New Equipment Domiciles!
by Richard Lung,
Director - Flight Crew ResourcessThe Pilot Schedule, June 1999
As I mentioned in an earlier Pilot Schedule article, the company and ALPA use the following objective guidelines for opening new domiciles:
While the base will fly DEN-SEA-NRT-BKK with only 17 lines (34 Captains and 48 First Officers), the schedule efficiencies more than offset the additional reserve costs from having a small base. The base will remain viable as long as SEA-NRT continues to exist and flies as a B777.
A HNL B400 base is planned to be opened effective March 2, 2000. With the B747 equipment domicile in HNL planned to be closed by year end, a new B400 equipment domicile is required to maintain the pilot base. The decision to open a new equipment domicile is driven by a desire to maintain domicile stability coupled with relatively neutral economics.
The base initially will fly HNL-NRT with 8 lines (16 Captains and 32 First Officers). Over time, there is potential for the base to expand to 15 lines with additional NRT-tag flying, and to more than 30 lines if Asia improves and HNL-Japan flying returns to its historical levels. As base size increases, the relative economics also are expected to improve.
The company also had considered a HNL B777 new equipment domicile. While the B777 appears to be the “ optimal aircraft” long term for HNL, the current Asian crisis and imbalance in our fleet plan (too many B400s, too few B777s) drive a need to maintain the B400 in HNL-NRT. HNL-NRT is able to support a B400 without much revenue/fleet penalty, freeing up a B777 to do much more valuable service on lower-demand international missions. We expect the B400 to stay on HNL-NRT for at least the next five years. An official announcement with contingency bids posted is planned for September/October.
Progression Within Home Domicile
MIA-LIM/CCS routes are currently flown with JFK A320 crews, with fairly high flight time credit. A MIA A320 base would create significant schedule efficiencies, but we do not want to open a base, at a minimum, until MIA-LIM proves to be successful economically. The LIM route is payload restricted and has struggled to make money in a B757. We should know an answer later this year, after a six-month trial period in the A320.
A DEN B777 base would require long-haul flying such as DEN-LHR and DEN-FRA to give it enough mass to build close to 30 lines. We moved one step closer by filing for DEN-LHR route authority for startup next spring. If we get that authority and have enough other flying such as DEN-FRA and/or domestic flying to build up to 30 lines, a DEN B777 base could be a reality.