Tag Archives: Envoy

Envoy Air’s pilots vote to ratify the new tentative agreement, Envoy to get 40 new Embraer 175s

Envoy Air (American Eagle) (subsidiary of American Airlines Group) (Dallas/Fort Worth) will continue to grow. The pilots, represented by ALPA, have approved the tentative agreement hatched out between the company management and ALPA (MEC) representing the pilots. Envoy issued this statement today:

Pilots at Envoy Air Inc., an American Airlines Group wholly owned regional carrier, have voted to ratify a Tentative Agreement reached between the carrier and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). This agreement was ratified by a vote among Envoy’s more than 2,400 pilots and allows Envoy to now offer all existing and future pilots a direct career progression to American Airlines, the world’s largest mainline carrier. In addition, it provides Envoy with a firm fleet commitment of 40 new fuel-efficient 76-seat Embraer ERJ 175 (E175) aircraft and the opportunity to operate up to 90 more E175s, if American exercises those options.

“We are very pleased our pilots voted to ratify the Tentative Agreement that offers them new, large and modern aircraft to fly and faster career advancement at both Envoy and American Airlines,” said Envoy’s president and CEO, Pedro Fabregas. “This agreement also lays the foundation for Envoy to become a stronger and more successful company for all of our more than 14,000 employees. My sincere thanks to Envoy ALPA and its Master Executive Council (MEC), as well as ALPA president Lee Moak, ALPA executive administrator Tim Canoll and MEC chairman Sam Pool for their hard work and dedication to reach this agreement.”

According to ALPA, Envoy Air pilots completed voting on the proposed changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Of the 91.57% of eligible Envoy pilots who voted, 75% voted to accept these changes.

Copyright Photo: Rob Finlayson/AirlinersGallery.com. The Embraer ERJ 145 fleet is likely to continue to shrink as the larger and newer Embraer ERJ 175s join the Envoy fleet. ERJ 145LR (EMB-145LR) N659AE (msn 145762) arrives at the Miami hub.

American Eagle-Envoy Air aircraft slide show:

American Airlines Group to move 50 Envoy Air Embraer ERJ 145s to other American Eagle carriers

American Airlines Group (Dallas/Fort Worth) has informed subsidiary Envoy Air (formerly American Eagle Airlines) (Dallas/Fort Worth) that will it transfer 50 Embraer ERJ 145s to Piedmont Airlines (2nd) (Salisbury, MD) and Trans States Airlines (30 aircraft) (St. Louis) starting March 2015. One other carrier that has not been specified will also receive Envoy aircraft. The number of pilots at Envoy has been declining. The pilots of Envoy did not accept the last contract offer from the AAG.

Yesterday Sam Pool, Envoy MEC Chairman, sent the following message to the pilots of Envoy:

November 21, 2014

My Fellow Envoy Pilots –

Today management announced the long-anticipated news that AAG is moving aircraft from Envoy to other carriers. Starting in March 2015, 30 of our Embraer 145 series aircraft will transfer to Trans State Airlines and another express carrier at the rate of 2 aircraft per carrier per month. In 2016, another tranche of aircraft will transfer to Piedmont.

While we are clearly disappointed at the thought of losing four aircraft per month, and the 10 pilot jobs each aircraft represents, the harsh fact is that Envoy is currently losing pilots at an even faster rate as our colleagues seek more rewarding careers elsewhere.

We are beyond disappointed that the sacrifice of economic and operational flexibility that this workgroup provided to our parent corporation during the darkest hours of bankruptcy are now considered insufficient and we again find ourselves facing the demands of concessions in exchange for a viable future.

That said, our disappointment should not cloud the reality that we face today. Our reality is that other pilot groups in our segment of the industry have demonstrated their willingness to accept concessions in exchange for new and larger aircraft, and have subsequently agreed to reduce the pilot costs. If we wish to compete in this market, we simply have no choice but to recognize that reality and decide a course of action.

While it is true that AAG is honoring our bankruptcy contract, the unpleasant fact is that they believe that they can obtain lower cost regional flying from other carriers, and have demonstrated that they will award new aircraft and new flying to those other carriers, leaving our contract and our pilots in an awkward status quo.

