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AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Fri Sep 10, 2004 6:00 am

This was just released, following an internal conference call:

SEATTLE -- As part of an ongoing effort to improve its competitive standing in the post-9/11 airline industry, Alaska Airlines today announced a wide-ranging series of initiatives to streamline operations and enhance the carrier’s long-term viability. It comes on the heels of a management reorganization that started last month.

Counting the management reductions, Alaska will be trimming nearly 900 of its more than 11,000 employees. The collective savings is projected at between $30 million and $35 million per year.

In many ways, Alaska is following an industry trend accelerated by the rise of low-cost carriers: contracting out some of the work that up to now has been accomplished in house.

“The permanent and dramatic changes in our industry have forced us to put aside notions about how we’ve historically operated and to consider all alternatives to improve our competitiveness,” said CEO Bill Ayer. “The goal is first to make sure that we survive, and then to emerge from the most difficult period in the history of commercial aviation as one of the highest performing airlines.”

“Since 9/11, we’ve worked hard and taken great pride in our ability to reduce costs without impacting people,” Ayer added. “We’ve done this by implementing more than $150 million per year in non-job related savings, found largely through process improvements and technological advancements, plus opportunistic growth into new markets. Unfortunately, changes in the competitive and economic climate have continued at a rapid pace, requiring us to take even stronger measures to secure our future.”

Here are the major changes:

· Immediately closing the Oakland heavy maintenance base, which employs 340 people, and contracting out all heavy maintenance needs to Goodrich Aviation Technical Services of Everett, Wash. and AAR Aircraft Services of Oklahoma City, Okla. – two firms the airline already uses for about 60 percent of its heavy maintenance work. Contracting for heavy maintenance is a practice employed in varying degrees by all of the nation’s major airlines. “Our Oakland mechanics are highly talented and have made great strides over the past years by implementing new systems and processes,” said Ayer. “They did their work very well. But the sobering reality is that large-scale maintenance providers can give us the same excellent quality at a lower cost.”

· Contracting for all fleet service functions -- the cleaning of aircraft interiors between flights -- in Seattle, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. The number of people impacted is 273, the vast majority in Seattle (158) and Anchorage (93). Twelve more are in Juneau and 10 are in Fairbanks.

· Closing ground support equipment and certain facilities maintenance operations and hiring contractors to perform the work. “This is no reflection on our people or their work. It’s a question of cost,” Ayer said. This decision affects 60 facilities employees and auto mechanics at 10 stations (Seattle 30, Anchorage 14, Oakland two, Fairbanks two, Juneau two and one each in Portland, Ketchikan, Sitka, Nome, Kotzebue and Barrow).

· Taking advantage of the respective strengths of Alaska and sister carrier Horizon Air through greater sharing and shouldering of services where it makes sense. Some of that will be behind the scenes with increased collaboration in planning and accounting. And some of it will be more visible. All customer service work in Spokane will be taken over by Horizon and, in turn, Alaska will assume all of Horizon’s ticket counter work in Portland. These changes affect 30 Alaska employees in Spokane and 21 Horizon employees in Portland.

· With just one flight per day in Tucson, Alaska will contract with a third-party to fill customer service needs there. Thirteen employees will be displaced as a result. Alaska also is making significant changes in how it operates at Prudhoe Bay, triggering five layoffs there and a cut in hours for the remaining 15 people.

· Closing three city ticket offices -- in Juneau, Anchorage and Bellevue. This will displace nine customer service agents.

· Closing the four-person pilot crew scheduling office in Los Angeles and consolidating the work at a larger scheduling office in Seattle.
“While the guiding principles for these decisions are to maintain high quality at a lower cost, our values of integrity and caring guide us on how we treat people leaving the company,” Ayer said.

For those employees impacted, Alaska has talked with union leadership about the possibility of offering one of the most generous financial and job-finding assistance packages the industry has seen since 9/11 triggered more than 100,000 layoffs at other carriers. Alaska has offered an attractive voluntary severance incentive to employees in the most-affected work groups in the hopes of minimizing involuntary departures by creating openings elsewhere in the system.

