LAXintl
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Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:14 pm

Southwest hired former Federal Aviation Administrator Randolph “Randy” Babbitt as its new senior vice president of labor relations.

Babbit is a veteran pilot including 25-years with Eastern and former president of ALPA, but was forced to resign from the FAA in December 2011 after a DUI arrest which he was later cleared of.

Press release:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/southw...s-names-senior-vice-153000003.html

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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:25 pm

Seems he'll need the occasional belt as WN deals with the fact that it's labor force is costly and its yields aren't what they used to be.
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rumorboy
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:30 pm

Ya, maybe Babbit can do a better job with labor relations because Gary Kelly sure hasn'rt done much good around here.
 
compensateme
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:36 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
Babbit is a veteran pilot including 25-years with Eastern and former president of ALPA, but was forced to resign from the FAA in December 2011 after a DUI arrest which he was later cleared of.

He wasn't cleared of the charge -- he was clearly intoxicated when he was pulled over. But it was found that the arresting officer had no legal reason to pull him over, therefore the charges were dismissed. Justice "prevails" when you have "friends."
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tdscanuck
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:16 am

Quoting CompensateMe (Reply 3):
He wasn't cleared of the charge -- he was clearly intoxicated when he was pulled over. But it was found that the arresting officer had no legal reason to pull him over, therefore the charges were dismissed.

If the charge was dismissed he was cleared of the charged...that's what being cleared of the charge means.

That's a *totally* different thing than whether he was actually driving intoxicated.

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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:27 am

Quoting CompensateMe (Reply 3):
He wasn't cleared of the charge -- he was clearly intoxicated when he was pulled over. But it was found that the arresting officer had no legal reason to pull him over, therefore the charges were dismissed. Justice "prevails" when you have "friends."

Our justice system holds you innocent until proven guilty. If you are not proven guilty, you are innocent.

OJ Simpson is innocent of murder. Doesn't mean he didn't do it.

I wonder what labor-relations experience he brings.
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XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:50 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):

I wonder what labor-relations experience he brings.

He was the president of ALPA years ago. The irony of a former union head now going to be tasked to go head to head with the unions is certainly thick.

He and Herb can raise their glasses of Wild Turkey prior to driving frequently in Dallas.  
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:46 am

Quoting CompensateMe (Reply 3):
He wasn't cleared of the charge -- he was clearly intoxicated when he was pulled over. But it was found that the arresting officer had no legal reason to pull him over, therefore the charges were dismissed. Justice "prevails" when you have "friends."

I don't think "friends" played a part in this. Generally when this sort of stuff comes up, those friends become suddenly unreachable. I think it's more likely that he had a really good lawyer that took advantage of a lazy cop who didn't follow procedure. He still lost his job and was all over the news for a few days, and since most states don't even require mandatory jail time for a DUI, he probably got off worse than most first time offenders despite being acquitted.


I do find it interesting that WN would bring in a former FAA boss after the several FAA actions against them over the past few years. I'll assume there's some sort of strategery there. I can't say I felt bad for him after his arrest and resignation, but the way in which it all transpired really sucked...it's good to see him back on his feet and hopefully this position will work out. At the very least he should be well suited for it.
 
GentFromAlaska
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:51 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
after a DUI arrest
Quoting CompensateMe (Reply 3):
he was clearly intoxicated when he was pulled over.

We also have to remember DUI and DWI are two different charges and hold different consequences. Having talked to many law enforcement officials if one doesn't apply the other one usually does.


Quoting CompensateMe (Reply 3):
the arresting officer had no legal reason to pull him over

As I recall the original media report in Virgina had him swerving considerably. Where public safety enters the equation if that isn't a legal reason than what is.

Lets just hope WN keeps him away from the ground support equipment.
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mmedford
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:01 pm

He didn't do so well for us as the Administrator either... no big loss I guess, good luck WN.
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catiii
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:12 pm

Quoting mmedford (Reply 9):
He didn't do so well for us as the Administrator either... no big loss I guess, good luck WN.

By what metric are you judging his performance as Administrator?
 
rickabone
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:53 pm

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 6):

He was the president of ALPA years ago. The irony of a former union head now going to be tasked to go head to head with the unions is certainly thick.

That may seem ironic here in the US, but in many other places, Germany for example, a representative of labor is required to be on the board of directors of a company. When you have someone that has labor's interests at heart in an executive position at a corporation, you can often compromise on labor issues or at least diffuse them before they get out of hand and it tends to lead to a better relationship between labor and management.
 
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:01 pm

Quoting mmedford (Reply 9):
He didn't do so well for us as the Administrator either... no big loss I guess, good luck WN.

