage needed days were, the days listed will most likely be the biggest culprits. If you bid into these days, your strategy will have a better outcome.

Our trips break down as;

  • 1-days will make up 26% of our trips (More)
  • 2-days will make up 25% of our trips (less)
  • 2/3-days will make up 8% of our trips with several over Turkey Day.
  • 3-days will make up 25% of our trips (More)
  • 3/4-days will make up 2% of our trips (Same)
  • 4-days will make up 3.6% of our trips (Same)
  • ODANs will come in at 8% of our trips (Same)
  • Red eyes have more at 3.5% of our trips.
  • Pink eyes and Bullets have a few more, but only make up less than 1% of the trips.

You may see some trips with deadheads late or weird destinations. These are most likely Charters. College football is in full swing and there are numerous Charters built around the system. Keep a look out for the unique trips that may only run once a month. With the schedule fluctuation caused by the holiday, there are some one hit wonders that are worth looking at.

The one days still have the 4-leg days, 31% of the one days have 4 legs. In order to keep the higher percentage of one days, the 4-leg days will remain. We have asked for a solution to cut the sit times on the 4-leg 1-day sequences. More co-pairing with the Pilots on single duty days, keeping the Flight Attendants with the airplanes, and manually breaking up the trips. There are no plans to make any changes to the way the trips are built. The current model will continue as they feel everything is working well. They have decided to approach falling metrics with more discipline rather than addressing the root cause of the problem. Trip construction is a prime example of this.

When time is added to a specific time of the month, such as a holiday, it makes the month uneven for building trips. For November and December, we will see more time in the second half of the month. When this happens, the optimizer wants to spit out 4-day trips to build in the extra time. To counter this, they put caps or penalties on the program to keep the number of 4 days in check. Breaking up these trips creates more 1-day and 3-day sequences. In theory, it should create more 2-days and 3-days. Building hard time 1-days helps to break up the 4-days and keep them to making a productive 1-day and 3-days. The result for holiday months is more 3-days and 1-days. The key is to not load more 3-days over the holiday period. November spread out the 3-days over the entire month, so the holiday is not top-heavy with multiple-day trips. We encouraged the company to create more 1-days and 2-days over the upcoming Christmas holiday rather than flood the system with 4-days and 3-days as they have done. With the incentive pay in place, this would create more opportunities to pick up some of the smaller trips for additional pay. We will have to see how the model handles December.

ODANs remain steady, and the red eyes are strong as the changes made in the last few months seem to be working. There are the same number of bullets, and we are trying to see if the system can create more of these and more pink eyes. Currently, we are only using mid-con flying to construct these trips.


November 2023 Bidding Timeline

November has the usual mix of trips with the same problems we have seen all year. The sit times are still there and the commutability of the multiple day trips remains problematic. With no planned changes to the construction model, we will continue to have these woes until we can achieve a better contract.

November has not had any historic problems and this year has a strong schedule that should lead to records in profitability and load factors. The company’s bottom line should remain strong through the holidays and into next year. Even with the addition of new hires, we are still understaffed for the amount of flying we have in Charlotte. Make sure you bid realistically and plan for coverage needed days the week of the holiday and the weekend after.

December will have the challenge of half month logic more so than November as we generally have more problems during Christmas than we do at Thanksgiving. We can plan for a pulldown right after Thanksgiving and then another spike starting mid December. Planning a strategy around the holiday is worth the effort as the traditional bidding approach may not work.

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

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

Call APFA

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M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

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

APFA Events

Virtual Quarterly Membership Meeting – July 11

July 11 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 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

Virtual Quarterly Membership Meeting – July 11

July 11 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 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

Virtual Quarterly Membership Meeting – July 11

July 11 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
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