Ayer said Alaska will continue to look at every possible way to improve its cost structure and competitive standing. The aim, he said, is to be an airline where jobs and retirements are secure and career advancement opportunities abound, as well as an airline that provides great value for customers and a solid return for shareholders. And all of that will only be possible if we complete our transformation and are able to weatherproof ourselves from the inevitable ups and downs of the economy.”

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
azjubilee
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Fri Sep 10, 2004 6:05 am

Contract maintenance DOES not equal better quality and it certainly does not equal cheaper operations. Look at Mesaba - costs are up 11.5% for contract maintenance. Thank goodness we're ditching TIMCO.

As far as contracting other work... it's too bad to see. Because contrat cleaners, rampers etc... are never etter than the airlines own folks. When are ocmpanies going to learn this? When are companies going to realize you pay for what you get!!??

Best of luck to all the AS employees affected.


AZJ
 
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Fri Sep 10, 2004 6:21 am

It's a shame to see these changes occur. I'm certain that those employees who are affected will see a generous financial package. AS has already begun a wide-spread voluntary severance program for management personnel, aimed at reducing their ranks by approximately 10%.

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Fri Sep 10, 2004 6:25 am

FWIW, here is the personal letter to all AS employees sent out by CEO Bill Ayer:

From: Bill Ayer
To: All Alaska Employees
Date: September 9, 2004

What has set Alaska Airlines apart over the years is the fact that we’re not just a business; we’re a close-knit community of friends and associates. That’s why the changes I’m announcing today are so painful.

Our commitment to secure the future of Alaska Airlines – to first ensure our survival and then return us to a position of strength in this permanently changed industry – has forced us to make some very tough decisions. These decisions, like the decision to reduce our management ranks, will have a profound impact on you and your colleagues.

Today we’re announcing a wide range of initiatives that will enhance our long-term viability. The human cost of that progress, though, is very high.

Here are the major changes:

· Closing our Oakland maintenance base. Starting today, we’ll be contracting out all of our remaining heavy maintenance work. Contracting all heavy maintenance is a practice employed by a growing list of airlines and by virtually all low-cost carriers. Our Oakland mechanics are highly talented and have made great strides over the past years by implementing new systems and processes. But the sobering reality is that large-scale maintenance providers can give us the same excellent quality at a lower cost. The number of people affected is 340.

· Contracting all of our fleet service functions – the cleaning of aircraft interiors between flights – in Seattle, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. As with heavy maintenance, the simple fact is that, despite great people, we can maintain quality at a much lower cost by going to a vendor. The number of people impacted is 273.

· Closing our GSE (ground support equipment) operations and subcontracting the work. This is no reflection on our people or their work. It’s a question of cost. This decision affects 47 employees at 10 stations, the vast majority of them located in Seattle and Anchorage. Also, we’ll be contracting out our facilities work, affecting 13 people in several cities.

· Taking advantage of the respective strengths of Alaska and Horizon through greater sharing of services where it makes sense. Some of that will be behind the scenes with increased collaboration in planning and finance. Some of it will be more visible. We’re turning over all customer service positions in Spokane to Horizon and, in turn, taking over all of Horizon’s counter work in Portland. These changes affect 30 Alaska employees in Spokane and 21 Horizon employees in Portland.

· With just one flight per day now in Tucson, we’ll contract with a third-party to fill our customer service needs there. Thirteen employees will be displaced as a result. We’re also making significant changes in how we operate in Prudhoe Bay, triggering five layoffs there and a cut in hours for the remaining 15 people.

· Closing three more city ticket offices – in Juneau, Anchorage and Bellevue. This will affect 10 customer service employees.

· Closing the four-person pilot crew scheduling office in Los Angeles and consolidating their work with the scheduling office in Seattle.

