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System Schedule Update

Dan Boone, Chairman

The Leading Edge, Summer 1999

 

NOTE: This report contains the minutes of the monthly meeting between the SSC and UAL.  This is not a statement of the SSC's position or opinion on subjects reported upon unless specifically stated as such.

WHQCM Fire
The fire at WHQCM caused extensive damage.  OPBCM and Dispatch hope to return by Sept. 1. WHQCM (i.e. DSL, Line, Manpower Groups, etc.) does not anticipate returning for several months, possibly after the New Year.  To the company's credit, flight scheduling and dispatch operations were returned to nearly normal within days.  Only two flights were canceled as a direct result of the fire.  The phone system is not yet normal and crew schedulers are working in very tight quarters.  Please restrict phone calls to official business.

VACANCY BIDS
The SSC recommendations to the company's proposed vacancy bids were:
 
Number  Equipment  Recommendation
17 B400 1st: 8 HNL (CONCUR), 3 SFO, 6 LAX
2nd :3 HNL, 9 LAX, 4 SFO, 1 JFK
8 B777 6 ORD, 2 SEA
2 B767 12 SEA
11 A320 1st: 11 DEN
2nd: 8 DEN, 3 LAX
16 B727 1st: 16 DEN
2nd: 3 DCA, 8 DEN, 3 JFK, 2 SFO

The company added one B767 captain bid to DEN, five B400 F/0 bids to HNL one DC-10 F/0 to ANC and one DC-10 S/0 bid to ANC.

The SSC requested that realistic training dates (based upon seat/domicile current bid and seat domicile future bid) be posted with the bids to allow pilots to make an informed bid choice.  Company will start adding this to the bottom of the vacancy bids starting in August.
 

MANPOWER

Hiring Forecast
Company expects to hire 1,000- 1,200 pilots next year.

Training Forecast
Company expects 4,500-5,000 seat changes next year.  TK is running full.  No B300 bids this round as large number of Shuttle bids previously has absorbed available training and Boeing B300 simulator in SEA unavailable.  Currently there are approximately 700 pilots waiting to go to school (2-3 months worth).

Block Hours
Company expects 4% block hour increase next year.

Total Fleet Count
From December 1998 (576 aircraft) through December 1999 (595 aircraft) the UAL total fleet count will increase by 19 aircraft.  From December 1999 (595 aircraft) through December 2000 (615 aircraft) the UAL total fleet count will increase by 20 aircraft.

Staffing
There has been much concern expressed recently over the staffing levels of UAL.  Based upon the figures provided the SSC by the company (which are used to forecast manpower needs) the SSC has determined that UAL appears to be adequately staffed based upon historical figures.  Based upon the "day-to-day" operation the SSC can only conclude that if the figures provided are correct that UAL has been unable to properly manage the staffing that it does have.  This could possibly be due to the misallocation of flying, an inadequate domicile structure, poor inventory control, inadequate forecasting models, invalid/inadequate assumptions, or a multitude of other issues.  The SSC's position is that, regardless of the reason, there has been an obvious failure to properly manage what should be an adequate staffing level based upon the figures supplied and historical numbers.  Should the company determine that the figures supplied are inherently in error, and the cause properly identified and corrected, the SSC is prepared to take another look at the staffing issue.

NOTICE OF PROPOSED DECISION
MAKING (NPDM)

NPDM 99-01/02: 
HNL B747 Closing/B400 Opening
Manpower issues are driving adjustments to the HNL B400 opening/747 closing.  The company moved back the 747 closing from Jan.  I to Jan. 3 1. The company had proposed using Section 8M (geographic relocation) to avoid training costs by moving surplused HNL 747 pilots to SFO out of seniority.  The SSC is adamantly opposed to this option and will insist the company follow the applicable contractual provisions.  The B400 base is set to open March 1. The HNL 400 opening will present a similar problem to the SEA issue discussed below, though worse, as the anticipated gap of having trained pilots present before the base opening will exceed one month.  The company continues to attempt to deviate from the previously agreed to procedures for the HNL closing/opening.  The SSC position is that an agreement had been reached and based upon that agreement individual pilots had begun to make their plans.  There is no reason that the company should not be able to adequately plan six months into the future for base closures/openings and should not attempt the continued manipulation of the process. (Awaiting MEC direction)

