Last week, we released an upsetting but crucial update preparing our Flight Attendants for the April 2016 bid month that without any major changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (the “contract”) or to the operation itself, would be absolutely inevitable. We knew those consequences were on their way because we lived that reality the last time we were co-paired with our pilots in a low credit value environment before the Company split us up and allowed us to have our own schedules. We made our case against low credit value pairings to the Company… and we were heard!
We have been advised by the Company that it has decided to return to the practice of building Continuous Duty Overnights (commonly referred to as a “CDO” or “stand-up”) into the operation for the April 2016 bid month on a trial basis! This is welcomed news for the Joint PBS Committee since it is a major step in the right direction of correcting low credit value pairings that critically injure the ability of Navtech PBS to perform its function. The discussion of a CDO operation is one that we have repeatedly had with the Company. Due to circumstances outside of the control of the Flight Service department, the Company was previously unwilling to build a CDO operation for our Flight Attendants even while we were not co-paired with our pilots. Because the flying given to us by American Airlines continues to have a negative impact primarily on the strength of the Embraer 145 flying under the Pilot 117 rest regulations, all CDO operations will be on that aircraft at both domiciles.
There will be a historically high number of these lines offered! As before, these assignments are available for bidding during the Pre-bidding window from the 10th at 12:00 pm to the 13th at 12:00 pm.
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What is a CDO?
A CDO is a pairing in which the duty period commences at night and continues into the morning. One way to look at these pairings is similar to “day trips” only they happen throughout the night. A Flight Attendant on a CDO does not require legal minimum rest at the hotel. When we return to domicile in the morning, we are approaching the end of a legal duty period.
How does a CDO operation help the Flight Attendants and the operation itself?
The CDO operation removes excessively long overnights from the solution and allows the remaining flying to become much stronger in credit value. This has the welcomed effect of enabling much better performance by the Navtech PBS program. This type of operation increases the productivity of the remaining workforce after the CDO operation is covered. With each day being more productive, this enables Navtech PBS to award lines with more days off than the contractually required minimum of (11) days off.
In the current operating environment, the majority of our flying given to us by American Airlines is generally packed in the mornings and evenings. Since some of the earliest arrivals and latest departures will be absorbed into the CDO operation, we will be able to connect more morning and evening flying into single duty periods. For DFW, this will only assist even more in increasing credit value as American Airlines returns premium day flying back into our operation. Crews who start too early in the morning obviously will require a day that ends while the evening operation is still in progress. Only those whose days started later while the morning operation was already in progress will be legal to fly into the late hours of the night. With the ability to cover more flying in single duty periods, the result of a CDO operation is that the remaining crewmembers will see the pairings increase in productivity.
Why did the Company discontinue the CDO operation in the past?
The staffing needs to cover a CDO operation is a “sore spot” for the Company. In the past, a significant number of Pilots and Flight Attendants awarded CDO schedules would drop huge portions (if not all) of their schedules into open time. The CDO dropped into Open Time then began the process of the need by Crew Scheduling to burn through the reserve availability. This problem became exacerbated by reserves who preference for a CDO knowing that they would be largely useless to Crew Scheduling upon their return to domicile for the remainder of the day which resulted in a loss of availability often exceeding 24:00 hours. We suspect that this is the reason that the Company is only offering the CDO on a trial basis! Should staffing once again become an issue as a result of staffing issues brought on by the CDO operation, we could find ourselves back where we were with last week’s update.
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While we are not completely out of the water in terms of the anticipated performance of Navtech PBS or variety in the pairings, the completely unanticipated return of the CDO signals that we should not see much of the predicted negative impacts of Navtech PBS in a low credit value environment as promised in our last update to you.
As always, if you have any comments, questions or concerns with regard to our schedules or Navtech PBS, please feel free to reply to this email or contact MEC Vice President and Joint PBS Committee Chair John Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org or MEC Bid Planning Committee Chair John Carlos Metidieri at email@example.com.
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