Professionalism v cost.

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Nark
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Professionalism v cost.

Post by Nark » Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:36 am

Two recent threads got me thinking.

It's is up to us as pilots to maintain a professional profession, however John Q public doesn't care.
Colgan 3407 was tragedy that highlighted crappy wages, but no one cares now that it's 16 minutes past the event.

If Walmart, BestBuy and Amazon haven't taught you that the consumer, whom we all work for, want it ALL for as little as possible your already lost.

The success of Jet Blue, Southwest and WestJet should also tell you that the public doesn't care about professionals they only care about cost savings.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by Meatservo » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:10 am

Someone who didn't know better would be bound to assume you're calling into question the professionalism of Westjet aircrews. I've always found that that they appear to be quite competent from where I'm sitting (the back) but I've no idea how they're treated by the management. I've always heard good things though.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by tellyourkidstogetarealjob » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:15 am

It's true people will usually go with the cheapest. However, the public know it's buying crap at Walmart. Unless they have a Colgan like experience, it's harder to tell crap in aviation. They have no real idea of costs, so feel they are being ripped off. After all, how can an experience that lasts a few hours really be that expensive? (Unless there's evidence nine months later, of course!)

They have no idea the enormous cost of flying. Between misguided management and fixed expenses, it's amazing commercial aviation exists at all.

As an example of the former, look at an air line that serves no food but an enormously expensive, fuel wasting satellite system installed. Why? Because some marketing fool thinks it fills seats. I've watched people on flights. They look at it because they're bored. Only a few - 2 or 3% - actually seem to concentrate on it. Most ignore it. Marketing loves to ask what people want, but if you ask them to pay for it, they change their tune fast. They think the system is "free".

As far as fixed costs go, If you tell them an aircraft costs $40 million green, it's lost on most. The number is just too large to be meaningful. However, most could relate to an alternator for a car costing $200, but an almost identical unit for a small aircraft being eight times as much Or that piece of cheap-looking seat trim they just knocked off with their oversized carry-on is actually going to cost $350US to replace.

Unless you can figure out how inform the public it gets value for money, it'll continue to be a race to the bottom.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by Tango01 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:27 am

It is not the customers who should be blamed. Of course, who wants to pay more for anything? Whatever it is, an airline ticket, hockey game ticket, a rack of ribs, leather jacket, we always want to save money and get the most. That's never gonna change.

Airlines are a business and as such, they want the most amount of revenue with the least amount of expenditure (basic stuff here) This is where pilots are short changed. However, the 705 guys still have it preety good as of today. What's scary is everyhting else, 703 especially (safety being a major issue)

The problem lies with the pilots. The douche bags that work for free or even buy jobs, work long days for shit money and ramp like slaves in hopes of a right seat position on some clapped-out POS, 2 years down the line. The problem also lies with the lack of professionalism in this industry and the fact that you don't even need to get through high school to become a pilot. The standards are low, the market is saturated with pilots and there is no respect for anything anymore, therefore the job is worthless and the conditions suck and will continue to suck.

Pilots are their own worst enemies. That's a fact.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by Nark » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:30 am

The cashier at Walmart is no less a professional than the cashier at Nordstroms.

Southwest, WestJet, et al are the Walmarts of airlines.

Last time I checked the FAA (/TC) doesn't care who you work for when pilots do their rides.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by KAG » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:33 am

Nark wrote:Two recent threads got me thinking.



The success of Jet Blue, Southwest and WestJet should also tell you that the public doesn't care about professionals they only care about cost savings.

Nark
I to have to question your comment about professionalism and Westjet. What in your mind is a professional in aviation? If it’s the safe and efficient managing of the aircraft, crew, and resources, then you can relax.
If it’s anything to do with remuneration, then you can also relax. No one here is complaining about money.
Also from an employee standpoint; you couldn’t ask for a better Management team, they too treat us like professionals.
The FA jokes aside, were about as professional as one can get this side of a dry, stuffy environment.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by iflyforpie » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:38 am

One thing you have to look at too is what domestic airlines are competing with. At the puddle-jumper level, there isn't too much to sell against just getting into your car and driving. Driving to the airport (or getting a ride), going through security, holding for other aircraft, losing your luggage, and getting picked up or renting a car kind of erodes any financial or time savings. So to attract business, the fares must be in the basement.

I get calls for charters all the time and I can hear the hard blinking on the other end when I give them a figure that has one more zero than they were planning to hear. The world thinks it's entitled to $100-$200 to go anywhere in the country.