As most of you know, we’re also in the midst of reorganizing our management structure. At least 150 positions will be eliminated. All of these positions are in the process of being identified and voluntary severances or involuntary layoffs are underway, and will be completed this fall.
Those reductions, coupled with these announced today, mean that approximately 900 of our friends and colleagues are losing their jobs or, at best, will have to relocate. Dozens more will be disrupted through the ripple effect of seniority bumping.

I’ve concluded that the only thing worse than doing these things is not doing them. The airline industry is full of examples of inaction, with an eventual devastating toll on huge numbers of employees. We must make changes now to avoid those types of drastic actions later.

For three years, since 9/11, we’ve worked hard and taken great pride in our ability to keep everyone together. We were very hopeful that we could achieve the necessary cost reductions without impacting people. We’ve implemented more than $150 million per year in non-job-related savings, found largely through process improvements and technological advancements, plus opportunistic growth into new markets. Unfortunately, changes in the competitive and economic climate have continued at a rapid pace, requiring us to take even stronger measures to secure our future.

Over the last couple of years I’ve talked about how important it is that we confront the “brutal facts.” Here is one of the most brutal: About 70 percent of this industry either has, is on the verge of having, or is moving in the direction of a low cost structure. Here’s another one: Despite three years of impressive progress, Alaska Airlines remains one of the highest cost carriers in the industry. And despite record-setting traffic and industry-leading unit revenue improvement, 2004 is shaping up to be less than stellar.

In short, we cannot rest if we’re going to turn things around. The major airlines are restructuring in dramatic ways (both in and out of bankruptcy) and the low-cost carriers are becoming increasingly strong and aggressive. These changes have forced us to put aside notions about how we’ve historically operated and to consider all alternatives for improving our competitiveness. Failure to take control of our destiny not only precludes us from growing, but invites competitors to cherry pick our markets. In fact, our routes are now among the higher yield markets in the country, and we know that new competitors are looking in our direction. The goal is to first make sure that we survive, and then to work to emerge from this – the most difficult period in the history of commercial aviation – as a high-performing company.

Coupled with changes in management staffing, the actions announced today will produce $30-35 million in permanent, annual cost savings. Added to the $150 million in annual savings we’ve already achieved, we’re now nearly 60 percent of the way toward our goal of $307 million in annual savings by the end of 2005.

While the guiding principles for these decisions are to maintain high quality at a lower cost, our values of integrity and caring guide us on how we treat people leaving the company. We’re talking with union leadership about offering the most generous financial and job-finding assistance packages our industry has seen since 9/11 triggered more than 100,000 layoffs at other carriers. We’re also offering, pending union approval, an attractive voluntary severance incentive for high-seniority employees in our AMFA and our two IAM work groups – the three groups most affected by the actions announced today – in the hope we can minimize involuntary departures by creating openings elsewhere in the system.

Looking ahead, there are two pressing questions that many of you probably have:

1) Will more layoffs be coming?
2) Will these moves negate the need for market rate adjustments in pay and benefits for employees?

In regard to layoffs, I wish I could say with certainty that no more are coming. But I can’t. That doesn’t mean anything is imminent. It’s simply a reflection of how fast the industry is changing and how we must continue to analyze everything we do to ensure a successful outcome.

The second question – will these moves negate the need for market rate adjustments in pay and benefits for employees? – can be answered succinctly: No. Where wages, benefits and work rules are out of line with the industry, we need to correct them. To have a competitive business, we have to be aligned with the marketplace.

My goal for us is to deliver on the Alaska 2010 vision outlined a year ago: An airline where jobs and retirements are secure and career advancement opportunities abound, as well as an airline that provides great value for customers and a solid return for shareholders. And all of that will only be possible if we complete our transformation, return to profitability, and weatherproof ourselves from the inevitable ups and downs of the economy.

That’s the Alaska Airlines I know we all want. Getting there, however, cannot be done without change. In some cases, as today illustrates, change must be dramatic.

For those of you who won’t be continuing the journey, I thank you for your contributions and your years of dedicated service. I wish things were different.