AAG’s senior management has made it clear that they desire the new aircraft be flown by the pilots of Envoy. And they have also made it clear that they believe we should cost less. For these reasons, they have remained quietly engaged with your MEC in an attempt to effectuate a mutually acceptable agreement that gently nudges our forward looking economics closer to the perceived market in exchange for the enhanced career security sought by our workgroup.

The entire MEC remains committed to working with the company to find an agreement that satisfies the needs of both parties, and which we can endorse as the best path forward. We believe that such an agreement is within reach.

Thank you for your professionalism and patience, and as always don’t hesitate to contact your representatives.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/Airlinersgallery.com. Embraer ERJ 145LR (EMB-145LR) N928AE (msn 14500911) operated by Envoy Air arrives in Baltimore/Washington.

American Eagle-Envoy Air:

Envoy Air’s Embraer ERJ 145 operations continue to shrink, the Miami pilot and FA base to be phased down by April 2015

Envoy Air (formerly American Eagle Airlines 2nd) (part of American Airlines Group) (Dallas/Fort Worth) continues to shrink its Embraer ERJ 145 operations as its parent continues to replace its flying with larger aircraft from other associated AE carriers..

Pedro Fábregas, President and CEO of Envoy, has informed its employees that the parent American Airlines Group has decided to phase down and finally close the Miami pilot and flight attendant base in April 2015.

According to the memo, with the December 18 schedule, Envoy will operate 37 daily departures from Miami International Airport (MIA), using 12 50-seat Embraer ERJ 145 (EMB-145) regional jets. This is a big drop off from the 60 flights operated at the hub on October 1, 2014 with its 23 ERJs. The ERJ 145 aircraft and crews that will no longer be needed in MIA will be assigned to replace Envoy operations in other locations for the planned retirement of the 44-seat ERJ 140 (EMB-140) aircraft.

No Envoy pilots or flight attendants will be furloughed as a result of the schedule change.

Envoy is phasing out its pilot and flight attendant base in MIA. This will begin in January 2015 and will be completed by April 2015.

Republic Airlines will replace the smaller Envoy ERJ 145s with its newer and larger Embraer ERJ 175s.

Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Envoy Air’s Embraer ERJ 145LR (EMB-145LR) N697AB (msn 14500875) taxies to the runway at the Chicago O’Hare hub.

American Eagle-Envoy Air: AG Slide Show

 

American to restore service from LaGuardia Airport to Atlanta on January 6

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) is resuming service from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Atlanta starting on January 6, 2015. The restored daily route will probably be operated by Envoy Air under the American Eagle brand with Bombardier CRJ700s according to Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Envoy Air’s Bombardier CRJ700 (CL-600-2C10) N543EA arrives in Raleigh-Durham.

American Eagle-Envoy Air: AG Slide Show

 

American Airlines Group to transfer all 47 Bombardier CRJ700s from Envoy Air to PSA Airlines

American Airlines Group (Dallas/Fort Worth) has decided to transfer all 47 Bombardier CRJ700s (and the associated flying) from subsidiary Envoy Air (formerly American Eagle Airlines) (Dallas/Fort Worth) to subsidiary PSA Airlines (2nd) (Dayton). This will leave Envoy Air as an Embraer ERJ operator. AAG is likely to continue phasing out its smaller regional jets. The pilots of Envoy Air and the AAG failed to agreed on a new contract. Will Envoy Air follow the same path as Delta’s Comair?

Bill Sprague, representing the Envoy Air pilots, issued this statement to its member pilots:

The MEC is outraged by this announcement by AAG that all 47 of our CRJ700 aircraft will be transferred to PSA. This action obviously and significantly punishes Envoy pilots for refusing to accept the additional concessions demanded by the company in exchange for larger aircraft. We are not aware of any plans to bring additional aircraft to Envoy. Therefore the company’s recent commitment to keep 200 aircraft on the property for the foreseeable future is no more credible than their promise to re-fleet Envoy as part of the bankruptcy contract.

We are evaluating the details related to the transfer of these aircraft to PSA. This action will eliminate the highest levels of compensation available under our contract.

Once again, we find ourselves wondering what the future holds for our carrier. The company has already announced their intention to park the remaining Embraer 140s. Barring any additional aircraft, we will only be operating a fleet of 118 Embraer 145s. This would require roughly 48% fewer pilots than are active on our seniority list today. We will provide you the company’s draw down schedule when they provide it to us.

