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Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2001 8:11 am

Deja Vu At America West

Tue Jun 18, 2002 5:31 am

I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but America West's MTD operational performance for June has been decidedly off-tick. The cancellation rate has been 2.5% so far, and on-time performance has dropped to 80%. This compares to a cancellation rate of 0.3% for May and on-time performance of 88%. In fact, Am West on-time performance has been in the mid-to-high 80s ever since last December, and monthly cxl rates have been between 0.8% and 0.3%.

From what I understand, the majority of the recent cancellations have been due to aircraft maintenance. However, I also understand that America West pilots were flying a precariously large number of flights on overtime prior to June, and the problem has only grown worse with the start of the summer schedule.

Does HP plan any schedule reductions, or does it feel these problems will correct themselves over time?
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RE: Deja Vu At America West

Tue Jun 18, 2002 12:18 pm

Would you be so kind as to provide a bit of comparison to other carriers for the same period? I am not a great fan of HP myself but I'd like to see how those figures compare to others. Exception being, of course, WN.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
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RE: Deja Vu At America West

Tue Jun 18, 2002 1:12 pm

A decline in operating performance from one month to the next does not establish a pattern of decline. On the other hand, through May, HP had been at or near the top among U.S. majors in on-time arrivals and lowest % of flights cancelled for something like six consecutive months and showing steady improvement. And keep in mind that HP is within something like 2.5% of operating its pre-9/11 timetable--while most other majors continue to operate a more reduced schedule in relative terms.

The dropoff in HP's performance numbers seems to be paralleled by Alaska Airlines, who claim to operate at 100% of their pre-9/11 departure numbers. As with HP, cancellations have appeared to increase sharply in June when compared with previous months while on-time arrival performance has dropped noticeably.

Inasmuch as the other majors who made draconian flight reductions in the wake of 9/11 have been steadily restoring flights, me thinks that what we are seeing in HP and AS may be a return to pre-9/11 levels of delays and cancellations that were a regular feature of air travel in the U.S., the main cause of which was overscheduling by the airlines. Hopefully I'm wrong in my thinking for once!

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RE: Deja Vu At America West

Tue Jun 18, 2002 2:58 pm

I just really question whether smaller carriers such as HP and AS should adopt this kind of "maximal efficiency" business model. Fortress-hub carriers such as AA and NW have been able to get by with scheduling to the max and accepting a high rate of operational delays/cancellations because they know their customers will have a difficult time avoiding their airline. But I feel airlines such as HP and AS, which have substantial competition at their home airports, need to focus more on customer service in order to retain passengers. I feel customers of these airlines are less likely to tolerate long delays and more likely to jump ship to the larger airlines.

It appears HP has taken a step in the right direction. Certainly, their performance YTD would suggest that they have. However, the summer season is the most trying time, and it remains to be seen how HP will fair. As far as AS is concerned, they "claim" to be making an effort to improve, but I have yet to see definitive results. On-time performance has improved, but is still subpar, and schedule completion has also been industry trailing. AS execs always blame the poor performance on the weather, but do they really think the public can't see through that?
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RE: Deja Vu At America West

Tue Jun 18, 2002 3:34 pm

The problem at HP this month has been that HP published an increase in scheduled flights based on a certain number of recalled pilots being available to fly. Unfortunately some of these pilots have not completed their training therefore the schedule has suffered. This is mainly a problem with 737 pilots.
The company has recognised this error and is taking actions to solve the problems. Some schedules have been temporarily reduced and as pilots become available in the next weeks the problem will eventually be solved.

PRINAIR - Puerto Rico International Airlines

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