Minutes of the January 27-28, SSC Meeting
JANUARY 31, 1999 TO: UAL-MEC, UAL MEC SSC, ALL UAL MEC COMMITTEE
Mr. Arouca, Vice President, People Services for the Operating Group, attended the first day of the meeting to familiarize himself with our process, to observe how issues are dealt with, and how the Company and ALPA work together on these issues.
NOTE: This report contains the minutes of the monthly meeting between the SSC and UAL. It is not to be taken as a statement of either the SSC's position or opinion on subjects reported upon unless specifically stated as such.
The SSC recommendations to the Company's proposals were:
Number Equipment Recommendation
The Company added 2 SFO A320 bids after correcting 5 DCA 777 bids to retirement.
The results of last month's surplus of HNL B747 F/O and S/O and SFO DC-10 Captain and S/O were provided and are attached. (See Attachment #2)
Plans presently call for about 900 new hires for 1999.
FLEET AND ROUTE PLANS
Bob Merz, United's Network Planning Director, briefed the SSC on current plans.
The Company plans a buildup to 119 departures from IAD beginning in May. They plan to have about 31 737-300 trips, 40 A320 flights, and the rest a mix of various equipment. They also plan a B400 from IAD to LHR and FRA, starting in April. LAX crews will likely fly the LHR trip. ORD crews, deadheaded to IAD will probably fly Frankfurt. The company indicated that, due to manpower constraints, they might have to fly FRA with JFK crews now and then. We notified the company that mixing crews on market pairs in the same month been strongly opposed by the SSC in the past. Theycommitted that they would only do so if it were absolutely unavoidable.
When the Delhi trip ends in April, JFK 767 crews will begin to fly the London to Boston trip, and JFK to Buenos Aires (EZE). This will sustain the 767 base at the current line level. Plans are also to start MIA to LIM in A320 equipment in April, also with JFK crews. In May, the JFK- CCS and MIA-CCS (Caracas) trip will be changed to A320's using JFK crews.
The company is now planning to open the LAX 777 domicile in April. They can do this because of the laterals into LAX on the initial bid. There are no LAX B777 bids this round as they staffed the base to the levels needed with the first round. The company also said that they would send each pilot an E-Note besides the official activation notice that will be posted. LAX will fly the added LAX-LHR trip, which will build around 8 lines. IAD will continue to fly the other LAX-LHR flight until LAX is staffed.
The DC-10 freighter operation now is starting ANC-JFK and dropping SFO and Taipei (TPE).
777 in the PAC
The company is considering operating the B777 in the Pacific sometime this summer, possibly as early as July. This is considered an `ambitious' start-up target date, with early fall being more likely. Routes and city pairs are not yet firm.
The company is planning to use both aircraft types for hub to hub flying this summer replacing present wing- tip operations. There will be no crew airplane changes at DEN as to the short airplane turn around time. After the summer the B400 will not be used for domestic legs as much. Also - but not discussed at this meeting - as previously announced, an added ORD-CDG (Paris) starts in May and shifts between B777 and B767 equipment. Prior plans to resume ORD- KIX this summer have been postponed.
VACATION UNIMATIC SCREEN
The vacation (VACA/FN#) screen will be locked out while the monthly awards are being finalized. Pilots will only seetheir award after it is final. Up until now, pilots were able to access that screen while the company is working on vacation awards and sometimes find information that was not finalized. This led to problems when pilots thought they had a different vacation than was actually awarded. Changes will still appear in the unassigned day values since that is dynamic and cannot be locked. (See Attachment #3)
The company is planning to solicit more vacation deferral for the month of March for the B767 and A320 F/O seats. They may accept offers in other seats as well. They will report the results to the SSC at the next meeting. The SSC also asked the company to provide us with the vacation liability for next year showing what this vacation deferral has generated. That report is expected next month along with the annual numbers. (See Attachment #4)
ORD - HKG (HONG KONG)
For the past several months we have been receiving briefings by various Company personnel about the inability to reliablyoperate the trip within the sixteen-hour contractual limit. As was stated previously, the SSC expressed its doubt whether the trip could be reliably operated under that limit during the winter when it was first announced as a year `round trip about this time last year. History has confirmed those suspicions. In spite of all the efforts by the Company, and the cooperation of the ORD crews, the flight has had a very poor record of staying under the 16- hour contractual and FAR limit.
This month, Mr. Ron Smith, Manager, Flight Dispatch, once again briefed the committee on the latest efforts to reduce the flight time for the segment. As was also touted in the Flight Ops Flyer, on the 20th of January, the flight flew the nearest to a direct Polar route without actually passing over the North Pole and risking disaster if the navigation systems became confused at 90 degrees North. If this 89N route were available it would shorten the flight time by between 25 to 40 minutes. However, the route is still experimental and might not be usable for several months. The SSC expressed to the Company its dissatisfaction with the results of their efforts so far. We also stated that we would not be at all tolerant of another fall and winter season with a performance as we have seen this year. We told them that they would either have to take measures to ensure the trip would operate within the CBA, or that it would need new language. The trip will most likely be under the 16-hour limit beginning in May for about about five months.
