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Time For Southwest Pilot Pay Cuts?  
User currently offlineIncitatus From Brazil, joined Feb 2005, 4069 posts, RR: 13
Posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7727 times:

According to www.airlinepilotcentral.com, the hourly rates for captains with 12 years of seniority in narrow bodies of the US airlines are as follows:

Southwest 737 $190
Frontier A319 $157
Alaska 737 $154
American MD-80 $154
AirTran 737 $153
Continental 737-300 $144
JetBlue A320 $139
Northwest A320 $137
USAirways A320 $130
United A320 $129

Delta is working towards placing their rate at about $140.

Can Southwest stay competitive if they pay their 737 pilots so much more than any other airline?

The gap with Jet Blue's E-190 is remarkable. Jet Blue is hiring new pilots for the type and a captain and first officer with two year seniority rates add up to $112. Meanwhile, a 7-year captain and a 2-year first officer at Southwest have a total rate of $265. E-190s have 100 seats and 737-700s have 137 seats. So the pilot cost per seat is almost half at Jet Blue. Resistance is futile...?


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41 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineFlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7707 times:

Quoting Incitatus (Thread starter):
Time For Southwest Pilot Pay Cuts?

Not your decision.


Like it or not - SWA makes money.

 Yeah sure


User currently offlineCrogalski From United States of America, joined May 2005, 514 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7700 times:

Quoting FlyingTexan (Reply 1):
Like it or not - SWA makes money.

and just for example, if they hadn't of hedged fuel?



A319 A320 B717 B727 B737 B747 B757 B767 C152 C172 DC9 E145 E190 MD88 PA28 | B6 CO DL FL NK NW LO TW
User currently offlineFlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7688 times:

Quoting Crogalski (Reply 2):
and just for example, if they hadn't of hedged fuel?

'What if' scenarios are not always the best route for a discussion.

More importantly, they had money to hedge fuel.


User currently offlineSonOfACaptain From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1747 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7682 times:

As long as any airline is healthy, you will not see pay cuts. Also, I wouldn't compare 190's with 737's.

On a side note, US captains make $125 an hour on their 12th year.

-SOAC



Non Illegitimi Carborundum
User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 1001 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7673 times:

Quoting Incitatus (Thread starter):
Can Southwest stay competitive if they pay their 737 pilots so much more than any other airline?

Yes WN can remain competitive. WN employees are across the board more productive than their counterparts; they may shell out the big bucks, but their labor works their tails off.

The last few years have seen aggressive cost reduction at WN, but one key decision was to focus on productivity and efficency rather than forcing labor into concessions. Since 2002, WN has increased capacity, routes, and stations without hiring a hoard of employees. The employee:asset ratio at WN is the lowest in the U.S. market.

For the time being, WN doesn't need to slash pilot salaries.

Quoting Incitatus (Thread starter):
So the pilot cost per seat is almost half at Jet Blue. Resistance is futile...?

It obviously wouldn't hurt to lower pilot compensation, but WN isn't at quite the disadvantage a flat dollar sign would suggest. So long as productivity and labor-management relations stay positive, they should be able to negotiate whatever comes their way.


User currently offlineFlyingTexan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7650 times:

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 5):
WN employees are across the board more productive than their counterparts

Thank you for mentioning that. I was going to put something along those lines but then I’d have to fight the *but a pilot is a pilot* argument.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26815 posts, RR: 75
Reply 7, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7650 times:

Quoting SonOfACaptain (Reply 4):
On a side note, US captains make $125 an hour on their 12th year.

One should also note that the most junior US captain (not HP) was hired in 1987, which means they don't have any 12 year captains.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 5):
The last few years have seen aggressive cost reduction at WN, but one key decision was to focus on productivity and efficency rather than forcing labor into concessions. Since 2002, WN has increased capacity, routes, and stations without hiring a hoard of employees. The employee:asset ratio at WN is the lowest in the U.S. market.

Additionally, WN has gradually increased their average stage length significantly, which only serves to further lower costs.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 5):
Quoting Incitatus (Thread starter):
So the pilot cost per seat is almost half at Jet Blue. Resistance is futile...?

It obviously wouldn't hurt to lower pilot compensation, but WN isn't at quite the disadvantage a flat dollar sign would suggest. So long as productivity and labor-management relations stay positive, they should be able to negotiate whatever comes their way.

