Letter from Hart LangerSenior Vice President-Flight Operations
January 27, 1999
Dear Fellow Flight Operations Employee,
Last year United operated more than 2,200 departures a day with 577 aircraft carrying an average of 237,995 customers each day and flying nearly three billion cargo ton miles on routes linking 139 airports in 28 countries on five continents. We did more than just operate the flights, however. We served our customers safely, dependably and, from a financial point of view, profitably. As a member of our Flight Operations team, each of you made a contribution to that effort.
Let's look at some of the many things we accomplished together in 1998,
based on the major areas that we focused on as a company and as a division.
We reached a milestone of 20 years without a crew-caused passenger fatality. United demonstrated its commitment to extend this well into the future by approving $103 million for installation of the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) for all fleets and x-band weather radar with Predictive Windshear (PWS) warning on all glass fleets. Installation of these two safety systems began immediately, bringing safety benefits to our operations as soon as possible rather than waiting for new aircraft deliveries. Nearly 100 airplanes, primarily A320/319s and B737-300/500s, use EGPWS in service now with installations in other fleets to begin this year.
We trained 543 new-hire pilots, provided transition training to 2,850 pilots, recurrent training to 7,986 pilots, and emergency procedures training to 21,343 flight attendants.
We conducted all required C/L/R training for pilots, dispatchers and flight attendants. Our commitment to flight attendant C/L/R was substantial as we provided pilots to "team teach" with Onboard Service a full day of training for more than 20,000 flight attendants at 24 sites. Reinforcing the value of this training, 97% of all attendees stated that C/L/R training will improve safety onboard the aircraft.
The Flight Center expanded into the new F building in March and filled all IO bays with the following full flight simulators: three B777s, three A320s, three B747-400s and oneB757. Two of these were acquired under an innovative revenue-sharing agreement with the manufacturer that allows United to generate revenue from contract sales before we actually require the device. Of course, training United pilots is our first priority for these simulators. The agreement minimizes the expense and inconvenience of remote pilot training caused by unexpected training spikes, and enables us to defer large capital expenditures, while generating company revenue.
* United continued its industry leadership in Advance Qualification Program training
(AQP) with more fleets in AQP than any other airline. The B737-300,
B777 and the Instructor/Evaluator programs are all in Phase V Continuous
Operations, and the B757/767 should enter Phase V in a few months The B737-200
and B747-400 will implement AQP (transition training) in 1999; they currently
are AQP for their CQP recurrent training). The A320 fleet implemented CQP
this month and will implement AQP in early 2000.
In May 1998 Initial Flight Officer Training introduced a redesigned
training program for our new pilots. The program emphasizes TAP concepts,
and includes time in the Operations Control Center with dispatchers and
crew schedulers and a day at DIA to understand the roles and responsibilities
of the departure team. The FAA approved the indoctrination course as an
AQP. In addition, we held 14 New Pilot seminars in Chicago for 840 "apprentice"
pilots in their first year in Flight Operations.
The company and ALPA negotiating committees exchanged opening letters in December for section 6 negotiations. The contract has an amendable date of April 12, 2000, and both parties are hopeful that a seamless agreement can be reached.
We reached agreements with ALPA in a number of areas, including the B777 crew rest issue. We also developed a participative business decision-making framework with ALPA based on defining objective protocols for making decisions supported by an aggressive communication strategy. We're currently using this framework for evaluating base openings and closings.
Our "Total Airline Pilot" (TAP) working group made significant progress in developing curricula for "Flying the Line" (a course for pilots with Initial Captain bids) and improvements to the Initial Captain Operating Experience after transition training at DENTK. This new training for initial Captains will be available by early summer. The Blue Ribbon Team, a company/ALPA team chartered in 1995, originated the TAP concept, defining it as "a safe aviator, who is a customer-focused, team-oriented asset manager.
Pilots filed a record low number of grievances: 38.
We conducted Cultural Leadership Orientation (CLO) for 775 Flight Ops ground employees. Participants left the sessions with a knowledge of the team framework concepts, including the Rules of the Road. Additionally, 190 division employees, primarily LCAS, attended cross-functional Cultural Leadership Training (CLT).
We implemented electronic OMC in August. This was the culmination of a two-year project to improve control of the Flight Deck Jumpseat and conform to the FARS.
We introduced Flight Ops pages on "Skynet," United's intranet; all employees soon will be able to access Skynet from their home computers. We also conducted a Communications Survey to get your input on the content and distribution of specific communications vehicles.
* Flight Ops provided learning opportunities for 92 interns at our domiciles, WHQ and DENTK. Over 13 years, we've hosted 1,000 interns from 22 colleges and universities.
Our division employees raised a record-breaking $1.6 million for UECP.
We increased use of Skypath flight planning to 85% of North American flights longer than 600 miles. Developed by employees from Information Services, Dispatch and other departments, Skypath uses a mathematical model to calculate the optimal dynamic flight plan, considering weather, aircraft performance and payload. An industry leader in this area, United used Skypath to save $11 million in 1998 and expects to save $24 million in 1999. We plan to expand Skypath to international flights by year-end.
United continued to be the largest user of the National Route Program,
resulting in flight planning savings of $27 million. Dispatch ATC coordinators
saved an additional $19 million by using ATC ground delay reduction procedures
and gaining approval to fly non-preferred routes. A major contributor to
that $19 million was a process called Collaborative Decision Making (CDM),
the FAA's use of real-time data to project ground delay programs during
adverse weather. Flight Operations chaired an industry working group to
implement CDM, which has enabled the FAA and the airlines to dramatically
reduce ATC delays.
To ensure the first trips of the day (STAR) depart on time, we increased buffers on layovers by at least 35 minutes, effective Jan. 5, 1999.
We made weather graphics available on the internet for every pilot. We are working towards having the ability to access this information at every station operations area worldwide.
Working with ALPA and the FAA, we made significant progress toward 1999
implementation of a new LDA with glideslope at SFO.
Anchorage, our newest domicile, completed its first full year of operation with 120 pilots flying DC-10-30 freighter flights to NRT, KIX, SEL, MNL, TPE, LAX, SFO and ORD. Before Christmas, the domicile flew a profitable two-aircraft charter for four days with UPS to five U.S. domestic cities. To meet market demands, our freighter network will add service to JFK and suspend service at SFO and TPE on March 2.
Our pilots continued to delight our most valuable customers by sending
personalized business cards to them in the cabin. This supports United's
Customer Satisfaction Philosophy plank of "recognizing and rewarding loyalty,"
and our customers love it. One recent business-card recipient wrote-. "They
(the flight attendant and the Captain) reminded me that United is much
more than an airline that gets you from point A to point B. They demonstrated
that flying on United Airlines means that a team of customer service professionals
is dedicated to ensuring that your travel experience answers your every
need for safety and outstanding service."
This is just the short list. Every department in our division had its
own objectives, and every employee made his or her own contribution to
the success of our division and our company. I want to thank you for your
performance in 1998, your professionalism, and your commitment to our Flight
Operations mission: to operate safe, dependable flights while working
together to provide total customer satisfaction. I know we will build
upon our successes in 1998, and I look forward with you to meeting the
exciting challenges of 1999.