We raise the price, the puddle-jumper market will largely disappear. But maybe that's what needs to happen. :roll:
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by Invertago » Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:52 am

Puddle jumper costs are interesting

Nanaimo to Vancouver Dash 8 = $120 for a 20min flight
Nanaimo Harbour to the river @ YVR Beaver = $70 20min flight

I thought the cost per seat mile would be cheaper in the Dash 8, but I don't fly either a/c. I'm curious though if anyone could explain it? Landing fees?



Also, how does the West Jet GPS system increase fuel costs? Is it really that heavy? Does it use an antenna much larger then my Garmin, couldn't it just take information from the flight instruments.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by Tango01 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:03 am

IFES, not nav Invertago.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by vortac » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:08 am

KAG wrote: Nark
I to have to question your comment about professionalism and Westjet. What in your mind is a professional in aviation? If it’s the safe and efficient managing of the aircraft, crew, and resources, then you can relax.
If it’s anything to do with remuneration, then you can also relax. No one here is complaining about money.
Also from an employee standpoint; you couldn’t ask for a better Management team, they too treat us like professionals.
The FA jokes aside, were about as professional as one can get this side of a dry, stuffy environment.

KAG

You're missing the point completely. It's not an insult to the way Westjet pilots act, how nice they are to the customers, well put together they look, how good the landings are, how well they operate and understand their airplanes. It is a tough process to be hired at Westjet, they have a very thorough selection process and seek very motivated individuals who serve the company well. I'm sure Nark agrees to all this.

The fact that no one is complaining at Westjet is not true. Business and social history shows, Westjet WILL ask for more from their employees to stay in business in the future. Past profits will have no bearing on the pressure to make more and more and more money.

Westjet has indirectly eroded the standards of our profession and will continue to do so in time. When it is no longer possible to bargain concessions from its employees. It will bankrups and Westjet V2.0 will appear and start and even lower standard.
Most accept whats in front of them. And THAT is how 'Walmart' and the evolution of capitalism will see to it that you in the end will have nothing.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by iflyforpie » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:12 am

Invertago wrote: Also, how does the West Jet GPS system increase fuel costs? Is it really that heavy? Does it use an antenna much larger then my Garmin, couldn't it just take information from the flight instruments.
I worked on the Live TV install on some of the WestJet birds. Each seat has an LCD and each seat assembly has a box underneath for more electronics. There is all the wires in the raceway under the seats, then the control panel at the front and a pretty huge box in the rear avionics bay. The antenna is about the size of a kitchen table and goes on the roof with a bunch of structural reinforcements. I think that is it more than a few bags of peanuts worth of weight increase.

Alaska Airlines did it better, rent a portable DVD player. No mods, no STC, minimal weight.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by jjj » Tue Jan 12, 2010 11:40 am

vortac wrote:

Westjet has indirectly eroded the standards of our profession and will continue to do so in time. When it is no longer possible to bargain concessions from its employees. It will bankrups and Westjet V2.0 will appear and start and even lower standard.
Most accept whats in front of them. And THAT is how 'Walmart' and the evolution of capitalism will see to it that you in the end will have nothing.

Vortac,

Can you explain that last paragraph.
How has WS eroded the standards of our profession? What concessions has the company bargained from the pilots? Why will WS bankrupt?
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by Cat Driver » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:23 pm

jjj I think vortac is anti capitalism and very Obama like therefore vortac sees anyone who succeeds through working and investing to be evil unless they share with those who feel they are entitled to their share without producing much of anything.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by vortac » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:41 pm

Cat,,,Perhaps I went too far and much too bluntly.

I agree, Westjet has never asked its employees for concessions to the best of my knowledge. Mind you, 45k to start on a 737 after all that is required for the job. THAT is where the erosion is.

I am not against capitalism. I'm all for supply and demand, go and get it, make and sell, educate and or work, and start a business within the constraints of 'some' regulation to protect us all. I do caution against ALL out free for all, free market on all levels enterprise where companies do whatever they like with no regard for its employees who also happen to be the customers.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by vortac » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:44 pm

Obama like. LOL. History will judge him, don't worry. Personally I don't think he did much to hurt your standard of living.

How did Regan/Bush Sr./Bush Jr. save us all from ourselves?
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by Rotten Apple #1 » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:01 pm

Vortac, with respect to your response above to Cat Driver, you should edit out "perhaps".
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by jjj » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:31 pm

Vortac,

What was the entry level wage at AC, Canadian, C3000 et al prior to WS's startup. I suppose your answer will then prove that after 1996 airline FO wages tanked.

BTW, 1st year FO starts at 53.00 an hour - oh, and it's indexed for inflation so it will go up year after year now. That is straight salary prior to the rest of the perks. It's not the greatest but it's way better than it used to be.

