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4.06.24 – APFA CLT Base Brief – May 2024 Staffing and Allocations

May 2024 CLT Staffing and Allocations

Saturday, April 6, 2024

We had our monthly call to discuss the schedule for May. There were no big surprises, as April marked our entrance into a full summer schedule. Charlotte is running at capacity with very little room to add flights to the schedule. We have nine (9) flight banks running seven (7) days a week. This will continue through the summer. While some banks have less flights than the peak banks, the only real way to add capacity in Charlotte is to run larger airplanes or add “Flex” banks of flights.

What is a flex bank? In simplest terms, a bank of flights is when a bunch of airplanes arrive at a given time frame, and people get off those airplanes and run to the next flight to connect to another destination. Then, all the airplanes are loaded and depart for new destinations. This is the hub and spoke system we run, and most of our passengers just flow through Charlotte on a bank of incoming and outgoing flights.

We have nine (9) flight banks during the day. (If you ever wondered why we have so much sit time, it’s because you are waiting to go out on the next bank of flights a few hours from now). A flex bank would be a bank of flights at the off time when there is not the usual rushing of incoming flights and turning those airplanes to get right back out. The most common flex bank would be a late night bank. Our last bank departs at about 10 pm. Adding a later bank and leaving at midnight would be one way to add capacity to our full schedule. We have sporadically seen flex banks. As you can imagine, they are a logistical nightmare to coordinate with the airport. The airport must be up and running to accommodate a new bank of flights. The TSA has to provide screening, the vendors must have staffing for cleaning, catering, and food services, and Air Traffic Control must be staffed, etc. In general, the airport would have to remain open longer. This is why we only see flex banks at special times of the year, like holidays—the Thanksgiving holiday had a flex bank. May will see a flex bank on the 23rd and the anticipated travel demand for Memorial Day.

Charlotte is a predominantly Airbus hub. We will see as many 321s flying as they can put in because they are larger airplanes. This is another way to add capacity. While we saw fewer actual trips in May, our hours are increasing to 180,000, the largest number of hours we have ever had. This means more flights built into trips, longer duty days, and a higher line average. It also means we need more staffing to run the operation. We will get 95 new hires in May, and our transfer list remains open. We are stretching our current staffing to fill the schedule slated for our base. Our IPD flying will have 9 flights with Paris slated to come back on June 5.

Our Reserve numbers remain the second highest in the system next to PHX. Our Reserve cut-off seniority will be February 19th, 2018. PHX and Charlotte have had the highest Reserve numbers since 2018. The company has used several excuses for the high numbers in other bases over the years but has never fully explained why these two bases have had consistently high numbers. The only comment they will make is that the system average for Reserve numbers is down. Our position remains that we have a fragile trip construction model that creates far too much open time in the form of Systems trips. The Reserves are needed to make up for the poor model. They anticipate a higher need for Reserves during the May holidays of Mother’s Day on the 12th and Memorial Day at the end of the month. This would suggest that they continue a Reserve model that carries extra Reserves for an entire month to cover a few peak days. While the holidays in May are not included in the contractual holiday incentive program, the company can incentivize these days to plan for anticipated shortages. They have yet to incentivize any days outside of the Thanksgiving and Christmas periods. The model of planning Reserves has not been refined and is not in line with actual usage.

Here is a graph from March showing planned Reserves and actual usage. Keep in mind that several weather events paralyzed our system once again and left crews sleeping in airports despite the high Reserve numbers put in place as a stopgap for such disruptions.

As you can see, extra Reserves were put on for the whole month to cover a few heavy days, such as the large number of trips that depart on the 1st day of the month. We are used to seeing this in December or January, but this has become the norm. If you follow the graph month to month, you can see that the Reserve usage lines up with the trips, but the planned Reserves are only in line with usage if a storm disrupts the system. They factor in a certain amount of extra Reserves as a contingency based on past years, but this is a guessing game and it still doesn’t justify the high numbers we have seen month over month.

Our trips breakdown:

  • 1-days will make up 26% of our trips ↑
  • 2-days will make up 17% of our trips ↓
  • 3-days will make up 32% of our trips ↑
  • 4-days will make up 3% of our trips ↓
  • 2/3-days will Make up 8.5% of our trips ↓
  • 3/4 -days will make up 2% of our trips
  • ODANs are up at 8% of our trips
  • Red eyes are up at 2% of the trips
  • Bullets and pink eyes have just a dash more but come in at less than 1% of our trips.

The 1-days are very healthy, but we saw a good increase in the four-leggers. While there was a reduction in 4-leg days built into multiple-day trips, there is an increase in 4-leg one days. 1-days remain popular, and if they need to make these hard-time trips, we will continue to see this type of construction. There is no programing solution that will cut sit times on four leg days. These one days help the company build more flying time into the trips. If the four leg 1-days become a problem by remaining in open time, then this will probably be addressed. We did see some West Coast turns in the packet. Remember, these are governed by JCBA 11.E., the note at the bottom of the chart. These trips can often bleed into a legal duty day limitation and are a great way to have VE added to a high-time trip.

The 3-days had the biggest increase, the 2- and 4-days saw decreases. The major changes were a good increase in ODANs but a reduction in red eyes and the 2/3 days. ODANs make up the last flight of the night and the first flight of the day. When running an efficient hub and spoke system, keeping the first flight of the day on time is crucial. The ODANs make sense to keep the system on time, even if the last bank of flights are operating late. With a full bank of flights, it’s easy to see why the ODANs have an increase. There were just a few more pink eyes and bullets but no real changes to the mid-con cities that traditionally make up these flights. The red-eyes remain low at 2% of the trips as they were creating problems with open time. There is a full schedule of NIPD turns, and IPD flying is in full swing, awaiting Paris in June.

The key to having the right mix is balance. With a good mixture of trips that work for everyone’s schedule, the more satisfied we become. This helps improve all the metrics. The sick rate is a good example. A system with various types of trips is key to finding a balance that works for both sides.


May 2024 Bidding Timelines


A New Document in Comply365 Requires Your Attention

In response to recent incidents and AA’s action plan with the FAA, a required Read and Acknowledge is being issued and is now available in Comply365.

What you need to do: Carefully review the document posted in Comply365 and follow the steps listed below to formally acknowledge your understanding of the procedures.

Comply365 > My Publications > Comply > ACTION REQUIRED: Read and Acknowledge

Your acknowledgement is required by May 18, 2024


  • An Unwavering Commitment to Safety
  • Operational Reliability
  • Threat and Error Management (TEM) & Crew Resource Management (CRM)
  • Preventing Sexual Harassment

WBT Deadline: Monday, June 3 @ 11:59 pm (CT)
Don’t wait until the last minute and put yourself in jeopardy for possible discipline.


Somewhere along the line, management has adopted the idea that work is inherently distasteful for its employees and that the employees will do anything to avoid work. This belief is echoed every day in the actions of management. We disagree with this sentiment. We believe that we want to come to work, exceed the work that we do, and be proud of a company that supports and rewards us for our hard work.

This is the side we see every day, the majority of our employees striving to make AA the best in the industry. If management thinks this is just about us getting a contract, they are missing half the problem. After all, doesn’t our business plan say, “Make culture a competitive advantage”?

Our culture needs some attention right now. Culture starts at the top and is reinforced every day by our actions. Vendors with contracts are the only ones who should be solely motivated by a contract, not your employees.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

The Charlotte APFA Team

In Solidarity,

Scott Hazlewood
APFA CLT Base President
[email protected]

APFA Headquarters
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Euless, Texas 76040

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Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

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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

Currently, no scheduled events...

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

Currently, no scheduled events...

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