US Airways Wholly Owned Regionals

Wed Feb 07, 2001 3:40 am

Here's a question for the resident airline future prognosticators (DCA-ROCguy, I'm especially interested in your opinion!):

What do you feel will be the future of US Airways' wholly owned regional carriers, Piedmont, Allegheny and PSA? I am interested in any informed and educated opinions.

Here's my take. It's no great secret that United wants to retain the wholly owned carriers to boost their east coast feed. ACA has done well, but since they are not owned by United they have exhibited a flare for independance that is a touch disconcerting to UAL management. Goodwin's statements in the Feb 2nd edition of the WSJ makes it clear, I believe, that United has come to the conclusion that it has been a mistake not to own a (some) regional(s).

The problem is the Flight Attendent's union, AFA. Thier scope clause strictly prohibits any wholly owned regionals from using non UAL F/A's. It is possible for them to grant UAL a scope waiver, as the pilots would surely do as ALPA has done at every other airline.

So, I suppose the real question is what interest does UAL's AFA leadership have in blocking or granting the scope waiver? Is United truly interested in Piedmont, Allegheny and PSA? Or is Goodwin doing what airline managers do best... blowing smoke up everyone's kiesters!

Let me know what you think folks!
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Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2000 12:15 am

RE: US Airways Wholly Owned Regionals

Wed Feb 07, 2001 8:48 am

A buddy of mine is a dispatcher at Piedmont, and as far as his managers know, the future of the wholly owned carriers hasn't been decided yet. UAL would be smart to keep the wholly owned after the merger. The carriers consistently make money and have a lock on many of the smaller communities on the east coast. CLT especially benefits from the commuter activities there to some of the second tier cities in FL and in the Carolinas. I think that the AFA is more concerned about the integration of the seniority lists at the carriers and its effect on the members. The scope clause will be addressed by the pilots unions, and USAirs ALPA has done a great job for the mainline pilots as evidences by the absence of RJ's at US's wholly owned. Besides, would you rather sit on reserve in ORD and layover in LAX or NRT, or be a lineholder flying 6 legs on a Dash 8, with layovers in Elmira, New York?
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RE: US Airways Wholly Owned Regionals

Wed Feb 07, 2001 11:19 am

A few ideas -

1) ACA buys Piedmont and Allegheny.. runs hubs for UA/US at IAD, PHL, PIT, CLT, and ORD and remains a 3-type airline with the DHC-8s, 328Jets, and CRJs.

2) Midway buys Piedmont and uses the 8's for feed into RDU from locations that don't have the demand for the RJ - replacing the wonderful J-31s..

3) Piedmont and Allegheny merge and operate independently as a UA/US feeder into CLT, PHL, and PIT.

4) Great Lakes goes bye bye and the former US feeders start flying out of DEN and ORD.

5) The assets are liquidated and sold to other Dash-8 carriers (Air Ontario, Horizon, etc.)

I think the regional end is going to be the most fascinating part of this merger.. you've got the 8 or so USAirways Express carriers, ACA, Great Lakes, Air Wisconsin, and SkyWest and I'm not so sure there's room for everyone.
Ask why..
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RE: US Airways Wholly Owned Regionals

Wed Feb 07, 2001 2:06 pm

As a Piedmont employee (exusair, who's the dispatcher? I've probably talked to them), I have a very vested interest in this little topic. Everyone at my station has duly noted that the job guarantee for all US Airways employees announced when the merger was first introduced made no mention of any similar guarantee for the Express carriers, not even the wholly-owneds. As a result, we've all been waiting for the hammer to fall, and we think this announcement might be it.

I don't know about the other carriers, but the AFA also represents the Piedmont flight attendants. What worries us is that the AFA, looking out only for the flight attendants, might say that it sounds like a good deal to them letting the Express FA's get paid the same amount as the mainliners. In fact, Piedmont's flight attendants are threatening to strike specifically because they DON'T get paid the same rate as US's mainline FA's do. So they deny the request, saying that the Express FAs deserve that extra pay, and United management responds the only way it can, selling off the airlines.

At that point, our station is split on what would happen. The pessimistic ones see Kohflot's option number 2 as the most likely solution. The REALLY pessimistic ones see us becoming AirTran Express. I see something more like option 3. You get out of the AFA contract snag, and you're left with Piedmont/Allegheny executives who are still loyal to Mama United, and probably more than a bit thankful that they didn't get sold off to Midway or something.

The concern that looms larger for us though is this: At my airport, we have US Airways, United, and that Atlanta-based outfit that fancies itself an airline. US Airways and United are both exclusively Express-based; Piedmont for us, ACA for United. Post-merger, how do you handle this station? Piedmont is your wholly-owned (maybe) carrier, and you have more control over it. ACA, however, has the contract. Who stays, who goes? If they break it down station by station, we have ACA beat. We have more staff, more experience working more flights, etc. But if they make a blanket decision, one that says, "In the case where ACA and Piedmont both operate a station in an airport, ACA will retain control," well... that would bite a bit.

I sleep okay at night... but Piedmont recently took over the Express operation in the CLT hub, and I'm thinking of transfering there. Over the long haul, I might have better job security if I do.


Thu Feb 08, 2001 6:40 am

Hey golf, which station you work at?

I'm a pilot for piedmont, and it sounds like you are describing MCO or one of the southern stations. If so I'm sure we've met.

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