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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:41 pm

MEM - FX 3 Nights Of Significant Disruption

Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:24 am

While this is a fairly mundane topic for the majority of you I have been fascinated by the week FedEx has been happening almost entirely due to MEM's overnight sort and delays. This is the 3rd night in a row that the majority of aircraft have been significantly behind schedule, although tonight appears to be a step in the right direction.

I have been following daily operations of FX for a long time and there is not a time I can remember this type of disruption. Even the ATC controllers at my local airport (serviced by FX B752) were inquisitive asking the pilots what's going on? The pilot's reply conveyed the fatigue, frustration, and dedication the employees are all dealing with right now.

I just can't help but think what a mess this is, I'd hate to be a customer service agent explaining all day to angry people why their package has to go to Memphis first even if it is a step in the wrong direction.

Anybody else notice this disruption? It had been months since the daily AM arrival had even been delayed past 8:30 AM and yesterday it landed at 11 am. (Still had an overnight package in my hands by 12:30 which was impressive). FedEx speaks of contingencies and the like, what are they? And I don't mean potential/obvious ops changes such as pushing more to IND/OAK/EWR as they do not appear to be actually doing any of that.
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RE: MEM - FX 3 Nights Of Significant Disruption

Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:54 pm

I think it was a cumulative effect of crappy weather throughout the US plus the ice in Memphis. I'very followed this bit via Memphis Daily News and Memphis Business Journal and it looks like MEM worked their assets off on opening runways. Don't forget the ground transportation aspect of this as well. Those packages don't just appear at the airport magically. There has been major traffic issues as well.
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RE: MEM - FX 3 Nights Of Significant Disruption

Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:37 pm

It really was a snowball effect (no pun intended) from the weather back East. Bad weather caused stacking delays for markets inbound to MEM, then MEM itself was hit by a storm it was ill-prepared to handle. Remember, even if the airport itself remains operational, it still takes employees to function and when the storm hit, droves of hub employees called out or no-showed.

Then you have slews of flight crews timing out because of poor schedule planning, and it takes a bit of time to line up replacement crews. For instance one of our flights blocked out of MEM about five hours late, the crew went illegal while waiting in line to deice, they had to come back to blocks and switch crews. Sometimes there aren't any crews.

Yesterday Montana - the entire state - received no overnight freight because there were no 757 crews available. Most markets saw cancellations or heavy delays 2/17 and 2/19. It looks to be pretty much back to normal now.
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:41 pm

RE: MEM - FX 3 Nights Of Significant Disruption

Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:48 pm

I totally am behind those working for MEM that provided overnight services in support of FedEx who I also am supportive of. No negative or hostility behind my post - just a genuine high level of surprise at ripple effect of disruption. I can only imagine how terrible it has been for a small station like mine the last three days when the freight either doesn't come at all only arrives wheels down at 11 am. The rush to sort all of the freight on top of dealing with angry customers who likely have been saying terrible things to them personally over a situation 100% out of their hands.

Today the aircraft hasn't even made it here from Memphis yet.

Yesterday it was at 10:30 am.

The day before it didn't come at all.

Then you go back the previous 3 months and it is nothing but 8 am arrivals. That is the part that really led me to make this post as I was hoping to have others share their experiences. The pilots have had it in their voice, FedEx staff have, the drivers too this week. Brings up a lot of questions to me, such as do the pilots time out in the same way flying self loading freight? Because the aircraft that came in at 10:30 yesterday had one of the pilots sounding so fatigued it was if they had been flying that bird since the first inbounds to MEM 15 hours prior. Is this possible? Like BTV-SYR-EWR-MEM-EWR-SYR-BTV in one night? I have a feeling that the SYR-BTV leg today may have had the pilots time out as its still the ground and the MEM-SYR flight was on the ground at a reasonable 8 or so. Usually an hour turn time there.

I love the logistics of overnight cargo. This week has been like nothing I have seen before. I wonder about the extra efforts and just was hoping others had noticed the same for their local service. You don't need to defend MEM/FX to me, I am doing plenty of that myself (Twitter is a warzone for the poor company right now). That wasn't the emotional source of my post.

edit: Sorry HP - I somehow missed your post which touches on some details that I was interested in. Thank you very much for sharing. I bet that is the reason for the SYR-BTV flight (#1958) still in SYR. At this point it likely won't be completing that leg for today at all (although yesterday surprised me) with it almost being noon by now.

[Edited 2015-02-19 08:53:37]
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:41 pm

RE: MEM - FX 3 Nights Of Significant Disruption

Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:55 pm

I just went and looked at the flights made by that B752 in SYR last night. Talk about a lot of hurry up and waiting! Started IND-DFW at 1800. Left DFW-EWR at 2300. Left EWR-SYR at 4:30. Supposed to fly SYR-BTV at 10:30. The boredom potential seems quite extreme there for these short legs in larger aircraft.

Heh, what a surprise. FDX1958 wheels up at 12:08 just about to land here in BTV to finish out the day. I am going to assume it is the same crew (unless one flew in with the MEM A306) and think this might be one of their worst days at work. Especially because they have to land in 1 1/4 mile visibility with snow.

[Edited 2015-02-19 09:18:13]

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