HNL 747 SURPLUS
It was expected that there might only be two B747 entries in HNL this summer. One had been committed to SFO and theremaining entry would only produce about 8 lines of flying in HNL. They had been told they could expect to have about 15 lines. Without the third entry for both commitments cannot be met. (The plan was later reversed after the meeting and a third Ropestart will continue until September when retirements will reduce the availability of enough aircraft. After that, aircraft retirements will require reductions at both domiciles as both SFO and HNL are planned to draw down at the same time prior to closing.) Any bid outs from either of these domiciles' Captain or F/O seats can expect to be delayed in assignment to training to ensure adequate crew coverage as no B747 `Classic' bids are anticipated since the fleet will be retired by December, 2001. F/O bids might be required, however, to support the number of Captains remaining in each base.
BLACK OUT DAYS ON BID PACKAGE COVER LETTER
The SSC asked the company to put the Black Out and Embargo days on the bid package cover letter as the ORD LSCsuggested. The Company said that it probably could be done and would let the SSC know by E-Note if there was anyproblem doing so.
CAPT. LANGER'S ID REVIEW (OPEN)
The company asked the SSC to collect the type of Pairings that it considers are pushing into an unsafe area. Then Capt. Langer, or his office Captains, will review them and make a decision as to if they should be changed or they believe they can be flown as published. (See Attachment #5)
DEN ID TO HAYDEN, CO (HDN)
An example of this process, the Denver LSC brought two pairings to the SSC's attention that had two consecutiveoperations into the Window of Circadian Low followed by a long day operating into a mountain airport, out of a radarenvironment, and only having a non-precision approach.
These ID's were brought to the SSC's attention late. This trip had been included in the Preliminary DSL sent to all LSC's, via CompuServe, for review two weeks ago. The company has agreed to bear the expense of this distribution so the local committees can find problem trips, such as this, early enough to fix before the lines are built. If the Company does not attain this benefit, they might stop sending the packages. If the SSC had even been made aware of the problem the day before the meeting, as was requested two months ago, the repair could have been made without disrupting the distribution of the DEN bid package, which always creates the potential for errors.
After the protested pairings were brought to WHQCM's attention, they immediately walked them to Capt. Langer, whoreviewed them but found them acceptable. In spite of that, after further discussion with the SSC, the Richard Lung agreed to rebuild these pairings, eliminating the HDN turn and put it at the beginning of another ID. They then rebuilt the affected lines. We appreciate their positive response to our request.
Several LSC's complained about the number of x-towns occurring in the great state of Florida. The company said this was driven by marketing with the airplanes coming in late at night and leaving early in the morning.
Some domicile B767 line levels will be driven by vacation liabilities for the rest of this vacation year. This is the reason that we are seeing varying line values at different domiciles.
SFOEG OPERATED FERRIES
A few more ferries were flown using SFOEG pilots when the Crew Desk was unable to provide line pilots. Sick leavehours will be restored to pilots on extended sick leave as compensation for this action. (See Attachment #6)
CHANGES TO SSC MEETING
Because of the increased time the monthly SSC meetings are requiring, we are changing the pattern of our meeting asmentioned here last month. The four MEC-SSC members will travel to Chicago on the day before the scheduled two-daymeeting. The Company has agreed to bear the additional expense this will entail. The members will either meet in the MEC office on that day or in the hotel that evening.
The agenda for the next day's meetings will be finalized at the MEC office the next morning. If the meeting with theCompany is on a Monday, or if desired, the Committee will come out the night before and meet in the MEC office on themorning of the first day of the published meeting date. The meeting with the company will begin at 1200 noon, andhopefully be completed by about 1500. The meeting with the LSC's will begin at 1800. This allows everybody to havedinner before the meeting. The practice of having room service during the meeting is disruptive and will no longer be acceptable.
Obviously, this will require the LSC's to submit their gripes to the SSC at least one day earlier. In order to present the issues they want considered to the Company, we must have them as early as possible. Since items traditionally contained in these reports are ones which have been known for some time, it should be possible to forward LSC comments to the SSC well before the meeting date. Last minute problems can still be presented at the evening meeting.
In conjunction with this change, the first hour of the SSC meeting will
also revert to the old style meeting format and be between the SSC members
and the Company, so that they can present any sensitive information which
they may have forthe MEC. After that, LSC's are still welcome have one
member observe the meeting. Those individuals are requestedarrive at the
end of the closed period and remain until the meeting is completed. The
coming and goings, which havedeveloped lately, are extremely disruptive
to the meeting and can no longer be tolerated.
