scotron11
Posts: 1181
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:54 pm

UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:16 pm

In their quest to cut costs and emerge from bankruptcy, UAL says it will outsource its team of 20 meteorologists this fall.(Newswires)

I guess they figure they have "weathered the storm" of the last 2 1/2 years, and don't need them anymore.

How much do meteorologists make at an airline anyway?
 
zvezda
Posts: 8891
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:28 pm

It's about time! Meteorological information has grown better and less expensive in recent years. This step will probably save UAL several $million per year.
 
Mir
Posts: 19108
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 3:55 am

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:43 pm

Only 20 meteorologists for all of UA? I would have there'd be more than that.

In any case, this was probably inevitable. There are plenty of third-party weather sources available these days.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
FriendlySkies
Posts: 3540
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 3:57 pm

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 2:43 pm

I met some of them a few years ago...small dept, and with all the computers and stuff these days I guess you don't really need them. I doubt this will save a lot of money though.
 
jmc1975
Posts: 2897
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2000 10:57 am

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:41 pm

Since when did meteorologists work for airlines? You can't even see them on Ch. 9! The should've been axed during Q1 2003! No wonder UAL has had (and will continue to have) problems!
.......
 
Cirrostratus
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon May 02, 2005 1:13 am

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:58 pm

Would someone answer the question about how much they make, I'd like to know too, thanks.
 
zvezda
Posts: 8891
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 4:20 pm

From salary.com:
"The median expected salary for a typical Meteorologist in Chicago, IL is $88,077."

Of course, the cost to UAL is much higher than the salary. Don't forget payroll taxes, rent, computers, etc. I would expect the department was probably costing UAL $3-5 million per year.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 8:25 pm

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 6):
Of course, the cost to UAL is much higher than the salary. Don't forget payroll taxes, rent, computers, etc. I would expect the department was probably costing UAL $3-5 million per year.

What I think is being overlooked here is what this move will likely cost them in lost fuel savings. Internal forecasts can be more accurate than NWS forecasts, since the airline Met guy/gal is focusing strictly on the airline's route system and weather's effect on it, versus the NWS who has broader and more varied responsibilities, aviation being down on the list.

So how does this affect fuel consumption? Less accurate forecasts mean that destination alternates get designated and fuel ("weight") is loaded aboard as a result. You lose a certain percentage of every 1,000 pounds you carry, and at today's prices with the number of flights in a day/month/year, it can add up quickly.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
zvezda
Posts: 8891
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 8:48 pm

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 8:41 pm

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 7):

What I think is being overlooked here is what this move will likely cost them in lost fuel savings. Internal forecasts can be more accurate than NWS forecasts, since the airline Met guy/gal is focusing strictly on the airline's route system and weather's effect on it, versus the NWS who has broader and more varied responsibilities, aviation being down on the list.

I don't believe that UAL will be relying on NWS forecasts.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 8:44 pm

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 8):
I don't believe that UAL will be relying on NWS forecasts.

I hope not; sometimes the TAF doesn't get amended until the thunderstorm is over the airport fence....  Wink
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Tornado82
Posts: 4662
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 10:19 am

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 9:20 pm

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 6):
From salary.com:
"The median expected salary for a typical Meteorologist in Chicago, IL is $88,077."

Don't use that number... it is heavily skewed by the fact that Chicago is such a high TV DMA. Tom Skilling alone would be enough to heavily skew the median salary for meteorolgists in Chicago. If I had to ballpark it, I'd say $30-60k depending on experience. Depending which meteorology sweatshop UA contracts with the starting salaries are barely $20k... No doubt UA will save doing this, but it won't be enough to solve their financial problems by any means. Everyone else has done it already to my knowledge, except for NWA.

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 7):
Internal forecasts can be more accurate than NWS forecasts, since the airline Met guy/gal is focusing strictly on the airline's route system and weather's effect on it, versus the NWS who has broader and more varied responsibilities, aviation being down on the list.

I'm sure they'll contract it out to a meteorology sweatshop, a la AccuWeather, Weatherbank, etc. where some recent grads who have to work 2nd jobs just to make ends meet will be doing it. I know a few good people working at those sweatshops, but overall I'm sure the quality will slip somewhat from in-house. On the other hand, I'm sure there will be performance guarantees in the contracts. These companies though are the equivalent of an Express/Connection/Airlink partner though... and take that with a grain of salt.
 
commavia
Posts: 9822
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:30 am

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 9:28 pm

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 7):
Internal forecasts can be more accurate than NWS forecasts, since the airline Met guy/gal is focusing strictly on the airline's route system and weather's effect on it, versus the NWS who has broader and more varied responsibilities, aviation being down on the list.