For the rest of the team, I’d like to leave you with a comment I made when we unveiled Alaska 2010 last summer. I said at the time that change isn’t easy, but if we work together and remain flexible, we’ll share in a very bright future. I believed it then and I believe it now.

Bill

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Fri Sep 10, 2004 6:34 am

Given the circumstances, that is a very well-written letter -- open, honest and human.
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Fri Sep 10, 2004 10:27 am

One other thing not mentioned is that Alaska's res centers will no longer be available 24/7. They won't be accepting calls between the hours of midnight and 6:00am, Pacific Time. This was announced about a month ago, however.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
tcttx
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Fri Sep 10, 2004 11:08 am

6am Pacific? Wow, now that AS flies from some East Coast points, callers from those cities won't reach AS res until 9am Eastern Time?
 
LineMechQX
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Fri Sep 10, 2004 11:27 am

I don't buy the human story at all, from the first day Ayer took his position he's been wanting to lay off people. I assure you as long as he stays in control of the company and group, more lay offs will come. In the first letter he wrote to the employees he mentioned what had never been even discussed before, layoffs. Saving a couple bucks by switching to second class outsourced maintenance will not be a good choice in the long run. My anger right now is beyond words. How long till he decides line mtx should be outsourced as well. Alaska is not an oversized legacy carrier with out of control unions. Its a decently well maintained west coast carrier with strong unity. Doing considerably well given the current economy, especially considering its biggest hubs are based in the states with the highest unemployment. Soon, once the bush administration is gone, things will begin to look better again, and this will look like a mistake. A mistake that broke the unity, and put fear into every worker in the Alaska air group. A mistake that will begin to cost more as line mtx and cancellation costs will rise on aircraft returning from heavy mtx. A mistake that will be obvious inside every aircraft poorly cleaned by a disheartened underpayed contract cleaner. You know its interesting how easy it is for these big dogs, to screw over the blue collar guy. Seems almost every week at Horizon our management is "restructured" which always ends up with another management position or two being created. Talk about top heavy, maybe mtx would be a little more economical if we had a few less people overmanaging and a few more of them with tools out. Mr Ayer, I hope you and your family sleep well tonight, your million dollar bonus will come soon, your job will be there for you tomorrow, or whenever you get off your next vacation, sleep well, your plush retirement is waiting for you.
 
Lono
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Fri Sep 10, 2004 12:55 pm

Outsourcing and sub contracting work performed by loyal employees is a very bad thing.... It shows the loyal employees that any one of them can be replaced and it tells the loyal employees exactly what management thinks of them... BAH!... Its a morale buster for sure..
Wally Bird Ruled the Skys!
 
USAIRWAYS321
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Fri Sep 10, 2004 1:05 pm

This announcement is a big bummer. My uncle is in fleet services at SEA and is being shown the door after 23 years at Alaska. He's trying to find another position in the company, but it's not looking good.
 
dash8tech
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Fri Sep 10, 2004 11:43 pm

LineMechQX

I hope you went to your all-employee meeting this morning and expressed those concerns in the oppurtunity given to you, that's what it was designed for.

[Edited 2004-09-10 16:49:10]
 
as739x
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 12:27 am

LineMX,

Are you on the PDX line? I know things are getting really shaken up down here at SFO. I just got a call at 8:00am this morning about my office (Ops) and the little shuffle taken place. My co-worker who called me said that mx was just turning upside-down. Its a real bummer. One of my best friends in mx, his dad is a Oakland Sup.So I am going to get a little more information on Sunday. Hope all the best for you guys up there.