He did quite well for us as FAA administrator actually... Besides resolving the disputed imposed work rules with controllers and negotiating with us to compromise on a new contract, he enlisted the Union's help in moving several modernization projects forward allowing for subject matter experts to be in charge of many of the critical components of NEXTGEN such as ERAM, TAMR, new ground surveillance systems, a new training and screening program at the FAA academy etc... By enlisting the union's help they were able to suss out and solve problems that contractors like Lockheed, Raytheon, etc insisted didn't exist and weren't prepared to handle.
 
737tdi
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:20 pm

Quoting rumorboy (Reply 2):
Ya, maybe Babbit can do a better job with labor relations because Gary Kelly sure hasn'rt done much good around here




Well rumorboy, hows about we keep this kind of stuff in house. No reason not to.


I wish the new guy good luck. Maybe having a actual airline/aircraft guy in the ranks might do some good. Everybody else on top are either money or legal guys. JMO.
 
rumorboy
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:33 pm

Quoting 737tdi (Reply 13):
Well rumorboy, hows about we keep this kind of stuff in house. No reason not to.

I understand your point of view but there is no reason to hire this guy except for the fact there is real labor problems brewing on both sides with this acquisition. Not as bad as other places especially there counterparts in DFW but it can ugly pretty quickly if they don't address the problems. Can't suger coat that. My hope like you said is it brings in a real ops guy that can do some good. Not holding my breath.
 
mmedford
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:02 am

Quoting rickabone (Reply 12):
He did quite well for us as FAA administrator actually... Besides resolving the disputed imposed work rules with controllers and negotiating with us to compromise on a new contract, he enlisted the Union's help in moving several modernization projects forward allowing for subject matter experts to be in charge of many of the critical components of NEXTGEN such as ERAM, TAMR, new ground surveillance systems, a new training and screening program at the FAA academy etc... By enlisting the union's help they were able to suss out and solve problems that contractors like Lockheed, Raytheon, etc insisted didn't exist and weren't prepared to handle.

Which is all great on your side of the house; but TechOps will continue to be the bastard stepchild of the ATO. With issues that stemmed from the Blakey reign.
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usflyguy
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:45 am

Quoting rumorboy (Reply 2):

Please explain.

As I see it, with what Gary was given, he's doing a great job.
My post is my ideas and my opinions only, I do not represent the ideas or opinions of anyone else or company.
 
Mir
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:30 am

Quoting catiii (Reply 10):
By what metric are you judging his performance as Administrator?

The big thing that sticks out at me from a pilot standpoint is hearing him go on and on and on about how pilot professionalism was going down the drain and how we all had to make sure that we were always being responsible and uber-professional and all. And then he got caught driving drunk.

That didn't leave a very good impression on me.

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skycub
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:05 am

Quoting rumorboy (Reply 2):
Ya, maybe Babbit can do a better job with labor relations because Gary Kelly sure hasn'rt done much good around here.

  

Quoting 737tdi (Reply 13):

Well rumorboy, hows about we keep this kind of stuff in house. No reason not to.

Interestingly enough, this thread and rumorboy's post was almost buried in "yesterday's news" until you chose to comment on it and resurrect it.

As far as keeping it in house... I doubt that the folks who read this forum also avoid such forums as the flytertalk and airlinepilotcentral forums where the labor issues have been discussed. The issues facing WN are hardly an in-house secret to anyone who knows where to look for them. The fact that things are not hunky-dory-Herb-era-fantastic at Southwest is hardly a well-kept secret.

Quoting rumorboy (Reply 14):

I understand your point of view but there is no reason to hire this guy except for the fact there is real labor problems brewing on both sides with this acquisition. Not as bad as other places especially there counterparts in DFW but it can ugly pretty quickly if they don't address the problems. Can't suger coat that. My hope like you said is it brings in a real ops guy that can do some good. Not holding my breath.

Again....  

[Edited 2012-10-16 20:06:51]
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usflyguy
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:31 am

Quoting skycub (Reply 18):
The fact that things are not hunky-dory-Herb-era-fantastic at Southwest is hardly a well-kept secret.

Maybe that's why Herb left when he did... He probably knew all of the labor contracts he negotiated were unsustainable and he definitely wasn't going to be the bad guy to his "family".
My post is my ideas and my opinions only, I do not represent the ideas or opinions of anyone else or company.
 
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:17 am

Quoting usflyguy (Reply 19):
Maybe that's why Herb left when he did... He probably knew all of the labor contracts he negotiated were unsustainable and he definitely wasn't going to be the bad guy to his "family".

  Are you being serious? What, did you expect Herb to work forever?