I doubt the NWS will be providing their meteorology information -- they will outsource this work to a vendor to provide them with real-time weather data. AA and DL did this a few years back, after 9/11 -- both of them eliminated their in-house meteorology departments and jointly started a company up in Oklahoma to do their weather tracking.
 
Tornado82
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 10:19 am

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:35 pm

Quoting Commavia (Reply 11):
both of them eliminated their in-house meteorology departments and jointly started a company up in Oklahoma to do their weather tracking.

That would be one of the "meteorology sweatshops" I mentioned... and those are the reason I bailed on meteorology as a career choice. There are a couple out there in the OKC area. I guess they picked the cheapest possible place in the nation to put them to pay their employees even less... in a place where young crazy fresh-from-school storm chaser types would dream of settling. NWA sells their services from their in-house Met. Dept for outside use... evidentally to raise some money. Links to it are on their website.

There is also a firm in Houston (which pays their employees MUCH better) which caters heavily to the Bizjet populace. They even set you up with the FBO's at your destination and whatnot. Air Routing I believe they are called.
 
commavia
Posts: 9822
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 2:30 am

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:41 pm

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 12):
There are a couple out there in the OKC area. I guess they picked the cheapest possible place in the nation to put them to pay their employees even less... in a place where young crazy fresh-from-school storm chaser types would dream of settling.

I believe that the joint company AA and DL set up was located in a more rural location, not OKC, and I highly doubt that they picked Oklahoma because of cheap labor.

They probably picked Oklahoma because it is home to arguably the best meteorology school in the country, at the University of Oklahoma, and because it is pretty much the center of meteorology in America.
 
ckfred
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Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:50 pm

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Thu Jul 07, 2005 12:59 am

There is a reason for an airline to either a) have its own weather department or b) to outsource to a company that specializes in aviation forecasting, as AA and DL have done.

Whereas we just need to know what is happening on the ground, airlines need to know what is happening at 35,000, especially with oil back at $60 a barrel.

And it just isn't flying conditions. AA used to say that it wanted to be the last airline to clear aircraft from an airport that was about to see severe thunderstorms or heavy snow, and the first to land planes once the weather improved. So, it needed very accurate predicitons as to timing of weather movements.
 
ord
Posts: 1356
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 1999 10:34 pm

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:12 am

If anyone has ever seen the weatherman on Fox News in Chicago, Rick DiMaio, he was a meteorologist at United for 10 years prior to joining Fox in 1995:

http://www.foxchicago.com/_ezpost/data/13595.shtml

Part of his bio:

"Rick DiMaio joined FOX News Chicago in September 1995. Currently he is the weathercaster for "FOX News at Noon" and "FOX News at 9."

Rick came to FOX News from United Airlines, where he had been the staff meteorologist for ten years. During his tenure at United, Rick designed and produced an International Pilots Weather Manual for the airline's European and North Atlantic operations. He also produced various in-house case studies on diverse weather conditions and supervised and co-published a one-year thunderstorm study."
 
beauing
Posts: 329
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 1:59 pm

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 13, 2005 3:34 am

 
slider
Posts: 6814
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:42 pm

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 13, 2005 4:18 am

So much for the specious claims of unions protecting jobs. And it's the TWU no less. Small world.
 
DL WIDGET HEAD
Posts: 1469
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2000 8:18 am

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Wed Jul 13, 2005 4:28 am

Quoting Commavia (Reply 11):
AA and DL did this a few years back, after 9/11 -- both of them eliminated their in-house meteorology departments

Where do people come up with this nonsense? Do they just make it up because it sounds good to them? DL has not farmed out its meteorology department. The group is still staffed by DL professionals and they work at DL's OCC in ATL.
 
ouboy79
Posts: 4114
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2001 1:48 pm

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:51 am

American Airlines utilizes WeatherNews Americas which has their new domestic office on the site of the new National Weather Center. http://nwc.ou.edu/index.php

Not sure of when they switched, but when I was attending OU in the SoM, we were working with AA in the development of CAPS for use in real-time forecasting for the DFW hub. http://www.caps.ou.edu/wx/p/r/spmeso/adas/

Anyway...the location is here in Norman off of Highway 9 on the South Campus area. Not really a rural area.
 
TokyoNarita
Posts: 556
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 5:30 am

RE: UAL To Outsource Meteorologists!

Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:48 am

So...anyone has credible information as to whom UA is going to outsource their WX department to?

TokyoNarita.