WN is also FAR more efficient than B6. Take a look at turn around times some times, particularly the B6 A320s, and see who is keeping their planes up.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7649 times:

Frontier, Alaska, and AirTran are all smaller carriers. Not key players in the nation's airspace system compared with the likes of WN, UA, or AA. You'd expect them to have lower rates than these, and smaller airlines still (such as Allegiant), will have even lower rates, its how things work. But look, they're actually the highest in the list aside from WN. These airlines (WN, F9, ...) are profitable with working business models. They can pay their pilots appropriate wages. Look for these to go up over time to match inflation and the company's success.

The other majors once had wages on the same level. But, they are for the most part operating with failed business models, and use the tool of Chapter 11 bankrupcy to reduce their pay for all employees below that of industry standard, negotiated, etc.

So, no, it is not time for Southwest pilot pay cuts. It is time for the government to stop giving companies with failed business plans the ability to unfairly continue to operate and compete without the obligations that healthy companies have. It is time for those who can operate successfully to take over.


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26815 posts, RR: 75
Reply 9, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7631 times:

Quoting Flyf15 (Reply 8):
Frontier, Alaska, and AirTran are all smaller carriers. Not key players in the nation's airspace system compared with the likes of WN, UA, or AA.

Alaska and AirTran are both major carriers. F9 will likely be there soon

Quoting Flyf15 (Reply 8):
It is time for the government to stop giving companies with failed business plans the ability to unfairly continue to operate and compete without the obligations that healthy companies have. It is time for those who can operate successfully to take over.

Well that kind of rewriting of the bankruptcy code will never happen



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineGreenguy01 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 235 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 7615 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 7):
WN is also FAR more efficient than B6. Take a look at turn around times some times, particularly the B6 A320s, and see who is keeping their planes up.

But does WN fly any redeyes? B6 has one of the highest a/c utilization in the industry. Higher than WN!



Never argue with an idiot. They drag you to their level and beat you with experience.
User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12150 posts, RR: 49
Reply 11, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 7599 times:

Quoting Greenguy01 (Reply 10):
But does WN fly any redeyes? B6 has one of the highest a/c utilization in the industry. Higher than WN!

NO redeyes for WN, at some point they need to do work on the planes, as about the only time they are not flying is at night.



You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineTheGreatChecko From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1130 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 7553 times:

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 11):
NO redeyes for WN, at some point they need to do work on the planes, as about the only time they are not flying is at night.

Well...not exactly true. The airline does a few charters at night, mostly for the military. Also, their latest flights also get in at about the 1-2am CST timeframe on the west coast, so thats kinda late for everyone back in Dallas.

However, yes you are right in saying that they don't have any scheduled redeyes.

I believe they do this because they don't see the need (their utilization is pretty high as it is) and it would cause them to need another crew, a third shift per se, to run the redeyes.

GreatChecko

PS Damn, what am I trying to do, take this thread off topic....

I agree, no pay cuts right now, but I also don't see any reason for any exorbitant raises either when the contract comes up for renegotiation. They don't need labor costs to go up anymore.

[Edited 2005-12-02 02:41:59]


"A pilot's plane she is. She will love you if you deserve it, and try to kill you if you don't...She is the Mighty Q400"
User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 16
Reply 13, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 7536 times:

Quoting Crogalski (Reply 2):

and just for example, if they hadn't of hedged fuel?

The problem with that argument is this...last quarter would have been profitable even without the hedges.


User currently offlineMtnWest1979 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 2485 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7479 times:
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Quoting N1120A (Reply 7):
Quoting SonOfACaptain (Reply 4):
On a side note, US captains make $125 an hour on their 12th year.

One should also note that the most junior US captain (not HP) was hired in 1987, which means they don't have any 12 year captains.

Unless my math is off, if one was hired as a captain in 1987 and is still one now, that would be 18 years a captain.



"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
User currently offlineN200WN From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 784 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7453 times:

Quoting Greenguy01 (Reply 10):
But does WN fly any redeyes? B6 has one of the highest a/c utilization in the industry. Higher than WN!

But aren't there only so many markets that can support redeye flights? I would tend to think that as B6 grows its ratio of redeyes to non redeyes will go down.

