Not true. Mechanics assigned to the gate are not there just specifically for dispatch. They perform whatever flight line maintenance is required. This would include daily checks, tire changes, other numerous items ( inbound write-ups, even clear some MELs if time allows ) required to move the metal...consisitent with gate space/schedules.
Then why could we never get one to fix anything?
And why three mechanics for each flight? That's insane. You need mechanics in the gate areas, but you do not need three for each flight. You need mechanics who come to an airplane when they are needed. While they have to have access, there is no reason to have three per flight.
It is not necessary to have mechanics pushing and deicing airplanes and you know it. Because......no one else can perform these tasks and it takes three per flight.
This mess was agreed to many moons ago when US only had one gate with a loading bridge. Apparently it was never planning on having anymore loading bridges, because it foolishly agreed to this. The IAM tried to do the same thing at PI
, but PI
refused and stuck to its guns. I would hazard a guess that Southwest's mechanics tried the same tack with them and were also refused.
Before you ask, PI
had one gate with a loading bridge when this proposal was made by the IAM. PI
, however, was planning on have more loading bridges and wasn't about to pay out all that money to get an airplane pushed. Not when they could spend 3 hours training a ramp rat to do the pushing and deicing and he was with the plane anyway to off/on load bags and cargo and, very often, pull the trash from the trash cans. The flight attendants tidied up the cabin on turnarounds. This is also Southwest's operation.
Piedmont operated CLT
with 9 mechanics total per shift at the terminal. Everything got fixed. That was for about the same 300 flights per day that CLT
has right now.
When US took over PI
's operation, they had to hire 800 mechanics for CLT
alone to do all those tasks that someone else can easily perform. Like the ramp rats. It is not necessary to have someone with a mechanic's skill and training and pay to push and deice airplanes. That is an unnecessary expense and it is a luxury item that can no longer be afforded, if it ever could.
The fact is that Southwest uses 3 people to turn a 733. US uses 8 for the same size/type airplane. It is absolute insanity. Mechanics are too expensive to be doing such mundane tasks as pushing and deicing. It would be awfully expensive to have extra pilots on an airplane to arm/disarm doors and set up beverage carts don't you think??