AFA MEC President and Acting President were able to meet with Brooke Vatheuer, SVP Operations and Planning, for the first time since she has been in her new position. This will be a quarterly meeting and we will communicate what issues were discussed and/or resolved at each meeting.
Given today was the first meeting we spent most of the time identifying what Brooke will be heading and what she has tasked to others on her team. One of our biggest concerns is the AIMS system. We have been advised that there is a new team, headed by James Strasbaugh, that has been getting up to speed and putting new processes in place. We asked to have a meeting with this team and our AFA counterparts, Lexie Massey and Jamie Moore as well as the MEC Acting President, Lisa Davis-Warren. This meeting is currently being scheduled and we expect it to be within the next few weeks.
Additionally, we have scheduled a quarterly meeting between Callie von Borstel, AFA MEC Crew Planning Liaison, Nevin Murphy, Managing Director, Strategic Plan and Execution, as well as Brooke and Lisa. This meeting will provide AFA will a greater heads up on marketing schedules and plans for routes that will aid the Scheduling Committee with the cons of pairings.
We did ask if there had been any discussion around base closures as we know this is always concerning to the smaller bases. Brooke was very candid and explained that our small bases are extremely important to our recruiting efforts and as such there are absolutely no plans to close bases at this time. She did confirm they will be discussed again in the fall but feels it is highly unlikely that any changes will be made. Now this is of course not a promise that things won’t change without warning, but the plan is to keep all of our smaller bases at this time,
We were additionally advised that SFO will be undergoing construction in September, sometime around the 5th through the 26th. We all know what this means for flights in and out of SFO. The potential for delays cancellations, re-routing, etc. are highly likely during this time period. Please keep this in mind when you are bidding for your September schedule. Trips could be rescheduled and there are no guarantees that you won’t be rescheduled into a trip that is not what you had planned initially. If you need more structure in the month of September then we advise avoiding the pairings that include flying in and out of SFO.
And finally, we did get an update on the delays to the Q400 retrofit. It seems the upholstery that was selected for the seats did not pass fire testing. Safety and compliance remain the top priority, and the company is working to identify alternative materials which will meet fire testing standards. Alternative materials and additional testing have delayed retrofits to possibly the end of the year. We will keep you updated on this as well. We know how disappointing this news is and look forward to being able to provide better news in our next update.
We hope that you find this information helpful and look forward to these meetings on a quarterly basis. If needed, we will request them sooner.