Haven't heard it, but it wouldn't surprise me. Suffice it to say that the company is presently looking HARD at any department/job functions that can be done more efficiently and/or cheaper. Not surprising considering our situation.
I remember when I was at TWA, we eliminated our Meteorolgy department around the end of 1997 and then got our meteorology forecasts from a subscriber service.
[BLOCKQUOTE][BR]----------------[BR]On 11/19/2002 7:38:05 PM CATIIIC wrote:
[P]I heard that AA and DL have eliminated their weather departments. Anybody know anything about them?? I also hear that UA's weather department is on the chopping block. Any truth to this?? [/P]----------------[/BLOCKQUOTE]
[P]In this age of readily available, real-time information, how necessary is a weather department? If dispatch has the weather information available from a source like DUATS or the FAA, shouldn't that be sufficient?[BR][BR]I hate to see anyone lose their jobs because of these cutbacks, but it doesn't make sense to operate a department if it's not necessary for the operation.[BR][/P]
As a user of the UAL met dept. I can say they do a pretty good job. The only thing that is lacking would be better turbulence forecast. I know NW has a very good program and they never really seem to have too many tbc. incidents. However, I agree that if this small dept. could be cut with outside vendors then every option should be looked at. We have lost so many other jobs to outsourcing I would not think anything is protected.
On another note, I was talking with another pilot that had been a pilot instructor at DENTK. My questions to him were about some of the projects that have been created over the years at TK. One in particular is called the TAP (Total Airline Pilot), to sum it up it took almost five years to develop a course which was to be a replacement for experience. The stated goal was to ensure captains utilized all resources to make sound safety and business decisions as it pertained to initial captain qualification. Hundreds of people were involved in course development, the captains were sent to a 4 day class at some resort in DEN to learn the program and they were sent to WHQ, their own flight office and other locations during their first year as a captain to learn. I can not even imagine the cost associated with this program. It had only been up and running for about a year when 9/11 occured but we were doing a tremendous amount of training during that time. This program was instituted and I would be hard pressed to find a cost justification for it. There are many ways to ensure someone knows how to fly the line and spending all that money does not really seem like the way to do it.
This was just one of many special projects that were wasted at the training center. The former instructor said waste was something he wrestled with during his 2-1/2 years there. Hopefully, this along with everything else is being looked at better ways can be found to spend our few dollars we have left.
I've been sitting on this one, but since someone else brought it up.... this info is from a VERY reliable source.
The word I've heard is that AA and DL are going to perform a unique Corporate transaction (to coin a phrase )with their weather ops in combination with a private company. They are basically going to close each airline's weather shop and relocate them to a new startup under this company in Norman, OK. This company was looking to get into the aviation weather business, but didn't have the people; AA and Delta wanted to have the weather information and had the people, but needed to reduce the costs to the airline. Voila! So the three companies win, and the only losers are the meteorologists at AA and DL who get to decide if they want to relocate to beautiful downtown Norman...
But what about the Union you say? Well, AA was pretty slick there. This is apparently the deal they were offered: If you want to continue your union job, they can't get rid of you under the contract. But the office is being relocated to Norman, so you would have to work there. And, as soon as that contract protection goes away (President Shrub declares war and force majeure goes into effect, the contract gets renegotiated, etc.), you are gone POOF. OR, you can APPLY to this brand-new startup and get in on the ground floor. Only problem? More bodies than jobs...[img src='http://www.usaviation.com/idealbb/images/smilies/14.gif']
And to answer the comment about weather information on the Internet, just try to get any sort of real-time info, or get someone to let you know if a plane will encounter icing between X point and Y point, because if it doesn't you don't have to switch out equipment on an anti-ice MEL. Ask a dispatcher ar AA/DL/UA/NW how valuable their weather departments are.
This will be a bad move on the airlines part. NW arguably has the best weather department. Their record on turbulence is also one of the best. The two are very much linked. I am not familiar with AA's department, but I would be very suprised if DL decides to go this route. Yes, weather information is readily available today, but the people using this data must be skilled meteorologists that know what isssues are important for smooth flight operations.