That’s the story out of US Airways this week, sortof, as they announced a schedule change planned for later this year. It isn’t particularly common that cutting a flight gets a statement from the airline which makes the situation even more bizarre. But that’s what’s going on in the sandcastle these days.
The cut in question is a 3rd flight between their Phoenix hub and Maui, scheduled to operate for the peak winter season. US Airways intended to operate the flight with an aircraft from the “East” half of the company but using a crew from the “West” half thanks to a provision of their pilot contract which would change a number of work rules with the approval of the merger. But since the merger will not be approved in time the old work rules will remain and that means no mixing of east and west operations.
In an internal company newsletter Glenn Martin, director of future schedules, wrote that they planned “to use an east aircraft with PHX-based crews, which would have been allowed under the combined pilot contract effective on merger close. It would not be effective to crew this flight out of Charlotte or Philadelphia.” And because there are already 8 flights to Hawaii there are not enough planes in the West fleet to add the frequency. A US Airways spokeswoman said the planned flight “illustrates some of the benefits to customers that the merger would provide.”
So apparently they have one frequency on a seasonal route which is important enough that customers really need it to benefit. And the only way to operate the flight is to solve the pilot contract issues. And that’s going to be done via the merger and the larger AA pilot population rather than by actually addressing the two US groups. Somehow that’s supposed to be the consumer benefits we’re looking for.
That’s some pretty fuzzy math in my book.
And, to be fair, the pilots amongst themselves don’t really seem to want to solve their own issues so someone else solving them isn’t really all that awful a plan.
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