i've been a big supporter of skyw but i must admit i have been disappointed by the total lack of progress in improving the asa operation. it is, and has been, awful. as a matter of fact delta just announced it is talking over all ground services for delta connection flights at atl. i know many skyw employees read this and i would love to understand why skyw was unable to turn around asa. i also wonder why skyw has been unable to come to an agreement with the asa pilots. with the sale of comair likely, i am wondering if skywest still has the "right stuff."
another nice post. what is a high quality of life trip at asa? long legs, short legs, long layover, short layover, long sit arounds, no sits, commutable? i was under the impression, which i guess is wrong based on your post, that it's hard to have great quality of life with 7-8 legs and 8 hours at the airport hotel. are trips improving as the stage length increases? i also pictured pilots flying more days to get more hours to make up for lower pay. flying 13 days, hard to get 80 hours.
Airwolf, I believe you fail to give ASA credit for quite a lot of improvement since the Skywest acquisition. DOT stats tell one story, but another version of the performance story regards how ASA meets its performance metrics under the Delta Connection agreement. I believe this is relevant, as these metrics determine ASA (read Skywest Inc) compensation from Delta. The Connection agreeement gives credit for weather, ATC and Delta directed delays and flight cancellations. While the raw DOT for completion factor, cancelled flights, D-0/A-14 stats would place ASA in one position (Mesa, US Airways and a few others do worse consisently), factor in the aforementioned exceptions allowed by the Connection agreement and ASA does quite well. The traffic volumes, shortage of gates, inability of Delta to bring baggage to concourse C on time are unique to Hartsfield. The only equally challenging place in the Delta system is JFK. That's probably why Joe Kolshak has made Delta Connection and the JFK operation two major DAL corporate priorities this year. Operations are much easier at the minor "hubs" at SLC and CVG.
Of interest, Skywest has its own challenges at SFO and ORD with United. Its not just an ASA problem within Skywest Inc.
FWIW, ASA's non-contract employees participate in a performance based profit sharing plan similar to Skywest, and have enjoyed payouts every quarter since its inception. The performance is tied to meeting the goals in the Connection agreement, so something must be going right.
ASA, in the latest DOT report, recorded another dramatic improvement in baggage. I think it will be interesting to see how Delta does after it takes over ground handling June 1. There won't be any additional facilities, gates or ramp space added. Three planes parked at one gate on all the concourse D gates in ATL should be interesting for DAL to manage. I hope it works, but Delta is just beginning to improve mainline performance at ATL. There's plenty of fault for everyone in the DAL family at ATL, not just ASA.
At the end of the day, Skywest stockholders should ask themselves if they've recouped the cost of their purchase of ASA. The answer is a resounding yes. You should be laughing all the way to the bank. ASA has always been a cash cow for its owners (except during 9-2001). It still is now.
Here is what the rumor mill is pumping out. From what I have heard/can tell, ASA's unions won't even talk to our management. They are a huge pain in the ass, and want everything done just the way they want. EVERY single pilot, flight attendant and ground worker that I have ever dealt with has treated me poorly because I work for 'the enemy'. They are spoiled children. SkyWest is a great company that (if given the chance) would do a lot to improve the quality of life that many of those folks have. But, when you drag your heels, they forget that SkyWest can also make their life a living hell. The door swings both ways, my friends.
Jerry Atkin is a brilliant fellow. He once told a class I was in "why buy what you can take?". Watch closely, the genius is at work, and from what I can tell the short term pain, will end up in a huge long term gain.
Personally, I say let ASA fold, transfer the assets, and staple the names to the bottom of our seniority list. Union gone and all is well. Those who want to stay can and the rest can take a hike. SkyWest Airlines is a MUCH better company. But for now, they made their bed they have to lie in it.
Just my humble opinion.
You are exactly right. My brother was a pilot for skyw. He said managment always explained their course of action clearly. Skyw is well-managed, but ASA pilots have an entitlement mentality. Screw them. They think life is tough, let them find another job and see how tough life is. Then management can transfer the routes and planes to skyw and shareholders, management and skyw employees can live happily and asa pilots can figure out how good they had it.
interesting post. i'd like to hear the opposing point of view. would you further explain this quote, "Jerry Atkin is a brilliant fellow. He once told a class I was in "why buy what you can take?". Watch closely, the genius is at work, and from what I can tell the short term pain, will end up in a huge long term gain."
Skywest managment is accustomed to reasoning with their employees and getting reasonable results. They probably didn't realize with the union at ASA you have to take the IQ of the stupidist Chimp and sybtract 50 points and that is the smartest union member.
American labor has its head so far up its whazoo it is rediculus. People actually think flying an airplane for $85K per year is oppressive. I work in China and they should come here and take a look what people will do for $5,000 per year.
American Labor thinks that being born in the USA should be an automatic ride to riches. Wake up smell the roses and eliminate unions.
i'd like to hear from some asa or skyw pilots about contracts, but i was under the impression skyw mgt is not even offering asa as good a deal as the non union skyw pilots have. any pilots willing to fill in the details would be appreciated. it does appear skyw mgt is happy to have the current asa contract continue for as long as possible. the downside of this is the incredible(and reasonable) anger building up in the asa pilot workforce. as i have said, i support skyw and mgt but i think they are doing a poor job with asa operationally and contractually with the asa pilots.
Now that would be a brilliant business decision. Instead of stepping in and salvaging the company, lets let it lose more money, let everything get run down and when they fail (after hurting SKYW's bottom line), then have SKYW step in and spend more that they would have spent (if they stepped in now) to save it. Brilliant move.
Don't think that is what they have in mind...
I think SKYW got in over their head when they bought ASA, and now, don't really know what to do. None of us know the REAL reason they bought ASA, but I'll bet there was no pressure from Delta - NOT....
That seems to be what the stock price is telling us...
Here's an interesting little tidbit from the Midwest Air Group (MEH) 10-K Annual Report filing with the SEC recently:
Equity Investment . Midwest and SkyWest acknowledge that, in conjunction with the negotiation of this Agreement, they and their respective Affiliates have been engaged in discussions regarding a potential investment by SkyWest or one of its Affiliates in certain equity securities of Midwest Air Group, Inc., the parent company of Midwest (the �Equity Investment�). As of the date of execution of this Agreement, the final terms of the Equity Investment have not been finalized. SkyWest covenants and agrees that, if so requested by Midwest, it, or one of its Affiliates acceptable to Midwest, shall make the Equity Investment [*] .
This is kind of interesting considering the recently negotiated feed agreement between Skywest and Midwest and the ongoing attempt by AirTran to buy Midwest. Is Skywest looking to be a potential suiter for Midwest? Are Midwest and Skywest cooking up a scheme to thwart Airtran? Is Skywest looking to buy Skyway, the in-house Midwest regional airline? Very interesting. There are lots of details about the relationship and the structure of the subcontract agreement between Skywest and Midwest in the filing. We'll see how well Midwest and Skywest get along together. Midwest tends to be a company that wants everything for nothing; I'm surprised that they were able to reach a deal with Skywest. I'm surprised that Skywest was interested in a deal as small as the Midwest deal especially considering that it requires a separate base of operations and some burdensome customer service requirements that go beyond what Delta and UAL require.