By the way, I'm pretty sure all work groups have been through one or more contract negotiations with GK at this point.
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:37 am

Quoting mmedford (Reply 15):
Which is all great on your side of the house; but TechOps will continue to be the bastard stepchild of the ATO. With issues that stemmed from the Blakey reign.

Jeez when is TechOps not the bastard step child? I know I am sorry I ever became an A@P..A totally thankless career.
 
skycub
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:41 am

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 20):
What, did you expect Herb to work forever?

The employees of Southwest could have only wished. (And I truly mean that in the nicest and most respectful possible way.)
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:14 am

Normally the trend.....using the expertise & getting the best for the company  
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rumorboy
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:22 pm

By the way, I truly believe what Gary Kelly is trying to do with the company is to be in the best possible position to grow. I think 737MAX, 737-800's, retiring the classics, keeping the balance sheet as low as possible as far as leverage goes, buying Airtran and getting rid of the 717 is all good in the long term. Short term, not so good. The vision that he is laying out is good. The execution though is nothing short of disastrous.

This is not Herbs airline anymore. This is a mature airline with mature costs and mature problems. That's part of any business, not just airlines. If you think if Herb was here and everything would just be alright, that's fantasy. 650 plus airplanes, 3000 flights a day and 45,000 employees is a lot to manage. Trying to keep costs a bay is a tall order. Especially when the airline hasn't grown airframes in a few years. The trick is to try to get the employees to help steer the ship into the future. That means making changes that although have worked well in the past, can be done better and more efficient in other ways. Its even harder when you have been/are the most profitable airline in history. Tall order for any CEO, whether its GK or HK.
 
ouboy79
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:13 pm

Quoting rumorboy (Reply 24):
By the way, I truly believe what Gary Kelly is trying to do with the company is to be in the best possible position to grow. I think 737MAX, 737-800's, retiring the classics, keeping the balance sheet as low as possible as far as leverage goes, buying Airtran and getting rid of the 717 is all good in the long term. Short term, not so good. The vision that he is laying out is good. The execution though is nothing short of disastrous.

Could things have been executed better? Definitely. Is it a disaster right now? Not really. A lot of what I see is a company in need to finally reinvesting the cash it has to bring things up to do. The company has done all it can domestically for the most part. Modifying the business plan to work with cities under 10 flights a day is going to be a change, but I think can work. The AirTran acquisition, to me, was more about competition elimination and getting some breathing room than getting assets. Sure ATL is nice and so are all the int'l experiences. I do wish we would have kept the business class idea though for the front of the aircraft for the Business Select folks.

At the end of the day we have a very senior company with a lot of topped out employees that really do love the company, but are also one of the biggest pressures on the bottom line. The company will never layoff, but they've been able to reduce seniority levels before and I wouldn't be shocked if we see that next year. 2013 is proving to be extremely interesting.
 
rumorboy
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:52 am

Quoting ouboy79 (Reply 25):
Could things have been executed better? Definitely. Is it a disaster right now? Not really

Well, you don't hire Randy Babbit because times are good on the labor front. Rampers filed for federal mediation. SWAPA voted not to represent Airtran pilots for the moment. They were suppose have single representation after SOC per the SIA but because ALPA has filed a DR case against the company that opens up a can of worms, especially if it goes to arbitration. F/A's passed there SIA by a slim margin. Then voted down a LOA for International/red eye stuff. Then passed it by a slim margin. Dispatchers went to arbitration. MX voted down there first agreement. By the way this was negotiated not only between the different unions of SWA/FL but management had a hand in it and played a active roll in negotiations. Then IAM came to agreement on there own with no input from management as far as an SIA and that really sent off a fire storm(they did DOH). Most other labor groups on the Airtran side lost between 3-4 years seniority on average).So I think on the labor front things are instead of disastrous I will use the word "challenging".

As far as finances go not much really to say. Very low amount of total debt(they could right a check for it tomorrow if they wanted to). No pensions, and IMO and more importantly the most productive workers in the industry in practically every department. Lots of flexibility on that side. Which is great. Like I said in the above post I think for the most part GK is positioning airline very well for the future but the execution of it is pretty awful. Over two years since the acquisition is announced still no code share. This whole process was to be finished by the 2014. They will be lucky if its done by mid 2015. Just my two cents.
 
GentFromAlaska
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RE: Southwest Hires Former FAA Administrator

Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:13 pm

Gary Kelly was interviewed by Fox Business News commentator Cheryl Casone in the 11:00 A-M hour CDT today (Thursday) The Babbit hire is mentioned

http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/19103...earnings/?playlist_id=933116624001
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