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Re: US Regional Airlines after Coronavirus

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:57 pm
by KCaviator
eugdjinn wrote:
alasizon wrote:
Who are you proposing does all the E175 flying in CLT, DCA and PHL that YX does today? Those birds are owned by YX so you can't just shift them to MQ. No reason to think YX will contract by any large measure.


Right at the moment, with the Compass birds in conformity and entering the Envoy fleet and enough 140s being sent to another potentially several year 'rest' in Marana, MQ is looking at 100 or so of it's own and has the pilots to fly them. I think that's enough for MQ to do most if not all of the needed 175 work for those cities. But frankly, those cities are PSAs and PSA has 900s which are the same size. First, those routes should be flown by PSA 900s, and only when and where needed by MQ 175s bridged over from DFW and ORD. I still think YX should do NYC and until MQ can get overwater ops certified, they should do the MIA routes that require that.

As to ground handling: full disclosure, I spent ten years on the ground, and I am not a proponent of divorcing ground handling from the airline itself. We function best when we remember we are ONE team, doing one job, turning the aircraft and caring for our passengers. However, the trend in the regional world is to divorce these functions, and contract the ground handling to people like DGS, UGE, Worldwide Flight Services, Simplicity and the like. In general, they overpromise, underbid, and wind up costing a great deal more than the companies they replace. I watched Envoy do it too, and do it badly, replacing previously SkyWest handled stations. Frequently, the great savings is that they don't offer much by way of flight benefits to their employees.

DGS was created during the Delta/Northwest merger by taking the ground handling components of several of their regionals and putting them together under one management company, while moving the airline part from that company into another. United was so resistant to using any part of the Delta merger playbook that they resisted creating a ground handler for years until it became obvious that contracting their ground handling to their competitors was foolhardy, and they got religion.

I haven't been to Charlotte in months, but I was under the impression it was PSA run... I guess I was mistaken. I thought there were still PSA ground handled stations. And I know that Piedmont and Envoy both do ground handling. Some very well, some poorly. In the long run, having two arms of what is AAG bid against one another is a lose-lose proposition. And it's time to look at consolidating under whichever team is stronger, I think that may well be Piedmont. Let PSA fly the 200s where 50 seaters are needed in the cities that they operate, and Envoy fly 140/145s in theirs. Allow Piedmont pilots/FAs/mechanics to move to either. And merge all the ground handling into Piedmont by date of hire. See how much of the middle and upper management can be eliminated by a generous retirement out package now, and let's move on.

Finally, I would only add my two-cent observation about regionals that place their HQ in the same town as a major and what that does for talent in the HQ. It's a bad idea. No regional is going to be able to pay great dispatchers, parts clerks, maintenance people, HR, etc. on a level as a mainline carrier. When ASA had someone who was top-notch in Atlanta, they would inevitably walk down the street and get a job offer for twice the money at Delta. Funny how that does not happen in St. George, UT. Until people there decide they are mobile and will move, they stay put. With that in mind, if I were going to merge, say, CommutAir and ExpressJet for United, and wanted them conveniently located in the middle of the big United hubs... I'd be talking to the city fathers of St. Louis and Kansas City about tax breaks and hangar space/office space.


YX has 79 aircraft operating solely for AA, but you think MQ has the ability to do their current flying plus YX’s? Lol, okay...

Re: US Regional Airlines after Coronavirus

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 10:18 pm
by SkyLife
I think it’s pretty far fetched to see Mesa getting any additional flying from AA, their likely to lose half of their capacity agreement next year. Does anyone actually think AA is a fan of Mesa?! They’ve pulled all 6 of 6 airplanes per the contract. I doubt Mesa will be renewed honestly...

Re: US Regional Airlines after Coronavirus

Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:46 am
by crj900lr
SkyLife wrote:
I think it’s pretty far fetched to see Mesa getting any additional flying from AA, their likely to lose half of their capacity agreement next year. Does anyone actually think AA is a fan of Mesa?! They’ve pulled all 6 of 6 airplanes per the contract. I doubt Mesa will be renewed honestly...


Parker and Johnny O go way back, that's the main reason Mesa still is with AA, but now that things are changing it may be time to put that long friendship aside and do business like business should be done.