ASSFO
"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
 
LineMechQX
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 1:03 am

Yes I went to my all mtx meeting. And yes we all got the answers we expected. We all got the avoidance of the question, of whether we at QX would receive more then 30 mins notice that we had lost our jobs. We were told that our heavy mtx has made much improvement, the same praise was also given to Oakland Heavy mtx. We were given a whole lotta "we don't plan to lay off in the NEAR FUTURE" type of answers. Its a sad day when I have to worry everyday I show up to work that they'll be a notice on the door, explaining when and where I can pick up my tools and my last paycheck. Or working for a company who's upper management tells you they haven't actually gotten around to crunching numbers on whether or not our heavy mtx is more expensive in-house then outsourced. Maybe I'm too new to the aviation industry to understand this is what aviation employees have gone through for years. But I think it stinks. My best wishes to all displaced Alaska Employees, we're feeling your pain at Horizon, especially in mtx. Good Luck to you all. Wherever you end up.
Late
PS Yeah As739x, I work base line mtx, at the pdx hangar.
 
dash8tech
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 1:04 am

ASSFO, LineMech is with us on the Horizon side and nothing is affecting us in MTX right now. There's been some MTX dept restructuring but that's all been at Manager and Director level. These are uncertain times though, not the best atmosphere to work in to say the least.

I was down in SFO on Sunday by the way, forgot to tell you we were coming but it was just a quick day trip.
 
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 1:09 am

FWIW - the voluntary separation incentive program that management opened up was expected to field approximately 150 applicants systemwide.

They had over 320 apply.

Granted, the package is more than generous - two weeks' pay for every year of service with the company, health and flight benefits, etc - but at least they're looking at trimming the fat in management.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
flyboyaz
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 1:13 am

Anyone know who will service their flight in TUS? Maybe F9 since they use Horizon as their express carrier.......
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matthewroy
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 2:43 am

I guess there are no plans for anymore QX flights out of Tucson? Is the one AS flight a day to SEA doing well? Do they operate more in the winter?
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stirling
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 3:04 am

I am wondering what the OAKMX base contributes to the local economy?
Cities and Counties in California aggressively compete for keeping/attracting businesses by offering various packaged incentives.

Did talks ever occur between any AS people and the local government taxing agencies?

I find it hard to believe that The Port, City, County, hell even the state, couldn't have done something. But I guess they're in their own hell.

Hope this is the last of the bad-news for the Alaska-Horizon Group.
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acidradio
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 4:34 am

AZJ -

When did XJ decide to ditch Timco? I haven't worked at XJ for a while now, so I'm kind of out of the loop. I remember some of the first Avros coming back from them. MSP Line MX had to clean up all the problems these airplanes had. One I remember had engine vibrations and I think rudder issues! Good cost savings, right? I wouldn't be surprised if there were some kickbacks for that contract  Big grin
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hemispheres
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 4:54 am

Will any of these changes affect QX operations out of FCA ?
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dash8tech
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 6:48 am

Will any of these changes affect QX operations out of FCA ?

No, none of our (Horizon) flight-type 'operations' are affected by any of this.
 
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 5:37 pm

The questions I have basically are what led to all of this all of a sudden? Wasn't AS doing very well since 9/11? I thought that AS was on track with their Alaska 2010 plan...whatever happened to that plan? I would love to see the State of Washington force AS to open their books to find out whats really going on. Something is fishy here....and I dont know what it is. As an ex-AS employee...my heart still lives with AS. But now, I dont know. What the heck is going on at AS really?!?!

I have to agree with LineMechQX about Ayer. I feel that Ayer is not the right man to be leading AS at all. When John F. Kelly left, I was very surprised by his departure. He was a great CEO to lead AS and I wished he could have continued on. Had Kelly remained the CEO, AS probably wouldnt be doing this right now. It was Ayer's sole goal to lay people off...he doesnt care about anyone but his own job and thats it. I personally wouldnt give Ayer the time of day if he even asked me. Just a disgusting move by Ayer....
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
L-188
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sat Sep 11, 2004 5:40 pm

Over Alaska's history good management has been the exception not the rule.

Just read up on their pre-75 history to see what I am talking about.
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Lono
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:18 pm

So the Alaska 2010 plan included growth yes???
If they are laying off employees... Doesn't that mean that growth will be difficult at best... And therefore the Alaska 2010 plan will not happen??
And
Doesn't this mean that a new plan will be needed..??
Wally Bird Ruled the Skys!
 
