Friday, March 4, 2016

Pilot shortgage continues to afflict airlines

The pilot shortage is hurting airlines that serve smaller markets such as Jackson.  Republic Airways filed for bankruptcy in no small part due to the shortage.  The Wall Street Journal reported last week:

Republic Airways Holdings Inc., one of the biggest U.S. regional carriers, filed for bankruptcy protection, succumbing to the pressures of a pilot shortage and a shift by large network airlines to using larger planes.

Indianapolis-based Republic, which flies on behalf of the commuter brands of carriers including American Airlines Group Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc., said on Thursday that it plans to maintain operations while it restructures.

Regional carriers have struggled to find enough pilots because of relatively low starting salaries and new rules by U.S. regulators requiring new aviators to have additional training. Republic has been particularly hard hit because of an outdated pilot contract that made it less attractive than its rivals to prospective hires. It had warned last year it could be pushed into bankruptcy protection.

Its pilots approved a new contract in October, and the company as recently as last month expressed optimism it could work through the pilot shortage.

The major U.S. airlines have been generating record profits amid falling fuel prices and robust traffic growth, but their regional partners remain in a state of flux as big carriers look to cut costs and shift to larger planes, leaving the smaller companies to find homes for the tinier jets.

Major airlines outsource nearly half their domestic short-haul flights to operators such as Republic and SkyWest Inc., mainly using smaller regional jets and turboprops that are being replaced with larger planes more popular with higher-paying business customers.

Republic also has been forced to ground some of its planes because of the pilot shortage, which led to a lawsuit from Delta claiming damages because of the loss of service.....

Republic last summer hired airline restructuring specialist Seabury Group LLC to explore its options after a tumultuous five-year period that included expanding its geographical footprint by acquiring Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines and a push into the low-cost segment by acquiring Denver-based Frontier Airlines. It sold Frontier to Indigo Partners in 2013.

Republic had debts of $2.98 billion and assets of $3.56 billion at the time of filing, according to court documents. Its stock fell 77% to 78 cents in after-hours trading Thursday.

Republic said it is operating its normal flight schedules, and salaries and benefits are unchanged.

Republic, at the time of the filing, had a fleet of 242 aircraft operating more than 1,000 daily flights for American, Delta and United Continental Holdings Inc. It also held orders with Brazil’s Embraer SA for 55 E175 regional jets that would fly with American and United....  Rest of article.


Anonymous said...

Feel and his band of know-nothings are going to fix this problem when they steal the airport. That darn Jackson management caused this.

Anonymous said...

It would be so nice if the feeders would start flying point to point, remember point to point? Small jets low load requirements reasonable fares. Just need a little more experience in the cock-pit.

I know its a pipe dream but those of us that remember point to point or one stop no change have dreams too.

PittPanther said...

There's no pilot shortage. There's a shortage of pilots willing to work for minuscule wages.

Anonymous said...

The lowest paid commercial pilots can make as little as $27,000 a year.

Hank said...

I at one time flew through Cincy a lot and found myself in the commuter concourse to make connections. Now it is closed along with a lot of the entire Cincy airport. I digress, it always amazed me the youth of the commuter/regional pilots until I had a conversation with a flight attendant.

She made so little she was on food stamps and told me the pilots don't do much better. Then the other shoe dropped, she said be thankful these airplanes do a lot of thinking for the pilots.

Sure not all are unqualified but it is a little unnerving. Like someone above said no decent wages not pilots.

retired airline professional said...

Point to point airline flights were a good thing - but terribly inefficient from a bottom-line profit basis. Of course that was the norm early in the industry, and thru the early 80's. But at that time, people also dressed up to fly - men wore coat and tie, etc. Frequent flyer programs were basically non-existent, and it was long before the FF programs started giving miles away for your purchases at the grocery store.

Airline business got more competitive and costs went up following the Jimmy Carter economy. Competition for business got much better to support the number of planes. The hub-and-spoke concept got started and everyone went to it quickly. In fact, Mississippi was in competition in the early 90's for a "Wayport" - a concept that was considered by finally discarded; an airport that was in-between centers, but wasn't a stopover. Mississippi delta and the midwest (Kansas) were possibilities, but the hub system took over and killed the idea.

Now - the spokes reach out to small markets with small planes. And the Jackson market is small, no matter what the Governor and Rankin Senators want to believe. SW flies point to point, but doesn't serve nearly as many cities as the Deltas, etal. The only 'airline' that would come into JAN at this point would be a commuter that serves Tupelo, Laurel, Bham, etc. Ain't no way at this point in the industry that a major carrier is going to come to JAN, especially with the market dominated by Delta.

Anonymous said...

gulfport-biloxi has a three person board--one from gulfport, one from biloxi, and one from the county.

why isn't there a board member from Jackson, Hancock, Stone, Pearl River or George counties? look at their service--they never had southwest so it must be mismanaged. take it over too!

tupelo has its own airport authority--take that over also

big government for all! a win for the 'republicans' of rankin county!

Anonymous said...

And they aren't opening new routes or buying new planes. The real reason SW pulled out. As hard as it is to believe there are more profitable routes for SW than anything from Jackson/Madison/Rankun to anywhere. Can't wait to see Farkin Harken fix that.

Anonymous said...

Elections have consequences. Assume the position.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS