Flight Cancellations

maddogdriver said:
What's sick about sitting airplanes is that airlines have NEVER shrunk into profitability.......ask all your friends from TWA and Eastern. In fact, by shrinking the fleet, you instantly become more inefficient - unless more layoffs are around the corner.
I think American did in the early 90's and now.
Guys the parking of the 737's has been around for months. I just finished school on the 737 and during training in May they told us they were going to park some of the fleet and utilize the remaining 737's at a higher rate to make up for the "shortfall." It won't even result in any bumps for 737 pilots....
Here is the latest hotline (June 30) from our VP of Flight Operations ragarding manpower planning and the schedule intergrity.





Good afternoon. This is Captain Steve Forte on Wednesday, June 30. I’m calling from Denver, where I’m meeting today and tomorrow with the station leadership team as well as employees at the Flight Training Center and the domicile. I’m looking forward to those discussions.

Last Friday I told you about the changes we’re making to address the crew shortages that led to a spike in cancellations, primarily in the B737 fleet. Clearly, some of our flight crew planning assumptions were off. As I said last week, we simply can’t experience these types of pilot shortages. It’s not fair to our customers and it’s not fair to you.

The changes announced last week – which include moving hours to the Airbus in July and August and canceling all non-required training in the B737 fleet next month – should help mitigate this issue during the summer travel season, but they’re not enough for the long term. That’s why we’re making a number of fundamental changes to the ways we approach pilot scheduling.

First, yesterday we instituted a new Schedule Integrity Process in which our manpower planning and crew desk staff meet at 8:30 each morning – seven days a week – to review and, when necessary, adjust manpower requirements for the following days. These results are immediately shared with OPB to help ensure optimal schedules that utilize cancellations strategically and as infrequently as practical.
Second, we have made O’Hare Chief Pilot Captain Bob Jordan a permanent member of the System Schedule Committee – to monitor quality of work life issues and to provide us with an aggressive pilot check and balance on the schedule planning process. Effective immediately, Bob is also serving as Flight Ops’ representative on QWL issues. He will report directly to me and help identify additional ways to protect the work-life balance during this extremely hectic and competitive time.
And third, next week we will be launching an audit of crew staffing assumptions that will be conducted by a team representing pilots, the Crew Desk and DENTK Planning. They will report their results to me approximately two weeks after starting. I will share the outcomes with you, regardless of the findings. Incidentally, I have also invited ALPA to designate a pilot to serve on the audit team.
I know it’s tough out there and that so many of you are working more than ever to make sure United is at its most competitive. I wish I could tell you that things would be perfect tomorrow. They won’t be – this is an extremely busy season and we’re going to continue to be tight in several fleets. But there’s some relief on the horizon, as we’ll be parking a significant number of B737s in September and taking another three out of circulation for routine heavy maintenance visits.

I appreciate everything you are doing to keep things running as smoothly as possible – and I especially want to thank all the pilots, crew schedulers and others who have changed their personal plans to put in extra time. If there are additional things I can do to help us maintain our focus on safety, running an outstanding, competitive operation and providing exceptional service to our customers, please let me know.

In the meantime, fly safe and let’s keep running a great airline.
As far as the 737's and IAD are concerned they were intended to be available if UAL was unable to garner deals with other feeder carriers. Once we added SA,TSA,Republic and CHQ at IAD the need to keep the 737's was dealt with. As it stands now the 737 has far more airplanes than crews. That is to say the fleet utilization is lower than most of the other fleets. When the 20-30 737's are retired in the fall the other aircraft in the fleet will go to higher utilization rates and hopefully the block hours for the fleet and company wide will continue with a mild increase. Of course everything is on the table so who really knows?

Overall the loss of the 737's is not a major blow. The fleet will still be about 100 aircraft. With the FAA requiring all aircraft operating at high altitudes to be updated to RVSM (1000' vertical separation above FL280 versus current 2000') the cost of the retrofit and the continued mtc. made the 737's costly.

It will be interesting to see if these aircraft are picked up on the aftermarket.
I've heard 28 guppies will be retired in September, but no breakdown of -300's vs. -500's. It is RUMORED that the 737 fleet is being retired because it's been deemed too expensive to retrofit/fix the problems related to AD's about fuel boost pumps...