You don't have to like WS because it's not for everybody and that is fine - but don't fabricate lies because it's influences the young and impressionable. Feel free to stare in the mirror and jabber on mindlessly - no one will mind.

Get it together son your embarrassing yourself.


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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by Cat Driver » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:36 pm

Vortac, if Obama sewers the U.S. economy he will hurt our standard of living.

So far his spending policies have only increased the U.S. debt with very little signs that the economy has improved.

As to the rest of the politicians you mentioned I am hard pressed to find a good one among them, maybe Regan was the best of that lot?
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by vortac » Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:03 pm

I disagree guys. In fact I think you demonstrate the fact that we are our own worst enemies.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by KAG » Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:09 pm

Vortac, Your information is incorrect. Starting FO wage this year as of May is $54.06/HR. Senior FO wage is $97.08/hr.
Junior CPT is $127.46/hr; Senior CPT is $174.98/hr. Our min guarantee block is 77.5, average is 80-82. Our scales are indexed at 2% for inflation. Those numbers exclude ESP (employee stock option purchase plan), Stock options/RSU (stock options- gamble / restricted stock units - fixed amount guarantee, your choice), and Profit share. A starting FO wage with nothing added is $50,200. If you do 10% ESP, average block time with no over time, training inside the block window, and RSU (no stock options) no profit share will have a T4 around 61K, doing 20% ESP, RSU and a modest profit share of 2K pre tax your looking at 67K.
A senior CPT this year doing no overtime, average block time, RSU and 20% will make about 209K.
Not to sound combative but please tell me how were eroding the industry.

As for the future of our company, no one has a crystal ball. IMHO working in an unstable career, WJ is about the safest place to work within Canadian borders in the 705 world. If we were to tank it would be from our own undoing, or an economic crisis that makes today’s issues seem trivial. Either way, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.
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Last edited by KAG on Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by North Shore » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:00 pm

Cat Driver wrote:Vortac, if Obama sewers the U.S. economy he will hurt our standard of living.

So far his spending policies have only increased the U.S. debt with very little signs that the economy has improved.

As to the rest of the politicians you mentioned I am hard pressed to find a good one among them, maybe Regan was the best of that lot?
C'mon, Cat, the economy was in a tight spiral around the drain long before Obama had the reins - it's not fair to blame the last eight years on him...

As for the rest of you - carry on bashing...
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by Big Pistons Forever » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:52 pm

Success for airlines utimately has nothing to do with employees terms and conditions. It has everything to do with the quality of the airline management team. The US provides the best example of this. Of the 7 major airlines in the US, I think iit is generally recognized that SouthWest represents the most successfull US major, as it has remaind profitable over the last 5 airline boom/bust cycles. However it has the best paid narrow body pilots of any US and all pilots are represented by a union. Why has it succeeded when all the others have failed, since the secret to success is supposed to be lowering employee costs ? I think it is because it has always had a stable long term mangement team with a strong operational background and a long term view. The easiest thing for management to do is to cut terms and conditions, the real heavy lifting in management is to get the big things consistantly right. I think it is fascinating that if you rank the US airlines by conventional business metrics (ROI, RPSM,CPSM etc) you get the following order (most successfull to least successfull)

SW-Continental-Alaska-AA-DELTA-United-US Airways

However if you rank them by average pilot wages you get (highest average wages to lowest)

SW-Alaska-Contiental-AA-Delta-United-US Airways

If you rank them by management stability you get (least turn over to most turnover in managment ranks)

SW-Continental-Alaska-AA-Delta-United-US Airways

Seems to me that the successful airlines have stable mangement and understand that a fair deal for their employees will ultimately make for happier customers and unsuccessful airlines have lots of management churn which encourages short term thinking with an emphasis on quick hits like poor T & C's for their crews and a plethora of nusance charges which makes for unhappy customers and ultimately another trip through chapter 11. US Airways is the poster child for how not to run an airline and yet it has the lowest wage structure in the business....So much for the theory of "Smart Markets" :roll:
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by foxmoth » Tue Jan 12, 2010 4:22 pm

C'mon, face it.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by vortac » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:04 am

Thanks KAG

I retract my comments about Westjet and that they have eroded our profession further.
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Re: Professionalism v cost.

Post by magyar » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:28 am

Kag says;
dry, stuffy environment.

In the future i see aircraft (it may be introduced into bizjet cabin first) installing something that will alter such a cabin environment. You know thoses humidifyer things you can buy that you can see the moisture flowing out out, kind of looks like dry ice. well they should install those above each seat where the air gaspers/flight attendent call button is located, or all least in some stategicly locted spaces in the cabin. One musn;t/will not need to work in such a (dry, stuffy environment.) one day.....
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