Whats going on


Aug 21, 2002
Mainline is taking over express flt operations at the gate at the hubs as well as LGA BOA and DCA ..it was belived that the wholly owned would be in charge of the ramp operations..
But the other shoe has dropped and I have heard news from friends in PIT and CLT that the ramp work will be contracted out..at least there is a rumour at this time
I wondered if that is wise to contract for any operations from your HUBs
and most important cities. These workers are usually low paid and they seldom recieve any flight benefits this is a job to them so there is no pride ..of course this is not true about every contact worker.
But most importantly is a slap in the face of all the wholly owned workers. The best solution I see is just to merge all the wholly owned''s and re-align the managers.
PAWOB' numbers skyrocket....english to become the second language on ramp
This isn't an advocation of contracting out personnel, but merely an answer to your question.

Yes, I think it is a wise thing to contract out ramp operations at your hubs and largest cities IF doing so will dramatically lower your costs and root out staffing inefficiency. When you contract out services, you're paying a set fee that is negotiated with the third party. And it's going to be cheaper than doing it with your own people. The staffing inefficiencies would no longer exist as third party contractors employ many more part time workers that can compensate for non-peak hours of a hub operation. But the point is that the cost of any ineffiency is passed along to that third party contractor because the airline in question wouldn't be paying the fixed overhead costs. They'd only be paying for the ramp service functions. So the airlines clearly benefit.

Unless airline unions see the writing on the wall and agree to major work rule/pay/benefit changes, you're going to see an awful lot of outsourcing increases going forward. Again, I'm not necessarily advocating this, but it is becoming a reality. This industry will continue to suffer. And I believe the worst is yet before us, not behind us. Bankruptcy gives a company the ability to do things that they otherwise wouldn't be able to do, or would otherwise have difficulty doing. In the end, US Airways labor groups came around. They certainly didn't enjoy doing it. But they had the common sense to figure out that doing so was in their best interests. Will United's labor unions do the same thing? If they don't, UA will file Ch.11 and most assuredly attempt to shred inefficient and costly portions of labor contracts. If they're successful, it will put a lot more downward pressure on other airlines to do the same thing.

As hard as it is to accept, in this environment, labor's best chance for avoiding more outsourcing and job losses is to work with airline senior management voluntarily to avoid the airline's having to file for bankruptcy.
But if PIT goes MDA, PAWOBS won't matter statistically, since DOT doesn't keep track of Express OT, PAWOBS, cancellations, complaints, etc. Correct?

If Airways does contract out express ramp work in the hubs, the PAWOB numbers will become much worse... CLT Express has been doing an outstanding job, consistently ranking number 1 in PAWOB numbers for all hub work (Express AND Mainline!) since PI took over station handling...
I can also very easily see aircraft damage incidents skyrocketing.
While there would indeed be some bumps along the way, many other airlines outsource various parts of their operations and I don't believe their aircraft damage and other incidents have skyrocketed. I personally believe that predictions like this are greatly exaggerated. Just because someone isn't being paid $22 an hour to load bags, doesn't mean he or she will drive the belt loader into the fuselage. Sure, mistakes will happen. You'll have some aircraft damages. But the third party absorbs those costs. And the company still most likely comes out way ahead in terms of cost savings.

We have reached a crossroads in this industry. Airline labor must recognize that and come to grips with the fact that they must finally get rid of draconian, inefficient staffing/work rules that were born of the regulated era. Otherwise, airlines will continue to outsource the work cheaper every change they get. And guess what? Bankruptcy gives them their golden opportunity. It's a shame it comes to that, but it's a cold, hard reality.
I hope sub-contracting the ramp is not an issue for Mainline. Last year U Mainline lead the industry in Ground Damage to Aircraft This is an honor we can ill-afford. I would hate to see Pawobs skyrocket..but compared to aircraft being Out of Service for prolonged periods..and the cost that all that implies , simply can't be stomached anymore. Ground Damage is a direct reflection of our Training Programs failing miserably. This coupled to the isolated cases of the I could careless attitudes..surely being overly-aggressive to make up time plays a factor too! I hope these issues can be resolved...and in an In-House fashion. I know from a first-hand perspective that subbing out our Airfrieght operation has hampered and hindered movement of even our own company property..and all too often it involves movement of aircraft parts to a dire situation. In summation..Sub-Contracting may save a bit here and there? , but when it's ill effects hurt you in other aspects , I have to ask this question. Who's doing the math on what they do to hurt you? Trust me , it adds up when a broken plane sits awaiting parts!! The worst case scenario is movement of Hazmat Items. Many times an item like a Fuel Flow Governor is needed on the first flight from CLT or PIT for example..but the Frieght-House is not open to do thier end of the paperwork until the first flight has already departed. Thus the aircraft sits...and doesn't generate a dime of revenue. The aircraft has then become a cash consuming liabilty.
On 10/2/2002 12:35:05 PM W:EXCH:INVOL wrote:

But if PIT goes MDA, PAWOBS won't matter statistically, since DOT doesn't keep track of Express OT, PAWOBS, cancellations, complaints, etc. Correct?

Incorrect. Even if MDA does the ramp handling or gate functions at every airport (not just PIT), if it is a US operated flight, PAWOBS, Ontime, cancels, and complaints are still tracked/filed with the DOT.

All the more reason larger operations (and those with more opportunities for failure) are normally insourced, while smaller operations are outsourced.
Could this mean subbing the ramp operation out to someone like Mesa? Remember, CCAIR ran the Express operation outside and inside for many years. The operaiton was turned over to Piedmont shortly after Mesa bought CCAIR. I know that there is a lot more staffing out there (especially at the supervisory level), but I am sure that costs have also probably risen dramatically. Keep in mind I am not taking sides here, just wondering if outsourcing means to someone like Mesa, or a third party operation like Worldwide or Swissport?
It means contracting out to the likes of Servair....low wage help that has NO loyalty to the employer...
On 10/3/2002 2:53:52 AM gilbertguy wrote:

It means contracting out to the likes of Servair....low wage help that has NO loyalty to the employer... [img src='http://www.usaviation.com/idealbb/images/smilies/15.gif'] [img src='http://www.usaviation.com/idealbb/images/smilies/7.gif']

That would be bad. As AOG-N-IT said, the FUBAR that is our air frright proves how bad this is. Delta used to contract out ramp work in CLT, but I think they brought it back in house, or gave it to ASA or something.
So ramp functions get contracted out. So what is to stop the reservations offices, Utility, Customer Service, Maintenance, Pilots or even Flight Attendants from being contracted out. Hell while we are at it, lets wet lease some aircraft from say a Trans Meridian and call them USAirways flights. Bottom line is you get what you pay for. If you want service reliability to go down feel free to contract out any services at USAirways.
While it's true that you get what you pay for, you have to look at the other side of the coin to realize why a company would want to outsource. If it's costing you too much to deliver your product than the revenue you bring in, you've got major problems. So if an airline cannot get its' costs down to an acceptable level, outsourcing may makes sense because it will be cheaper and more efficient. Bringing down wages isn't just the key to lowering costs. All airlines have fixed overhead expenses that adds up to a lot of money. Outsourcing eliminates a lot of this. This is why it absolutely behooves airline labor to realize where this industry is headed. If they continue to hang on for dear life to antiquated and inefficient work rules and staffing requirements solely to fatten their dues trough, than they will continue to see outsourcing and job elimination. Like it or not, this industry is going through a dramatic and painful change. How well each airline recognizes and adapts the changes that are necessary will determine if they survive. Those that continue to hold on to things that no longer serve a useful purpose are going to end up on the short end of the stick. It is extremely painful to have to do it. But it is absolutely necessary for an airline to survive.
I thought contract concessions were meant to pull US's feet out of the fire....maybe US can get some free prison labor to come in and do the work.....
[BLOCKQUOTE][BR]----------------[BR]On 10/3/2002 11:19:39 AM gilbertguy wrote:
[P]I thought contract concessions were meant to pull US's feet out of the fire....maybe US can get some free prison labor to come in and do the work..... [IMG src=http://www.usaviation.com/idealbb/images/smilies/7.gif] [IMG src=http://www.usaviation.com/idealbb/images/smilies/7.gif] [/P]----------------[/BLOCKQUOTE]
[P]Why use prison labor when you already have the IAM??? --ducking--[/P]