STAFFING LEVEL FACTORS
The SFO LSC brought a question about whether the manpower model addresses special situations such as they have in
their B727 Captain coverage. One captain is on maternity leave, another is active in ALPA work, and two others arealways on special assignment. Claire responded that the model does adjust for maternity, and other special assignments are only allowed after her section determines there is adequate coverage. Besides when the reserve utilization rate was checked for the past four months, the reserve Captains use rate was about 30 hours, one of the lowest in each month for all B727 domiciles.
LAX `BANK' OPERATIONS
In order to create opportunities for better connections at LAX, there will be a shift back to schedule `bank' operations for LAX flights. On the Shuttle, this was recently changed the other way in SFO and LAX to improve Shuttle turn efficiency by a program called `LASOR'. The SSC expressed concern that re-creating banks might adversely affect Shuttle. The company expects this to have minimal impact on Shuttle operations and the SSC plans to closely monitor the changes.
EAST COAST "SHUTTLE" ???
Recently the company announced plans to create a "Shuttle- like" operation on the East Coast in an attempt to build up the IAD Hub (formerly `Gateway'). This is not to be confused with expanding Shuttle to the East Coast. At this time, the plan is to use several different fleets to operate city pairs that we currently serve. Little increased frequency is expected until the reliability issues of weather, slots, and traffic can be resolved. This does not conform to the contract specifications of the Shuttle letter and will not be a true "Shuttle" operation at this time.
PERSONALIZED BIDDING TEST
The expected completion date for the programming for the PBS (Personalized Bidding System) has moved forward so thepossibility for a test is now sooner than anticipated. Originally, it was not expected to be sooner than the end of 1999. Now, dates could be mid year for a test of the program. Because of this, the SSC will become intensely involved beginning with a full briefing on the status of the program so far the day before the next regular SSC meeting. Further meetings will be scheduled with the full participation of this committee and other individuals who have been involved with such systems before. A PBS system was always anticipated for the Shuttle, and the Letter of Agreement specifically directs the Company to develop and test a system.
It was pointed out that the company did increase the open time for U30 first officers in LAX to about 240 hours forFebruary. However, the LAX U30 captains had only five trips prior to the big pick. This was noted as not satisfactory and the company has agreed to monitor it more closely.
For the month of January the SSC required the company to rebuild a Denver pairing that was actually San Francisco'sflying. They did. That resulted in a shortage of SFO pilots and an overage of Denver pilots. The SSC requested that the company offer TDY rather than cover all of the trips with reserves. Only one pilot accepted TDY so the balance of the trips was covered by the crew desk by other manners. The company elected not to junior man into TDY, which they could have done, and the SSC would like to thank them for that.
There is a three-day ID that was protested and the company declined to change. The ID has five legs the first day; four legs the second and then an 11:30 layover. It then switches to AM and flies five more legs on the third day after the short layover. The reason for the protest is the cumulative fatigue caused by this type of pairing. This is an unresolved issue.
SSC-LSC EVENING MEETING
LSC ITEMS: (company response in parenthesis when made)
Starting with this issue, the LSC's printed or written complaints will not be published but will be extracted and covered in the section below. The practice of including the sheets presented by the various LSC's was instituted by a previous SSC Chairman strictly for the purpose of reducing the time required to distill and transcribe those comment sheets. Lately, the pages have become a forum for propounding private points of view, overly strong statements of personal feelings about issues, and contain many inaccuracies which the SSC cannot present as their own or the MEC's position.
DCA - B767 ID's 169,170 low time three day - req better pattern to make lines. Protest day layovers prior to allnightersDHD on Lear? (SSC not desirable - Co. - OK) Found error in Sec. 8b report. (Fixed - thanks)
MIA - Is deep South equip going to be seasonal (No - will stay as April) Many long L/O's in 767 id's 202,207,209,211,215,216,217 Too much mixing in lines for cap
ORD - ORD-HKG over 16 hrs (see above)
Company fixed two leg all-nighters (Would like sooner notice) Airbus poorer - [id116,135,136,143] xtown to day sleepinto allnighter
DEN - B300 ID's #208,209 - Fatiguing pairing into HDN (see above) Airbus generally poorer - many X-towns Otherwise overall general Improved DSL
LAX - B767 line levels (see above)
SFO - need added B727 Capt bids to cover special cases (see above)
SEA - All-nighters down but sits increased Will SEA-JFK return ANC - Like new pairings but question L/O in NYC (Not a daily operation)
HNL - What's the future? (See above)
FUTURE MEETING DATES:
(Note: Check DIS*6029 for the current information)
February 24,25 1999 March 25,26 1999 April 26,27 1999
May 25,26 1999 June 23,24 1999 July 26,27 1999
August 24,25 1999 September 23,24 October 25,26 1999
November 23,24 1999 December 27,28 1999