NPDM 99-03: 
SEA B777 Opening 
The company announced that SEA 777 pilots will complete training before the official base opening in November.  The SSC supported an earlier opening and the company agreed to see if it was feasible, however, there are no B777 entries into SEA in October.  The company will offer pilots the choice of TDY assignments or reserve lines.  Pilots bidding reserve will DHD out of domicile to cover other flying per Section 8-L-5 of the Agreement.  For those SEA pilots sitting reserve (not TDY), the SSC requested that they be allowed to sit reserve at their home, be allowed to move days off without any restriction (as long as it results in a legal schedule), and that they are treated as domestic reserves in regards to days off (no assigning into days off without pilot concurrence), and are allowed to be assigned or fly international trips for which they are legal and qualified (plan is to give IOE in North Atlantic).  The company agreed.  After consulting with the MEC and our Contract Administrator Hal Stepinsky, the SSC will not object to the company's proposal regarding SEA.  The SSC position is that this is allowable for only one month prior to the base opening.

NPDM 99-04: 
DC-10 Base Closings 
This NPDM has yet to be received but will address the closings of DC 10 bases.  The company intends to close the bases in the following order:
 
LAX:   DC-10  1st QTR 2000
SFO  DC-10 4th QTR 2000
ORD  DC-10 3rd QTR 2001

The SSC is concerned that the company will attempt to use attrition to draw down flying resulting in inefficient and onerous scheduling of the remaining crews.  There are reductions in aircraft and scheduled ASMs in January 2000, November 2000, and September 2001 (end of DC10- 10 flying).  Based upon projected line levels the SSC believes that; LAX should be closed in January 2000, SFO should be reduced in January 2000 and closed in November 2000, and that ORD should be reduced in November 2000 and closed in September 2001.  The SSC believes that the application of 8N bumps would be appropriate for the affected domiciles in this case.  The SSC is working with the company's manpower planners and soliciting input from the affected LECs to determine the desired timetable and options for DC10 base closures.  The possibility exists that depending how the company chooses to "draw down" flying that they could find themselves with an overstaffing problem not associated with the "draw down" where the application of 8N bumps might not be appropriate.  This is particularly true with the S/Os due to the "over 60" issue. (Awaiting MEC direction.)

ROUTE/FLEET PLANS

General: Bob Merz briefed the SSC.
Decisions are generally based upon "fleeting" decisions (not his department).  Until year 2000 profit plan is finalized many issues are still "up in the air".

A/C Allocation
747: 
Two aircraft (four lines of flying) will stay in HNL- Mainland beyond original closing date of HNL B747 base.  With bids into HNL B747-400 from SFO B747 and closing of HNL B747 base, company is concerned with B747 staffing.  The SSC would not be surprised to see the SFO B747 base closed as early as 3rd quarter 2001 since by that time the fleet will consist of one aircraft.  Company is forecasting I" quarter 2002.

B747-400: 
With the increase in IAD B400 departures the SSC position is that IAD should have a B400 base once sufficient number of departures exist.  A factor that will increase B400 Atlantic flying is the projected increase in B777 Pacific flying.  There will be two IAD routes operating spring through winter 2000 (IAD-FRA and IAD LHR).  Expect IAD-LHR to go away over the winter but good chance IAD-FRA will stay.  FRA versus LHR will be the likely pivot point for the "W" pattern due to higher load factors and other economics.  Company plans to fly "W" pattern (ORD-FRA-IAD-FRA-ORD) using ORD B400 crews.  SSC position is that it is against "W" pattern flying.  An IAD B400 base in year 2000 is not likely, but looks a little better for 200 1. Expect more routes out of IAD in 2001.  The company generally looks for three factors to justify a base opening: (1) 30 lines of flying, (2) schedule efficiencies, and (3) stability (flying committed to the base for at least 3-4 years).  Company responded that it would take at 3-4 daily departures before they would look at a base.