Quoting TheGreatChecko (Reply 12):
I believe they do this because they don't see the need (their utilization is pretty high as it is) and it would cause them to need another crew, a third shift per se, to run the redeyes.

You're right on the money. As WN becomes more of a 24 hour operation (I think Dispatch is staffed 24/7 now) redeyes may be added. But only if it keeps the operation simple and more importantly is cost effective and profitable.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 5):
The employee:asset ratio at WN is the lowest in the U.S. market.

And the company is working to lower it still. For an example, in my Ops office last year we worked 45 departures a day with 21 agents. By this coming February we will work 49 departures with 16 agents. Ramp and Customer Service are doing the same thing.

Quoting FlyingTexan (Reply 6):
WN employees are across the board more productive than their counterparts

Thank you for mentioning that. I was going to put something along those lines but then I’d have to fight the *but a pilot is a pilot* argument.

You two are some of the few who ever tie productivity to compensation. I wonder why so many leave out this other part of the equation?


User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4491 posts, RR: 21
Reply 16, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7432 times:

Quoting MtnWest1979 (Reply 14):
Unless my math is off, if one was hired as a captain in 1987 and is still one now, that would be 18 years a captain.

You're not hired as a captain, you're hired as a first officer...and that takes a good deal of years to attain, generally.



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineSupa7E7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 7298 times:

It's ridiculous, the model by which pilots can choose their own pay. Southwest has plenty of money, so its pilots (not investors so much) have enjoyed a real windfall.

Anti-trust law should be applied to ALPA as individuals colluding to bilk the public above the market rate for pilot labor. I am in a small minority who remains annoyed at ALPA's improper use of the labor market. Labor unions protecting luxurious wages are indistinguishable from the mafia in my opinion. The point of this message is, I don't see why we must negotiate with the mafia to conduct business in this country.


User currently offlineSonOfACaptain From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1747 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 7224 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 7):
One should also note that the most junior US captain (not HP) was hired in 1987, which means they don't have any 12 year captains.

Haha, very true, but 87' is actually the most junior pilot. The most junior capt. was hired in either late 85', or very early 86'.

Quoting MtnWest1979 (Reply 14):
that would be 18 years a captain.

After 12 years, it doesn't matter how long you have been their pay-wise. 12th year pay is the max. pilots go to.

-SOAC



Non Illegitimi Carborundum
User currently offlineBarney Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 999 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 7197 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 7):
One should also note that the most junior US captain (not HP) was hired in 1987, which means they don't have any 12 year captains.

I might be misinterpreting what you are writing but;

According to

http://www.airlinepilotcentral.com/content/view/10/16/

UsAir tops out at the 12 year point @ $125/hr (narrow body) with the most junior Capt. hired in 1987. That means that ALL of their Captains are 12 year Captains and therefore maxed out on pay.



...from the Banana Republic....
User currently offlineUAL777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 1564 posts, RR: 5
Reply 20, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 7132 times:

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 17):
Labor unions protecting luxurious wages are indistinguishable from the mafia in my opinion. The point of this message is, I don't see why we must negotiate with the mafia to conduct business in this country.

Are you a pilot? Do you know what it takes? Have you ever had an uncontained engine failure at max take-off weight in a thunderstorm? Judging by your ignorance, I would say no. Go look at what this "mafia" has to make at a regional airline for at least 6 or 7 years before they even make it to a major. Then look at the year 1 pay for a first officer.

To be a pilot, you must SERIOUSLY pay your dues. Their salary is in my opinion on-target or slightly under-rated.



It is always darkest before the sun comes up.
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26815 posts, RR: 75
Reply 21, posted (9 years 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 7105 times:

Quoting MtnWest1979 (Reply 14):
Unless my math is off, if one was hired as a captain in 1987 and is still one now, that would be 18 years a captain.

Yep, pretty much. Actually, every USAirways pilot was a captain at some point

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 17):
Anti-trust law should be applied to ALPA as individuals colluding to bilk the public above the market rate for pilot labor.

ALPA is 1) not a business and 2) not a monopoly, so there is no way to apply anti-trust.

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 17):
I am in a small minority who remains annoyed at ALPA's improper use of the labor market.

Improper? They protect people and negotiate for them as a collective, that's it.

Quoting Barney Captain (Reply 19):
UsAir tops out at the 12 year point @ $125/hr (narrow body) with the most junior Capt. hired in 1987. That means that ALL of their Captains are 12 year Captains and therefore maxed out on pay.