AirframeAS
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sun Sep 12, 2004 2:38 pm

I agree that the Alaska 2010 plan was ment for AS to GROW. It never mentioned anything about the possibility of laying off employees now or the near/distant future. I think the Alaska 2010 thing is probably a dead issue now....IMO. The problem is that Ayer thinks that the 2010 plan isnt working (when it was doing what it was set up to do...) and he's freaking out over nothing. Laying off 900 plus people defies the point to the Alaska 2010 program. Anyone agree with me??

Something went wrong and I dont know what it is. I think the folks at AS HQ knows more than they are letting in. I hope all the workgroup's unions sue the airline for this. This is unnecessary and unjustified. Hopefully the unions will do something to defend their members over stupidity such as this....
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
 
aeroman62
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:05 pm

IMHO, I suspect someone is trying to buy Alaska - these steps simply shine up the product for purchase, however I'm not sure who the suitor is - CO or NW would be good companions.
 
Lono
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Mon Sep 13, 2004 4:50 am

I agree with Airframe AS that the Alaska 2010 is a dead issue ... laying off loyal employees defies the whole "work together" and we will grow plan...

Does anyone think Ayer is more than just a little concerned about Virgin America spooling up..???

AS has been in my opinion rather lucky these last few years... maybe luck is not the word but they have been able to take advantage of their competitions stupidity and in-actions.. while still being able to grow and keep their customers happy... but I think they have run out of growth areas as they are now stepping on the toes of their "partners"...
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RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

Mon Sep 13, 2004 5:05 am

Look, here's the deal:

Alaska 2010 was based solely on one thing - getting "market-based wages" for the pilots, and to a smaller extent, the flight attendants.

If they get those, Alaska Air Group will:

  • order more aircraft, particularly B-737-800s

  • increase their existing flying

  • add new cities, particularly in the East and Midwest


  • The growth is forecasted at 10% per year, with an additional 50 or more airframes on the property by 2010.


    HOWEVER - this is all based on the assumption that the company could get the pilots to negotiate lower pay. They see AA, CO, etc paying topped-out 737 and MD80 captains in the range of $150 to $160 per block hour and wonder why AS pays over $190 - equivalent to what those carriers pay topped out widebody captains.

    So we've got a standoff going on. The pilots refuse to budge until they see the company committing to future growth. The company refuses to commit to growth until the pilots budge.

    Both sides are being bullheaded and are gambling with thousands of lives in the process.

    "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

    Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
     
    737-990
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    RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

    Mon Sep 13, 2004 6:33 am

    To add to what EA CO AS said, the cuts have been made with maintenance and fleet services and other back side area's of the company. The front line part has for the most part not been touched. The company could still grow its fleet and add pilots, flight attendants and other front line personnel while still contracting out all heavy maintenance and fleet service duties. I only hope that a quick resolution to the pilot's contract can be reached by the end of the year, once that is in place we will know were we stand concerning future growth and the 2010 plan. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think we still have 2-4% growth rate planed for next year.
    Happiest is a man who has his vocation as a hobby
     
    AirframeAS
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    RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

    Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:42 pm

    Does anyone think Ayer is more than just a little concerned about Virgin America spooling up..???

    I dont know if this has anything to do with it. The idea of Virgin America actually starting up service in SFO has been pretty quiet in the past several months. I pretty much doubt that Ayer is scared of Virgin America...that is IF Virgin America does see the light of day.... But who knows.

    IMHO, I suspect someone is trying to buy Alaska...

    These rumors will NEVER end. Ive heard them all and its mostly about either NW or AA aquiring AS. Dont expect AS to be put up for sale. It wont happen, they are too profitable expecially in SEA and the State of Alaska.

    AS has been in my opinion rather lucky these last few years...