B777: 
SSC position is that DEN should have B777 base and that there currently are the numbers of departures to support one.  The SSC position is that the level of flying for the LAX base should be increased.  The company acknowledges that LAX B777 line levels are low.  They plan to build up line levels starting next spring when the second LAX-LHR returns to the schedule in April (formerly done by IAD).  LAX will also get two-class B777s flying to Hawaii.  Six two-class B777s are scheduled for delivery in year 2000 (mostly in second half).  Future options for increased LAX B777 flying include LAX AKL B777 November 2000 (with bunk) and LAX-EZE.  SSC requested projected line levels by base. (OPEN).

Hawaii Plan: 
The company wants to complete the next year's profit plan before they can give us a better look into next year. (OPEN)

LAX-EZE: 
The company will file for this route probably using the B777.  UAL does not expect to be awarded the route this time but this time but filing improves the probability of obtaining this route authority in the future.

MIA/ORD-SAO/EZE: 
MIA-SAO will up gauge to a B777.  Oct. 31st there will be an aircraft swap when ORD-EZE goes from B767 to B777 and ORD-SAO goes from B777 to B767.

LIM-MIA B757: 
B757 start moved up to Oct. 5 (from the A320).  The company will retime the Lima departure slightly to better serve the high yield customer.  MIA B757s will fly the trip.  The company will push A320 flying to JFK to make up the loss.  The company revealed that the market is not that good for either planes, but plans to hold onto the route for strategic reasons.

ORD B767: 
The company will continue to fly B767 European routes from ORD in a "W" pattern due to crew cost factors (qualifying the base).  SSC position is that these routes should be flown by ORD based crews.

B727 Flying Trends: 
B727 ASMs should remain stable until 2001 (line levels the same with seasonal changes, i.e. more summer, less winter).  If the company elects to take Airbus options, then the 727 could start retiring in 2001.

ORD-HKG:
Gene Cameron briefed the SSC on ORD-HKG performance.  The May-August (to date) numbers follow:
 
  MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST
<15.30 58% 60% 39% 22%
<16.00 83% 100% 94% 72%

Numerous factors make Gene confident we can operate under 16 hours with a 50%+ consistency (FAA definition of a "reliable" schedule).  These factors include a higher probability of using planes with the more fuel efficient Phase III engines, higher fuel density, access to Korean airspace and use of the second runway at HKG.  The company hopes to get Chinese approval to use shortcuts and Russians approval to use polar routes.  UAL controlled open items include taxi times (remaining fairly consistent) and moving up the departure time to de-conflict with other UAL departures.  The corporate goal is 60% block on time.  The SSC position is that even if a "reliable" (definition still open to discussion) schedule is obtainable with all these improvements that a negotiated agreement for flights operated over 16 hours is still required (Awaiting MEC direction).

FREIGHTER BRIEF
Carl Norris (Freight Operations) briefed the SSC on immediate future plans.  Carl says they are covering cash costs, but not allocation costs.  This is an industry-wide problem, not just UAL'S.  The company did examine coverage elsewhere in the world and concluded the Pacific still makes sense.

Beginning the last two weeks of December through early January UAL Cargo operation only requires two aircraft.  This "frees up" two DC 10-30s.  The company declined a very lucrative offer from UPS to supplement their Christmas operations.  Instead, the company plans to service existing customers (USPS) and address UAL's own needs of reducing baggage backlogs over the Christmas holidays with these two aircraft by flying them between major hubs (ORD-SEA-SFO-ORD and ORD-PDX-LAX-ORD).  Starting the second week of January it will become a three-aircraft operation through March 1 as DC10-30s start cycling through maintenance for "C" checks.  Full operations resume in March when all the "C" checks have been completed.  Choice of aircraft to replace DC10-30s still waiting decision by UAL Board of Directors.  Expecting a decision by beginning of next year