As I mentioned last month, things can easily change in the airline
industry, but I pledged to keep you informed of any significant changes
in interim Pilot Schedule articles leading up to the next six-month overview.
Here are some notable changes:
There will be more than one round of HNL B400 bids. The first
which we just released is comprised of 12 Captains and 21 First Officers,
which will support enough lines to fly HNL-NRT, scheduled to begin January
31. Subsequent rounds will support some tag flying beyond HNL, scheduled
to begin March 31.
Some good and bad news. LIM-MIA returns to the MIA base, but
as a B757 trip. Because of payload restrictions on the A320, coupled
with greater traffic demand resulting from a weaker fare environment, LIM-MIA
will return to B757 flying effective Oct. 5. While the LIM-MIA market is
still weak, the A320 freed up can now perform a domestic mission without
these payload restrictions, while the B757 can fly LIM-MIA without payload
restrictions. The LIM-MIA market is still unstable and could very
well flip back to the A320 next summer. The bad news is that it effectively
delays the possibility of opening an A320 base.
We will therefore convert the A320 MIA-LIM flying, flown by JFK crews,
into domestic A320 flying to keep line levels stable. I have heard
that the MIA-LIM flying is not the most desirable flying due to the long
time away from home, driven by long layovers in LIM and MIA.
We continue to see a movement to upgauge international flying out of
IAD to B777 or B400 flying. IAD-MXP is now planned to upgauge from
B767 to B777 from spring to fall 2000. This means that BRU will be
the remaining year-round B767 route, with MXP returning as the second B767
in winter 2000. To maintain domicile stability, we could backfill
with domestic B767 lines from spring to fall.
B400s to Europe
With B777s deployed to the Pacific, we have been advised we'll again
see two B400s redeployed to Europe in 2000, with more to follow in 2001.
This summer, we are flying IAD-LHR and IAD-FRA with B400s, with some crewmembers
flying from LAX and/or deadheading from ORD to accomplish the flying.
This is quite inefficient, and something we would like to avoid for 2000.
A better option includes B400 flying from existing B400 crew bases: LAX,
SFO, or ORD (HNL/JFK are unlikely due to lack of market/demand).
Another option includes having at least another entry from an existing
base to create a "W" pattern. An example of this would be B400 flying
ORD- FRA and IAD-FRA. We could schedule ORD-FRA (layover) IAD (layover)
FRA (layover) ORD with ORD B400 crews. And the third option albeit
remote in 2000 -- would be to open a IAD B400 base. Again, based
on the domicile opening guidelines, we would like to see stability of equipment
assignment, the ability to build 30 lines or more, and schedule efficiencies
to justify a new equipment domicile. We will work with Aircraft Scheduling
over the next several months to determine the best course of action.