The price of a lifetime travel pass with American Airlines was $250,000 back in 1981. It was an unlimited first class travel on American Airlines. Today, that same ticket would be worth about $700,000.
While that same ticket today may not be worth its price considering the severe restrictions on travel throughout the globe, one could wonder how wonderful it must have been to have that type of privilege.
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The chart above shows the count of pilot retiring by age 65(mandated by Federal Regulations) for each airline by each year. American Airlines has the highest count of pilot retirements than its competitors. Its highest count is 941 in year 2025. Delta Air Lines has its highest count in year 2022 at 780 pilots. United Airlines has its retirement peak at 727 in year 2028.
American Airlines has the highest average count of pilot retirements at 539 pilots per year on average. Alaska Airlines has the lowest average count of 53 pilots per year. The two cargo carriers, Fedex and UPS, each has an average of 191 pilots per year and 154 pilots per year, respectively. (Something to keep in mind is that the data available for UPS only goes up to 2033. The data for Southwest Airlines goes all the way to 2052.)
From the chart above, what we don’t know is how accurate the current count for 2020 is. As many airlines have offered early retirement packages, the number of pilots that have submitted their requests for early retirements and the number that got approved have not been published.
However, if you look at the data even during pre-covid time, American Airlines still had the highest attrition through pilot retirements. The big three legacy airlines had the highest pilot retirement numbers during pre-covid time.
This is an important data as many airlines are offering and pushing for their senior pilots to take the early out programs. Will many senior pilots take up on the early retirement deal? Will it be enough to save jobs for junior pilots? That is an ongoing debate.
Here’s another chart for better visibility in different lighting.
Please click on both links below and send your voice to your congressmen and congresswomen to extend the Payroll Support Program through March 31, 2021 to support the aviation industry and to support our country’s economic recovery.
“Every airline job lost equates to more than 13 job lost else where.”
Yesterday, October 1st, there were 855,908 travelers. That is still drastically higher than during the shutdown between March-May. The trend for passengers traveling in the month of September is still showing a positive trend for the year. While it is still well below last year’s numbers, the trend is showing a slow but steady recovery.
The month of August saw an increase of 4.6% in travelers from the previous month. September saw a 1%(200,000 passengers less) down from the month prior.
Latest update on TSA 2020 Passenger Count:
The TSA Total Traveler Throughput as of September 4th, 2020 was 968,673 compare to 2,198,828 a year ago. That is 44% of last year’s number. This is in one small step, a positive news for many of the airlines’ employees who are expected to be furloughed starting October 1st. The airlines have ramping up their defense against COVID19 through their existing hospital grade HEPA filter, specialized cleaning every seat prior to boarding, mask mandate, providing sanitizing supplies to passengers as they board the airplane etc.
On August 16th, we saw the highest passenger count since the shutdown due to the pandemic. 862,949 is about 33.3% of last year’s number. Will we see 1 million at some point this year? Time will tell. You can access directly at the source of this update here.
Reference our previous updates below:
Here is our latest update on the TSA 2020 Passenger Count:
The TSA Total Traveler Throughput on August 6th, 2020 is 743,599. While airlines are awaiting the CARES Act extension, they are planning for furloughs of hundreds of thousands of employees starting October 1st.
You can reference below for regular updates on TSA traveler count.
The TSA Total Traveler Throughput on August 2nd, 2020 is 799,861. This is by far the biggest number since the shutdown back in April. It is 29% of the previous year and a 4% jump from July 2nd, 2020. As you can see in the graph, the passenger count continues to go up steadily. You can access directly to TSA numbers, here.
Here is the passenger count ending the week of July 16th, 2020. The number is steadily going up. It still shows a positive trend.
You can access previous articles here. Direct link to the TSA Passenger Count by clicking here.
Delta is proposing a 15% reduction in pilot’s monthly hours to save some of their pilot jobs. The federal aid will expire in October 1st, in which case, the airlines can start furloughing their pilots. WARN notices, which is not a furlough notice, has been sent out by the big 3 airlines.
So far more than 1,700 Delta Air Lines pilots have signed up for the early retirements. This is more than the 730 plus pilots from American Airlines who took the early retirements. However, no data has been provided on how many pilots Delta Air Lines has awarded the early retirements.
Will the amount of pilots taking the early retirement be enough to save jobs? You can read more about it by clicking here.