    They have REALLY pulled through since 9/11. Everyone pretty much contributed, not necessarly through union contracts but through improved customer service, on time arrivals within 15 mins, turn around times improved with TANGO, etc etc. Union contracts are a total different issue. I think the morale at AS has skyrocketed since 9/11 because the employees saw the cuts at other airlines and have strived to avoid this and worked harder. So yeah, I think you can say they are very, very, lucky.

    So we've got a standoff going on. The pilots refuse to budge until they see the company committing to future growth. The company refuses to commit to growth until the pilots budge.

    So are the pilots and AS still going through contract talks currently? Is this the latest status on the talks or what? What about the F/As? As far as seeing the company committing to future growth, this is not an overnight thing. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

    the cuts have been made with maintenance and fleet services and other back side area's of the company.

    With the cuts in the MX department....exactly how many mechanics are affected? I know the entire base check program is pretty much cut, but what about hangar line mechanics, flight line mechanics...graveyard shift mechanics? What percentage will be cut and left over? Will the entire fleet service cleaners be cut by 100%? I hadnt seen any stats on how AS will do these cuts, who will go and who will stay....

    As for the Alaska 2010...this program is DEAD now as far as Im concerned. It had the 'working together to grow' plan in place. All it took was one person to screw it up and that was Ayer. Ayer defies the point to anything AS stands for. He should be replaced by someone who cares more than the company itself and its employees too who make up a wonderful airline.

    Ayer doesn't care and doesn't give a damn!
    A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
     
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    RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

    Tue Sep 14, 2004 1:41 am

    Ayer doesn't care and doesn't give a damn!

    With all due respect, I have to wholeheartedly DISAGREE with you.

    Did Ayer have to keep all these jobs intact for three full years after 9/11 - when most airlines slashed and burned jobs? No.

    Did Ayer have to look at restructuring and downsizing management first? No.

    Did Ayer have to offer such generous severance packages and assistance to affected employees? No.


    If Bill Ayer and the other officers at Angle Lake didn't care, they'd have cut these positions LONG ago, when it was far easier to explain them and people were more sympathetic to management cutting the fat at airlines. They CERTAINLY wouldn't have cut from their own ranks first if they didn't care, and a non-caring CEO wouldn't have offered severance other than what is required under existing collective bargaining agreements.

    These are trying times for ALL air carriers, and the management at AS is intent on keeping this company as a viable, going concern. Unfortunately, some parts of the business had to be changed drastically to do this.

    No one ever wants to see job cuts - and yes, they suck - but I can guarantee you that Bill Ayer, Gregg Saretsky and the rest of senior management at AS looked at every way to avoid making these cuts.

    "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

    Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
     
    AirframeAS
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    RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

    Wed Sep 15, 2004 9:11 am

    With all due respect, I have to wholeheartedly DISAGREE with you.

    Thats okay...you have your opinions and I have mine. I dont like Ayer as much as you like him...so it seems. Still you are on my respected user list anyway and I'm keeping it that way  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

    but I can guarantee you that Bill Ayer, Gregg Saretsky and the rest of senior management at AS looked at every way to avoid making these cuts.

    If Im not mistaken, Saretsky isnt a upper level management employee, although he has an office at the AS HQ (Doesnt classify him as an officer..)
    he only runs the Alaska's World employee magazine. He only makes decisions on what goes into the paper and what doesnt. He is also a pretty good journalist if you ask me.

    As for cutting jobs, do you realize that they only cut positions in MAINTENANCE & ENGINEERING only? This includes the Fleet Service folks, who share a contract with the A&Ps. You should be very fortunate that your job as a ramp agent or CSA isnt affected....for now. (I dont know what workgroup you are in...)

    One last thing:
    Alaska 2010 was based solely on one thing - getting "market-based wages" for the pilots, and to a smaller extent, the flight attendants.
    and
    HOWEVER - this is all based on the assumption that the company could get the pilots to negotiate lower pay. They see AA, CO, etc paying topped-out 737 and MD80 captains in the range of $150 to $160 per block hour and wonder why AS pays over $190 - equivalent to what those carriers pay topped out widebody captains.

