Oh my, oh my, how close minded and so forgetful so many are. If I would have read this topic and it said only in the year 2006, than I would agree with everything written so far, but, has everybody on this site forgotten the hits and blows that the airline industry, the very industry we all talk about daily, have we all forgotten what has happened to our industry in the past 5-6 years.
Don't forget Doug Parker and the past 5-6 years he has had with America West. Without Doug, I as an HP
elite doubt that the airline could have forged forward and struggled and eventually survived the downturn that the aviation industry took before, during, and after the events of 9/11. I don't see how HP
could have survived if they still were under the leadership of past dictators such as Franke. My thoughts, and my thoughts only, Parker surged a rebirth of young lively energy into an airline that was ranked "america's worst" and couldn't pull a profit nor an on-time flight out of its butt.
To begin, HP
was one of the first, if not the first, to apply for and receive the govt funding pumped into airlines after the events of 9/11. Systemwide, HP
made drastic cuts in areas to decrease overall expenses and to cut their bottom line in a time needed to simply survive. If you thought as a first class pax I was happy to be flying first class from PHX
and have no meal or inflight service, hell no, but you know what, now I am because HP
made cuts necessary to get through the times, and the airline stuck it through.
Looking at HP
, leases were renegotiated on numerous a/c, and with 737 being returned and new leases signed, HP
signed for more Airbus a/c, and to the surprise of many, even resigned renegotiated leases on the B757 a/c. Surprising to so many, the B757 to all were maintenance hogs and simply nightmares, avoided by those elite who knew the airline well, but HP
signed lease rates on those a/c that were unbelievable. Kept in the fleet, HP
returned only 1 B757 and kept 13 and I would say in the past 2-3 years the dispatch reliability and dependability has improved. (before the ETOPS and HI
flights). When I would book HP
, I use to avoid the B757 flights like a plague, but now, don't mind seeing one on a res. Also, to improve reliability, I think about 3 years ago Parker realized that shady ops through the HP
system and I think 4 a/c were removed from scheduled operations and used simply as spares, flights were reduced and flight times realigned to get HP
back on their feet and increase overall operations. HP
was one of the airlines that offered employees incentives to get the airline back to acceptable levels of on-time performance, and 2 or 3 quarters the employees did receive their bonuses for being ranked #1, #2, or #3. Thinking about the fleet, Parker was part of the renegotiation also with the Mesa contract, and with it, it allowed HP
to reduce part of their fleet while Mesa signed for larger rj a/c, the CRJ-700 and -900, which would take over portions of the HP
routes and flights with thinner loads. Since then, the CRJ-700 has been removed from the HP
Express fleet, but the -900 was reconfigured and while seating 86 pax, it accomodated just below what the 737-200 use to seat.
Through the system, HP
realigned and focused on their strengths, those being their hubs of PHX
. The east coast focus city of CMH
was eliminated, ending the codeshare agreement with Chatauqua and the 12 ERJ a/c that were based in CMH
. After the CMH
added flights from their west coast hubs to northeastern destinations and more important business destinations up and down the east coast. The hub in LAS
was strengthened and streamlined to where it is now, not only offering a bank of "nite flight" hub service, but an additional two banks of flights were added, one where eastbound a/c would fly early am into LAS
and then depart westbound around 12pm ish give or take, and then those a/c would return to LAS
mid afternoon and offer LAS
the additional east coast bank with departures in the dinner hour at 5pm ish, give or take. As other airlines did, HP
opened up and proved that LAS
could survive as much more than just a nightmare operation, and HP
to back this further developed their AmeriWest Vacation department to supplement not only the LAS
flights, but destinations throughout the west, Florida, Mexico, and Canada.
Other areas to look at, in-flight, America West was the first U.S airline to announce and experiment with "in-flight" buy-on-board service. I was in Germany actually when it was announced, and even overseas it made headlines that an american airline would offer such a product. HP
experimented with the in-flight meals for at least 9-12 months before discontinuing the service, and the only reason behind that was that HP
wanted to renegotiate their costs on the product to cover waste and unused portions that couldnt be sold. First class catering was readjusted to cost levels that while lower in savvy to most experienced first class travelers, HP
was still able to offer an enjoyable product that didn't have to include steak n' lobster or a 3 course meal on a simple 3-4 flight across the country. Didn't 2 years in a row HP
even win "best in-flight F winery" or some sort of name like that for having the best wine products on board? I didnt even know there was such an award.
Here's only a few points that I can recall from the past 5-6 years that HP
dealt with under the Parker leadership, but as I wrote, "leadership" compared to the years of struggle under the tyrants of previous years that led HP
. Interesting enough, wasn't Parker the only airline CEO that last year declined his yearly CEO bonus/incentive, stated that while the airline and employees suffered, he didnt feel justified to take an approx $500,000 bonus? That's funny, CEO's of the other big boy airlines all took huge incentives and bonuses while their airlines struggled financially and every other employee that worked the frontlines and did the dirty work each and every day took pay cuts, health care cuts, and pension loss. When was the last time that the "old US" posted a profit, but CEOs have been taking incentives and bonuses each and every year, maybe that's why morale was so poor. Because remember, and remember one thing, what starts up top only flows downward, and if the b/s starts with the CEO, what do you think will happen to the everyday employee by the time the b/s hits them? Morale doesn't flow upstream, it has to start at the top and flow down and work its way to each and every employee to make them feel involved, included, and empowered to be a part of the very airline they work for. Let's hope Parker can shed and share some of that through all of the "new US" system, because its already worked out west.