There are two big things in the way of EV
getting 175s and they are these:
Let's take them in reverse order.
ExpressJet is its own worst enemy. From top to bottom, ExpressJet cannot find the way forward. More than half the company is trapped in its past and is looking the wrong way. They are in no way one company with one mission and one bright future. Former ASA flight attendants fly the line with ASA wings to show their bitterness, Pilots, managers, etc refer to the CRJ side as ASA, and on the flip side, you hear endlessly about the incompetence in Atlanta. To add fuel to the fire, neither crew scheduling nor dispatch seem to be able to find their way to the bathroom without assistance for the last two months - releases are posted as late as ten minutes to departure, and both entities are unavailable by phone and openly hostile when they do answer. (And this is to people who are trying to help them get planes out on time and save them some embarrassment!)
That rolls downhill too, some pilots are true professionals and go out of their way to make things smooth. Some are really tall three-year olds. We have a cadre in Atlanta who consistently run their APUs to burn fuel then call Delta to say they were shorted (Um, listen up chuckleheads - we can show Delta how much fuel we left your aircraft with using DELTA's software) and force the fueler to return and hook up again to "top them off" instead of just asking the fueler to bump the fuel by 300lbs for APU burn on the ramp like grownups. Guess who gets the delay when that happens? You do. And guess who's off the clock while your door is open? Yes, you are, and the crew.
Legacy ASA FAs and Pilots have been holding out for years to maintain priveleges in their contracts that they believe are better than those in the Legacy XJet contract, but almost none of them have read the ExpressJet contract. It's amazing. Hey folks - it was modeled on CONTINENTAL MAINLINE. Really. It's far more generous than yours. You really need to read every line. You want that contract.
Collectively though, these things and the constant sniping have everyone inside either half focused on what was, not what COULD be. And they seem to be able to drown out the voice of new President Alex Marren who is trying to lead everyone toward a future as one company. If you cannot look forward, you cannot drive toward new aircraft, or earn them.
And the last and perhaps most damning problem inside of ExpressJet as it currently stands is that a large number of current middle management is a group of nice folk who grew up inside ASA and have found themselves in positions that are way over their heads. When the airline doubled, they drowned and noone noticed. They don't have college educations, they are doing their very best, but they're just over their heads, poor things. They need a graceful exit.
Now, that has a dangerous corollary at SkyWest, which is that any old degree from Dixie State College in St. George where being Mormon is enough to get you one, doesn't make you qualified for management. And yet, if you're male, and mormon, and have one, you get hired into OO
management to join the good ole boys there! Competence be darned. Ooh - and if you're a CPA that's even better!
has in the last seven years actively chased away what were shining stars that should have become its next round of great management. It started after Ron Reber left and picked up steam sharply with the first great loss of stations. In their place, OO
now relies on managers that devalue the employees. The problem is that its quite possible they may have sown the seeds for a successful unionization inside both their FAs and their pilots.
In the meantime, the anti-union sentiment in St. George may well be enough to keep them from being able to realistically evaluate any performance gains or capabilities in ExpressJet. And while they ignore that, they are pushing their own team way past breaking trying to do everything all at once, and all for less and less money.
There are a few signs of good moves, maybe. The combined entities are shifting to one massive Benefits dept, perhaps stupidly in St. George. I commend the realization that it should be in one place. I find the choice of St. George foolish. I think the talent pool in Salt Lake would have done better for all and been much, much wiser. And been more palatable politically. Too, the remnants of Atlanta and Houston teams might have considered the move.
It's time for the combined management of SkyWest Inc to sit down and lay out clear goals for ExpressJet that need meeting for them to get 175s. And then challenge ExpressJet to hit those targets in six months, and twelve months. Its clear that the industry is going to change and that EV
needs to do so to survive. Throw down the gauntlet.