Breaking Down the Pyramid
Director-Flight Crew SchedulingThe Pilot Schedule, December 1999
While enroute to the Miami Domicile meeting,I chatted with a Miami-based B767 Captain and learned to my dismay that United had closed the Miami domicile in early 1992, only to reopen it six months later after startup of Pan Am's Latin America route authorities. This was a highly disruptive event that whipsawed the lives of many pilots. Since some departments had knowledge of the impending Pan Am purchase in early 1992, my conclusion is that there probably wasn't much two-way communication between the strategic planning and operating groups back in the pre-ESOP days.
This example represents a classic pyramid where those on top in the Planning organizations call the shots and the operating groups carry out the orders. In our world, Aircraft Scheduling is at the top of the pyramid, Flight Crew Resources is in the middle of the pyramid, and the pilot group is at the bottom of the pyramid. While we have managed to "get by" historically with this pyramid, we've got to change the way we work with each other to meet the challenges of our aggressive route and fleet plan. We are taking delivery of more than 200 aircraft over the next four to five years, and retiring nearly 125. Having the right number of pilots in the right fleet, seats and domiciles at the right time is going to be a huge challenge. So what have we been doing to meet these challenges?
Alignment with Aircraft Scheduling
Once decisions are jointly agreed to, we have enough lead time to execute the decisions, minimize disruption to the pilot group, and communicate these decisions to the System Schedule Committee and to you.
Two new B400 missions are expected to be flown out of SFO by summer
2000, SFO-PEK and SFO-LHR. This is in addition to the SFO-SHA route
and another SFO-Asian route that we had already been planning. This
brings the total of new B400 SFO missions to four by next summer (assuming
all remaining regulatory hurdles are met), with each route accounting for
roughly 20 Captain and 40-55 First Officer B400 positions. To accomplish
this aggressive plan, we are going to pull down two to three narrowbodies'
worth of domestic flying from the February to May off-peak flying to send
upgrading crews to B400 training. A good vacation deferral response
to date has also contributed to our ability to add this new flying. Thanks
again for your support and your help in meeting our aggressive flying plans!