Yep, you are absolutely correct. Also, all their F.Os are likely topped out as well



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineTheGreatChecko From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1130 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (9 years 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6961 times:

Quoting N200WN (Reply 15):
As WN becomes more of a 24 hour operation (I think Dispatch is staffed 24/7 now) redeyes may be added.

Its very minimal though, only a few people to put the West coast "to sleep" and "wake up" the east coast in the morning.

As for more redeyes, its a possibility, but the whole third shift problem would be a major hurdle to overcome.

GreatChecko



"A pilot's plane she is. She will love you if you deserve it, and try to kill you if you don't...She is the Mighty Q400"
User currently offlineBucky707 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1028 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (9 years 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6945 times:

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 17):
It's ridiculous, the model by which pilots can choose their own pay

Pilots don't choose thier pay. Its negotiated. And in the case of SW its not even that their pilots negotiated top of the industry pay. In the time since they last negotiated a contract, everyone else has moved down, they did not move up.

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 17):
I am in a small minority who remains annoyed at ALPA's improper use of the labor market.

Interesting that you say that, given that right now the lowest paid pilots are all pretty much ALPA pilots. Jetblue is non union and makes pretty good money. Airtran, an independent union and doing pretty well. Southwest, the top paid pilots in the passenger business, is an independent union. If ALPA is misusing the labor market, why are ALPA pilots paid predominantly below market wages these days?


User currently offlineJetdeltamsy From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 2987 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (9 years 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 6901 times:

As as Southwest is genuinely profitable, they aren't going to cut pilot pay.

But as they become more and more exposed to high fuel costs, it is definitely something that may occur.

But for immediate future, with their hedging in place and profitability pretty much assured, they're not going to ask their pilots for givebacks.



Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
25 MD88Captain : Why do just the pilots have to take a paycut? I'm thinking what's good for the pilots will be good for eveyone else there. Of course everyone there is
26 BoomBoom : There was an article in Tuesdays Wall Street Journal: Move to Denver Signals Threat To Southwest's Low-Cost Model
27 SWAbubba : Most of the important points in this discussion have already been brought up, but one that hasn't is the issue of total labor costs including benefits
28 Incitatus : One can't make an exact comparison using hourly rates only but... When Southwest's stands out as much higher than anybody else's, its productivity ha
29 SWAbubba : You're assuming that other costs for all airlines are also the same. That is not the case because SWA has efficiencies of scale that no one else can
30 Incitatus : Yes, and it's much easier for other airlines to work on reducing those inefficiencies than it is for Southwest to reduce compensation. When the pay d
31 TxAgKuwait : Incitatus writes in, and I quote: >> "Yes, and it's much easier for other airlines to work on reducing those inefficiencies than it is for Southwest t
32 Post contains images SWAbubba : Several airlines could have their pilots work for free and they still wouldn't be able to match SWA's CASM. But that doesn't stop them from telling t
33 DALNeighbor : The WN haters love to point out that WN does not have assigned seating, first class, premium lounges, extensive codeshare reach and serve every city i
34 Pilotpip : Add to the above the fact that the ineffiencies hub and spoke add HUGE costs and drive the CASM up. And many airlines use more than one type aircraft
35 Cjpark : NO offense intended here but every professional must pay their dues and demonstrate competency. I am sure that you are proud your accomplishments and
36 UAL777 : I didnt say that other professions were sub-par, and I think that the salaried worker who works more than 9-10 hours a day more than 1 time a month is
37 Iowaman : What's wrong if Southwest can afford to pay there pilots as much as they do? Good for them. Source?
38 Post contains links DALNeighbor : I don't think there will be pay cuts anytime soon. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont.../120805dnbusswpilots.17a456e3.html Pilots at Southwest Airli
39 Kappel : What's Delta's rate now? I really respect airlines like SWA , JetBlue, Frontier, who in a tough environment can keep profitability as it is. I rate t
40 Jeremy : So do drug dealers. This is true, and it also causes a lot of OJIs, especially on the ramp. I have been there and have seen it. At my station, it see
41 Jeremy : I agree, B6 turns are not quick. As far as I have seen though, the B6 aircraft are cleaned well for every flight. Southwest F/As do a quick tidy, whi
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