A week ago I shared data on how poorly the American Airlines operation has fared during peak summer while their mechanics have been taking out frustrations over lack of a contract on the operation.
It isn’t just ‘work to rule’ writing up inconsequential items. It’s choosing to write things up at the last minute when it’s most disruptive and taking inordinately long to complete paperwork.
Last Week’s Operation Was Just As Bad As… The Previous Week
For the week of June 7 – 13, despite a company-wide push for exact on time departures for years and operational changes meant to improve the airline’s reliability they only managed to hit D0 57.8% of the time. That to me is horrible, even if their goal was only 64.2% (‘the soft bigotry of low expectations’).
The airline told employees that the week of June 14 – 20 “was equally as challenging as” the prior week.
We are now four weeks into the peak summer travel season. This marks one month of our heightened, companywide focus on peak seasons and delivering a safe and reliable operation to our customers and team members. It’s also a milestone for those team members, many of whom launched initiatives that place added emphasis on the role they play within their teams to improve our operational performance.
Here’s the data:
American Only Meets Operational Goals When It Doesn’t Fly
Only one of American’s hubs is meeting its goal for turning aircraft in the allotted time: “Currently, JFK is the only hub meeting its T0 goal for the summer peak on both the mainline and regional sides of the operation.”
American’s New York JFK T8 is a ghost terminal much of the day, with many aircraft on the ground for long periods of time, because they’ve chopped the operation down so that there’s only just over 70 flights a day now.
With summer runway construction the airline doesn’t have to use all of its slots to keep them. And without the need to squat on slots, they’ve reduced their flying — something that neither Delta nor JetBlue have done at the airport.
In February I wrote that American’s strategy in New York is not to play.
I argued that by cutting about two dozen destinations from New York, the airline makes it harder for customers to remain loyal to the airline and makes it harder for sales teams to win corporate business. It also makes it harder for the airline’s engine of profits, AAdvantage to succeed because the program becomes less relevant to New Yorkers when there are fewer flights, and without a route network that appeals to New Yorkers they have a harder time securing AAdvantage cardmembers in the important financial center and winning their spend.
The airline’s Vice President of Planning had taken umbrage to my characterization of New York service cuts explaining to me that they aren’t really cutting, “we’re growing in JFK to Austin and JFK to San Antonio” although of course the second Austin flight is already gone.
When the airline has 219 peak day takeoff and landing slots, and only uses two-thirds of them, they’re able to meet operational metrics for turning aircraft. They just aren’t flying very many customers, which is what I thought they were supposed to be doing.