The Charlotte Observer - Union leader urges Congress to help improve CLT safety after death of airline worker, 1/15
WJZY, Charlotte - Charlotte Douglas airport worker’s death prompts demand for safe working conditions, 1/15
WCNC, Charlotte - Lawsuit filed against Charlotte airport after death of grounds crew member, 1/17
Other Industry News
The Atlanta Journal Constitution - Delta to pay out $1.6 billion in profit sharing to workers, 1/13
Forbes - Delta to lead off fourth-quarter reporting season with big numbers rivals likely won’t match, 1/13
Dallas Business Journal - Will Southwest ever fly red eyes? Exec talks that and more in this Q&A, 1/13
Dallas Business Journal - Southwest CEO teases South America expansion out of this Texas airport, 1/13
Forbes - United pilots unanimously re-elect leadership team as contract talks continue, 1/15
Time - Pilots who dumped fuel that fell on a school didn’t tell controllers before the maneuver, 1/16
Forbes - Everything you need to know about JetBlue’s new fees: now among highest in US, 1/16
The Los Angeles Times - Boeing finds new software flaw that may further delay the return of 737 MAX 1/17
Forbes - Delta expands in Miami as airlines fight “you invade my hub, I invade your hub” battle, 1/18
CWA In the News
Union leader urges Congress to help improve CLT safety after death of airline worker
Danielle Chemtob, 1/15/2020
Months after the death of an airline employee at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a Charlotte union leader implored Congress on Wednesday to help improve safety conditions for workers.
Donielle Prophete, vice president of the local chapter of Communications Workers of America, spoke at a hearing before a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. CWA represents about 2,300 workers in the chapter that includes Charlotte.
“Ramp workers who support aircraft on the tarmac face many dangers that are not adequately addressed,” she said at the hearing.
Based on reports from airlines, the airport commissioned a lighting study last year, CLT said in a statement Tuesday. After the accident, at the request of American, the airport expanded the study, city aviation director Brent Cagle previously told the Observer.
In its statement, the airport said it received the consultant’s evaluation this month and is analyzing its recommendation. [Link to full article]
Charlotte Douglas airport worker’s death prompts demand for safe working conditions
Workers are demanding American Airlines keep them safe on the job after an employee was killed at Charlotte Douglas back in August. [Link to video]
Lawsuit filed against Charlotte airport after death of grounds crew member
Chloe Leshner, 1/17/2020
A lawsuit has been filed against American Airlines and the City of Charlotte, filed on behalf of the family of a Charlotte Douglas Airport grounds crew member who was killed on the job. 24-year-old Kendrick Hudson died in August when the tug he was driving flipped on the tarmac.
The Communications Workers of America Union conducted a survey of nearly 500 Piedmont agents across the country in December 2019, with a focus on Charlotte Douglas International Airport. They say they found 94 percent of workers fear for their safety when they're working, especially at night.
They’re demanding changes, hoping to prevent another death. “Our managers should address concerns when we raise them,” Donielle Prophette with the local 3645 union testified. She works at Charlotte Douglas and knew Hudson. She says addressing those concerns could’ve saved his life.
His coworkers say lighting is inadequate and they even call the area “Death Valley.” They say their concerns haven’t been heard by American Airlines. The airline and city now named in a lawsuit claiming they knew about the dangerous conditions and never did anything about it.
A representative for the airport released this statement Friday night: “The Airport commissioned a lighting study in 2019, based on reports from the airlines. We received the consultant’s evaluation in January 2020 and are evaluating its recommendation. [Link to video]
Other Industry News
Delta to pay out $1.6 billion in profit sharing to workers
Kelly Yamanouchi, 1/13/2020
Delta Air Lines plans said it plans to pay out a record $1.6 billion in profit sharing to its employees this year.
The payout for the average employee will be equivalent to about two months of pay, said Delta CEO Ed Bastian.
Employees will get the bonus payments on Valentine’s Day, when the company typically holds profit sharing celebrations for workers across the country. It will be the sixth year in a row that the airline has paid out more than $1 billion in profit sharing payments.
“For years, I would get beaten up by Wall Street. They thought the profits were theirs, and ‘Why are you giving the profits away to the employees?’” Bastian said during remarks Monday at a Cobb Chamber event at the Roxy Theatre. “Wall Street has actually come full circle, and they realize that Delta is the most awarded airline in the world because of its employees.”
Delta to lead off fourth-quarter reporting season with big numbers rivals likely won’t match
Dan Reed 1/13/2020
Delta Airlines is expected to report strong fourth-quarter and full-year profits Tuesday morning and to set a standard for financial performance coming out of 2019 that most other big U.S. airlines aren’t expected to match.
That’s not to say that the likes of American, United, Southwest, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines and other publicly traded U.S. carriers had a bad fourth quarter. Far from it. But unless Delta springs a major and unlikely negative surprise, the Atlanta-based giant carrier should make it clear Tuesday that it is continuing to pull away from the field in terms of financial performance.
Delta, which in some respects related to size – including total revenue - has moved into first place among U.S. and global carriers, is expected to report fourth quarter profits of around $1.40 to $1.45 a share, according to analysts’ published and “whispered” forecasts in recent weeks. [Link to full article]
Will Southwest ever fly red eyes? Exec talks that and more in this Q&A
Evan Hoopfer, 1/13/2020
Decaire, vice president of Network Planning at Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV), was relaxing with his family in Florida when the government grounded the 737 Max aircraft after its second crash in five months.
Southwest has the plane off its schedule until April 13, and that could be pushed back as the plane's return to commercial service encounters more setbacks.
