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Year 2000:  Year of Challenge and Opportunity

Richard Lung 

Director-Flight Crew Scheduling

The Pilot Schedule, October 1999
Year 2000 will be an unprecedented year for United, both in terms of challenge and opportunity.  Pilots are moving up at record rates.  For example, in a recent round of bids, we had four new captains with less than three years seniority!  We could see this trend continuing in 2000, as transition and new-hire training is projected to increase above the 3,000-3,500 trained this year.

These transitions are driven by 450 pilot retirements (including Medicals), continued sharp growth of 20 aircraft in our fleet driving our domestic expansion, and recovery of our B747-400 Pacific operations.  We are planning expanded Pacific flights with new LAX-MEL service starting in December, new SFO-SHA service in the spring, and possibly a third Pacific operation also next year.  Each of these routes results in roughly 20 B747-400 Captain and 35-55 First Officer positions, compared to six Captain and six First Officer positions for domestic flying.  Our pilot work force is projected to grow by more than 500 pilots as we plan to hire approximately 1,000 new pilots next year.  By yearend 2000, we should have more than 10,500 pilots and 615 aircraft.  To meet this aggressive plan, we are training at full capacity at DENTK.  However, we will still be somewhat short of being able to meet our anticipated needs.

As such, we have begun soliciting vacation deferrals.  There is a need in most fleets, with the exception of our non- glass fleets where there may be only a need for a small amount.  In a letter dated October 7, we detailed the vacation deferral solicitation process.  From October 7 through November 17, requests to defer ASSIGNED February, March and April vacation can be submitted.  From November 2 through November 17 requests to defer UNASSIGNED February, March and April vacation can be submitted.  We will award deferrals only after all requests are collected on November 17.

We will send out confirmation letters of all successfully awarded deferrals on November 22.  Awards will be honored in seniority order.  Please refer to the letter dated October 7 for specific instructions.  If we still fall short after this solicitation, we may offer additional rounds of vacation deferrals.