    So we've got a standoff going on. The pilots refuse to budge until they see the company committing to future growth. The company refuses to commit to growth until the pilots budge.


    Those two statements, IMO, pretty much means that if the pilots dont give the company concessions that it wants for whatever reasons, they have to cut somebody....and they 'blame' their mechanics and cut them as if it were the mechanics fault. I think that since the pilots 'refuse' or whatever ton contribute....THEY, the pilots, are the ones that should be cut because THEY are the ones that guzzle all the cash of all the workgroups involved. AS cut the wrong people at the wrong time and literally pissed off 900 families all because of greed and ignorance of both the pilots work group AND the company.

    Finally, but not least: outsource maintenance = less quality. The contractor or the company only sets a budget per plane and does the minimum work required. If you do it in house, the quality of work done is far ABOVE the maximum required. Ive heard the AS mechanics complain about the quality of work done when a plane comes out of a check completed by a contractor and the AS mechanics have to fix up the 'crappy' job on the next RON.

    EA CO AS, by the way.....I still respect your opinions so please dont take my opinions personally, they are not directed at you. So I come in PEACE!  Big thumbs up
    A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
     
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    RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

    Wed Sep 15, 2004 10:05 am

    If Im not mistaken, Saretsky isnt a upper level management employee

    Believe it or not, Gregg Saretsky is Executive Vice President of Marketing and Planning. He's about as "up there" as you can get, save for Bill. I think the guy you're thinking of (who runs Alaskasworld.com) is Don Conrard.

    And you're right, he's a pretty decent journalist.  Smile

    Those two statements, IMO, pretty much means that if the pilots dont give the company concessions that it wants for whatever reasons, they have to cut somebody....and they 'blame' their mechanics and cut them as if it were the mechanics fault. I think that since the pilots 'refuse' or whatever ton contribute....THEY, the pilots, are the ones that should be cut because THEY are the ones that guzzle all the cash of all the workgroups involved.

    I agree. Unfortunately, management has painted a giant bullseye on the pilots, the workgroup that typically reacts most negatively when targeted for paycuts or work rule improvements. But the bottom line is that they, unfortunately, are the workgroup that has the most disproportionate pay rates relative to the rest of the industry. For AS to remain competitive, that has to change somewhat - by around 25% or so, IMHO.

    I wish the pilots would look at the bigger picture, which is that their concessions now would mean more job opportunities for them later - adding 75 new planes to the fleet means doubling the staff for pilots, translating better lines to hold, better seniority protection, better vacation availability, etc.

    EA CO AS, by the way.....I still respect your opinions so please dont take my opinions personally, they are not directed at you.

    And I, yours. Heck, if I had more room on my RR list, you'd be on there. Believe me, we can have differing opinions and still respect each other!  Big thumbs up
    "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

    Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
     
    AirframeAS
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    RE: AS Announces Wide-ranging Changes

    Thu Sep 16, 2004 2:36 pm

    I think the guy you're thinking of (who runs Alaskasworld.com) is Don Conrard.

    Oops! My bad...got the wrong dude. I remember that name now...its been awhile since I picked up an Alaskas World issue.

    And you're right, he's a pretty decent journalist.

    Glad you agree....he does some really witty stuff in his columns. Ive enjoyed reading his stories.

    I wish the pilots would look at the bigger picture, which is that their concessions now would mean more job opportunities for them later...

    Yeah the only problem is that they need thicker glasses to see through the dollar signs in order to see the big picture. All they see is dollar signs. Like I said in previous posts... The days of glitter and glam of being a high paid professional pilot: those days are OVER!!! Its time for pilots to make lifestyle changes and the 1960s/1970s are over. Time to move on!

    And I, yours. Heck, if I had more room on my RR list, you'd be on there. Believe me, we can have differing opinions and still respect each other!

    Send me a buddy/guest pass on AS and I'll fly up and treat you a dinner (or lunch of loads permit...) Hows that? LOL hehe  Big thumbs up
    A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.

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