Southwest is the largest operator of the 737 Max and has hundreds more of the jet on order. The ongoing grounding and many delays in the plane's return to service has greatly impacted Southwest as it attempts to grow its network and expand in markets like Hawaii.
How will Southwest's network be different in three years?
My speculation is you're going to see a continued development of some of our focus cities, and they're going to get bigger. From every point on our network, we'd like you to get to every other point on our network easily. We're not saying hub and spoke, we're not going to do that. We're going to leverage bigger operations so that you can connect to every spot. [Link to full article]
Southwest CEO teases South America expansion out of this Texas airport
Evan Hoopfer, 1/13/2020
Houston will be one of three key cities where Southwest is focused on adding flights this decade, Chief Executive Gary Kelly said last week.
Domestic flights will continue to be the "primary" driver of growth for Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) at William P. Hobby Airport, Kelly told reporters last week as the company unveiled a new maintenance facility in Houston according to a video posted by KHOU 11.
"I think probably from Houston what would be most exciting ultimately is adding South America access," Kelly said. "I don't see that in the next year or so, but definitely down the road it's something that we would be interested to do. Nothing specific yet."
The company added Hawaii to its network to much fanfare last year, and executives have told the Dallas Business Journal that new strategies like code sharing with another carrier operating U.S.-European flights and flying red eyes could one day be in the cards. [Link to full article]
United pilots unanimously re-elect leadership team as contract talks continue
Ted Reed, 1/15/2020
The chairman of United Airlines' pilots’ union was unanimously re-elected to a third term Tuesday, a rare display of labor unity that is likely to farther strengthen the group as it negotiates a new contract.
Todd Insler, 51, a 25-year pilot and Newark-based Boeing 757 captain, was elected to a two-year term by a 19-0 vote of United’s Air Line Pilot Association master executive council. He had been unanimously elected in 2018 and nearly unanimously elected in 2016.
United talks appear to be moving ahead gradually, not rapidly but arguably in a less contentious manner than at the two competitors. A combination of profitable growing major airlines and a pilot shortage appears to have placed pilot unions in a favorable bargaining position.
In negotiations, “The MEC is resolved and unified behind the membership,” Insler said. “We are taking directions from membership. We are committed to not bringing just any contract to our pilots, but to bringing the right contract. We are not going to repeat mistakes people have made before us.” [Link to full article]
Pilots who dumped fuel that fell on a school didn’t tell controllers before the maneuver
Sanya Mansoor, 1/16/2020
The pilots of a Delta flight conducting an emergency landing didn’t tell air traffic controllers before dumping fuel that wound up falling on several Los Angeles area schools on Tuesday, aviation officials said Thursday.
“A review of yesterday’s air traffic control communications shows the Delta Flight 89 crew did not tell air traffic control that they needed to dump fuel,” the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement emailed to TIME. [Link to full article]
Everything you need to know about JetBlue's new fees: now among highest in US
Sandra MacGregor, 1/16/2020
Will the price increases never end? If you are about to book a flight with New York-based airline JetBlue you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. In a move that the carrier may have hoped to keep under-the-radar (aka no big press release but rather a quiet change to their website fee page) Jet Blue raised the fee for a checked bag from $30 to $35 as of January 16, 2020. A second checked bag will go from $40 to $45.
While an increase of $5 may not sound like much to some, it does put JetBlue among the most expensive checked bag fees of major US airlines. Airlines like Delta and American still charge only $30 for the first checked piece of luggage. Frequent fliers, however, may remember that when JetBlue increased their checked bag fees from $25 to $30 back in August of 2018, $25 was the typical industry standard. Within months, however, the other major airlines followed suit and correspondingly raised their prices. So, it’s not too crazy to suggest that other airlines may likewise soon follow JetBlue’s lead, meaning that flying may just become more expensive yet again for many passengers in the US. [Link to full article]
Boeing finds new software flaw that may further delay the return of 737 MAX
Alan Levin, 1/17/2020
Boeing Co. has identified a new software flaw in the grounded 737 Max that will require additional work, possibly further delaying the plane’s return to service.
The company has alerted the Federal Aviation Administration and is notifying customers and its suppliers about the issue, it said Friday in an emailed statement. Boeing’s top-selling jet was
grounded March 13 after two fatal crashes involving a flight-control system.
The issue involves how software on the plane checks itself to ensure it’s receiving valid data, said a person familiar with the issue who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about it. The issue occurs when the system is initially powered up, the person said.
The issue is in the plane’s flight-control computer software. It was confined to how it performs validation checks during startup and doesn’t involve its function during flight, the people said.
The problem came to light when the latest version of the software was loaded onto an actual aircraft, according to one of the people. While it has been tested on planes in flight, most of the software reviews have occurred in a special simulator used by engineers on the ground.
Airlines have already built months of delay into their schedules to resume flying the plane, so it’s possible the software work won’t require additional changes. Southwest Airlines Co., American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. have said they won’t fly the plane again until June. [Link to full article]
Delta expands in Miami as airlines fight “you invade my hub, I invade your hub” battle
Ted Reed, 1/18/2020
A simmering, throwback “You invade my hub, I invade your hub” airline battle intensified Friday when Delta said it will add 13 daily flights at Miami, American’s most precious international hub.
From Miami International Airport, Delta will add service to four cities: Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City and Tampa. Flights begin by summer. Tickets were to go on sale Saturday.
American said Tuesday, hours before Delta’s earnings call, that it would add three flights in Boston, recently designated as a Delta hub.
In the past decade Delta has mounted assaults on smaller airlines’ hubs in Seattle and Boston, but in Miami it has challenged an equal.
“Airline industry consolidation is close to maturing,” said aviation consultant Bob Mann. “We have reached equilibrium with three big network carriers and Southwest. [Link to full article]