Re: US Regional Airlines after Coronavirus

Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 1:45 am
by alasizon
SkyLife wrote:
I think it’s pretty far fetched to see Mesa getting any additional flying from AA, their likely to lose half of their capacity agreement next year. Does anyone actually think AA is a fan of Mesa?! They’ve pulled all 6 of 6 airplanes per the contract. I doubt Mesa will be renewed honestly...


More than six have been pulled, just only six were converted to black tails. Not sure what the plan is for the three that were just pulled. Mesa unfortunately under delivers due to poor scheduling practices (mostly MX routing) and constant MX issues. The crews themselves (those that care and aren't burnt out) really do put in their best effort to keep things going and deliver a good experience. I would say it is all but guaranteed that their contract will not be renewed. Their large RJ scope space is quite valuable to AA for increased E175 operations in DFW & ORD and with the downturn in travel, a lot of their routes can now be just as easily served by CR7s.

eugdjinn wrote:
I haven't been to Charlotte in months, but I was under the impression it was PSA run... I guess I was mistaken. I thought there were still PSA ground handled stations. And I know that Piedmont and Envoy both do ground handling. Some very well, some poorly. In the long run, having two arms of what is AAG bid against one another is a lose-lose proposition. And it's time to look at consolidating under whichever team is stronger, I think that may well be Piedmont. Let PSA fly the 200s where 50 seaters are needed in the cities that they operate, and Envoy fly 140/145s in theirs. Allow Piedmont pilots/FAs/mechanics to move to either. And merge all the ground handling into Piedmont by date of hire. See how much of the middle and upper management can be eliminated by a generous retirement out package now, and let's move on.


Not sure what you think the gain is here. Having both Piedmont and Envoy ground handle in house actually provides a better value for AA when it comes to performance because it gives each motivation to do their best work. The Piedmont team (in my opinion) is the stronger of the two ground handlers but they got that way by only bidding on stations that they thought they could get the right leadership and right environment at. Throwing everything into one umbrella doesn't make a strong group just because the team is large.

CLT regional has been ground handled by Piedmont for at least 15+ years so likely what you thought was PSA employees were just Piedmont employees.

As far as merging the airlines, PSA just retired all their 200s and even if they hadn't, it isn't enough to backfill the 60 E145s that Piedmont has. Moving forward, PSA is operating the large CRJs for CLT, PHL & DCA (and a bit of ORD and DFW on flow-through via DAY, SAV and a few others), YX is operating the E175s back east, Piedmont is operating the 50-seat platform for BOS, PHL, CLT & DCA, Envoy is operating DFW, ORD and 50% of MIA (the JFK flying all originates from MIA. The back east strategy is actually pretty solid and where the are not the right available aircraft or aircraft time is where you see a carrier in a random spot (i.e. the Envoy flights in CLT). Most of the improvement will come from LAX, PHX, DFW & ORD reorganization and streamlining, not from merging wholly-owneds that do not need to be merged and the cost savings would take a long time to equal the up front costs.

I think you overestimate how much middle management there is in PSA and Piedmont; both are pretty lean. Envoy is the fat(ter) one and even then it isn't terrible.

eugdjinn wrote:
strfyr51 wrote:
the fly in your ointment is? Many of the larger regional airplanes like the [excision] boatload of CRJ550's and CRJ -700's are mainline OWNED!


Too, I think Republic owns more of the aircraft its flying than you think.

From what I recall, Republic owns all of their aircraft except a few E175s on the DL side.

Re: US Regional Airlines after Coronavirus

Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 2:07 am
by SkyLife
As a 121 pilot for a regional I will definitely say my airline is pretty lean. Not many tiers of management to consolidate. Nothing like my previous career where merging two facilities led to redundancies in supervisors, directors etc. Chief pilots at my airline are base specific, schedulers and dispatchers are probably relative to ratios of employees and airplanes. Maintenance is of course a ratio to airplanes and I’d argue AA is smart when letting each regional effectively be an expert on their particular airplane, Envoy - 175/145, PSA - CRJ200/700/900, Piedmont - 145. Outside of the C suite there are probably few redundancies. I’d also echo the locations of HQs are probably far cheaper places to operate, especially when local tax incentives are kicked in.

I think AA has a pretty good thing going in terms of wholly owneds. No issues staffing and the flow through is a carrot to continue that. To my knowledge the last CRJ has been made for PSA and delivered. Mitsubishi is apparently not interested in fulfilling any options. However I think when it’s all said and done finding second hand CRJs will no longer be an issue...