Today American Airlines has sent out WARN notices to its employees. Here are the breakdown by workgroup:
Pilots: 2,500 or 18% of workgroup
Flight Attendants: 9,950 or 37% of workgroup
Maintenance & Related: 3,200 or 22% of workgroup
Fleet Service: 4,500 or 26% of workgroup
Passenger Service: 2,900 or 30% of workgroup
Reservations: 1,000 or 23% of workgroup
Dispatch: 175 or 36% of workgroup
Flight Crew Training Instructors and Sim Pilot Instructors: 50 or 15% of workgroup
Flight Simulator Engineers 10 or 7% of workgroup
A WARN notice is a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification letter. It is a written notification required by federal law to let employees know of potential furloughs. A WARN notice is NOT the same as a furlough. American Airlines still have opportunity to work with their respective union partners to workout the deals. They are offering incentivized voluntary leave and early retirement programs.
While this article from medRxiv has not been peer-reviewed, the study found that the COVID-19 mortality risk to uninfected passengers is less than one in 1 million.
The article states that recent study shows that when all coach seats are full on a US jet aircraft, the risk of contracting COVID19 from a fellow passenger is 1 in 7,000. But even with the middle seat empty policy, the risk falls to 1 in 14,000. Risks would be lower in lesser full flight. Their estimates imply that while the risk of filling up middle seat with another passenger is higher than those associated with plane crashes, the probability is still LESSER than one in 1 million.
Less than one in 1 million probability of mortality risks from the virus while traveling on a jet plane even with every seat occupied, sounds reasonable considering that the trajectory of water droplet from a coughing person is forward and toward the back of the seat in front. However, even with the middle seat open, the space between the people sitting in that row is maybe 2 feet. But the space between the person sitting either in the front or the back of you is still much closer than the recommended 6 feet distance from the Center of Disease Control.
The article was authored by Arnold Barnett(firstname.lastname@example.org) MIT Sloan School of Management.
Prior to the COVID-19 bringing the whole world to a halt, the airline business was good as usual. Obviously all that has changed. The bailout from the government has defered airlines from furloughing their employees until the end of September. However, furlough warning notices have been sent by some of the biggest airlines in the world. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have both sent warning letter to their employees. Delta is looking to furlough over 2,500 pilots and United is looking to furlough over 2,200 pilots. Both companies have also sent out tens of thousands of furlough warning notices to their flight attendants and other ground workers. American Airlines is expected to do so next week. Rumors have their numbers to be around 1,600 pilots. Only time will tell.
Now furlough warning notices are not necessarily the final decision that the airlines make to furlough their employees. In fact, it merely serves as an administrative compliance. Federal law requires airlines to notify their employees 60 days in advance. Some airlines are contractually obligated to their pilots to notify them 90 days out. Whether or not the airlines will ultimately have to furlough their employees including pilots will depend on a lot of variables. When it comes to their pilots, the airlines will be willing to keep pilot overages a little bit longer than their other employees. Simply because for pilots, their skill is perishable. Each month that goes by, pilot skills degrade. Also, a lot of the legacy airlines such as the DAL, UAL and AAL, have a lot of different types of aircrafts. Even with the recent downsizing of their fleets, most still have multiple narrowbody aircrafts and multiple widebody aircrafts. With the fleet downsizing, pilots have been displaced as well in reverse senority order. Junior widebody First Officer may be displaced to either a Captain seat or a First Officer seat on a narrowbody. All the seat shuffling will require trainings that could cost the airlines millions of dollars. Therefore, the airlines will not furlough pilots simply because they are fat on pilots for 6months or even 1 year. Other variables such as future customer booking, market shares and union contracts are some examples of the big factors that airlines will have to consider prior to furloughing their pilots.
Below is the data from the TSA 2020 passenger count. A link at the bottom of this page can be used to obtain the data below.
The graph shows that the “blue” passenger count is trending up. One month ago, the percentage of traveler compared with the previous year was at 13.9%. Another month prior, that number was 8.5%. Three months ago, the number was 4.1% during the peak of the shutdown. Yesterday, the percentage of traveler was sitting at 27.2% of the previous year.
While the trend is up, we are still short of the previous year by roughly 1.8 million passengers. As an airline employee, I cannot say that I am jubilant about where we are now. Certainly, not when millions of people are infected, hundreds of thousands have perished because of the coronavirus, and many more are fighting through it as you are reading this article.
Now something to keep in mind as you look at the TSA passenger count data is that it includes flight crew as well. The number of flight crew should not make any meaningful difference in the passenger count. After all, on aircraft of 160 passengers, you have 6 crews. So even adjusted for the flight crews who are traveling to work and for leisure, the number of passengers still outweigh the amount of flight crews going through their security line.