The company has indicated that moving these aircraft to PSA is necessary to more efficiently focus operations on a single aircraft type. In reality, management’s decision clearly exploits the lower costs afforded by the 10 year agreement ratified last fall by our colleagues at PSA.

We understand this is a very stressful time for all of us. Many of you have inquired about the status of our previously advertised career progression resources. The MEC will receive a briefing next Tuesday, the 9th, from ALPA National regarding the rollout of these resources, and details will be communicated as we get them.

Bill Sprague
MEC Chairman

Copyright Photo: Ken Petersen/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ700 (CL-600-2C10) N543EA (msn 10323) departs from the runway at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA).

American Eagle-Envoy Air: AG Slide Show

Envoy Air’s pilots fail to reach an agreement with the American Airlines Group

Envoy Air’s (American Eagle) (Dallas/Fort Worth) pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), failed to reach a new agreement with the American Airlines Group (Dallas/Fort Worth) for a new contract. The group had approached the union about reopening discussions on a new contract. Discussions broke down on August 21. According to the union in a message to its members by Bill Sprague, “The effort began with informal discussions to identify and attempt to resolve the areas of the failed TA that were unacceptable to our group. We focused on finding solutions to guarantee that the company would re-fleet our carrier while respecting the value we provide as professionals. Identifying the core issues was easy. Finding mutually acceptable solutions was extremely difficult. The MEC met three times and spent countless hours on conference calls to eventually arrive at a proposal that satisfied those requirements.

On Wednesday, company executives rejected that proposal. Their stated intent is to continue seeking lower feed costs at other Fee for Departure carriers, as they did with Compass.”

The union chairman continued, “The state of our current daily operation shows an inability to attract a sufficient number of recruits, but it also shows that many Envoy pilots are moving onwards and upwards in their aviation careers. In their efforts to operate an airline of our size while lacking the necessary tools to safely do so, the company has found many ways to violate the current collective bargaining agreement. The MEC and leadership are dedicated to protecting and defending the contract. Our contract remains in place. We will enforce it and continue to pursue every opportunity to improve it.

The pilots of Envoy have made it clear: now is time to make this airline an attractive place to work and that responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of upper management. This action is essential to ensure the long-term success of our company.”

Envoy Air currently operates more than the 220 aircraft on about 1,300 daily flights to more than 170 destinations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The company’s more than 14,000 employees provide regional flight service to American Airlines under the American Eagle brand and livery as well as ground handling services for approximately 15 airlines, including American.

Envoy Air is headquartered in North Texas with hubs in New York, Chicago, Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles. The company was founded in 1998 as American Eagle Airlines, Inc. following the merger of several smaller regional carriers to create one the largest regional airlines in the world. On April 15, 2014 the company changed its name to Envoy Air to distinguish the company for the American Eagle brand, under which several carriers operate regional flight service for American.

American Airlines Group is likely to continue to assign new aircraft to other American Eagle carriers as Envoy Air reduces in size unless the two parties resolve their differences.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Embraer ERJ 145LR (EMB-145LR) N668HH (msn 145785) prepares to touch down at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).

American Eagle-Envoy: AG Slide Show

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport today opens 10 new gates for American Eagle in Terminal B

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) today unveiled a total of ten new gates and a new concourse extension at Terminal B. The new gates, B30-B39 (see map below), will be used to serve American Eagle regional jet flights. The concourse and new gates are part of DFW’s ongoing Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP), a multi-year, $2.3 billion capital improvement program to redefine the Airport’s four original terminals which first opened in 1974.

DFW logo

“These new gates give DFW Airport additional capacity for hosting flights in Terminal B, and a beautiful new space for customers to enjoy as they await their flights,” said Sean Donohue, CEO of DFW Airport. “We’ve also added some very nice customer touches in the new concourse, including a comfort zone seating area, charging stations, and of course, our fast and free WiFi.”

The new concourse at Terminal B offers an additional 20,000 square feet of gate space for customers. The entrance to the new concourse is adjacent to a Skylink people mover station for fast and efficient connections to any gate at DFW. The new concourse construction replaced one gate at Terminal B, for an overall net gain of nine gates to DFW.

With the addition of the ten gates in the new concourse at Terminal B, DFW now has a total of 164 gates across its five terminals. It is the first new terminal concourse to open at DFW since the grand opening of Terminal D in July of 2005.

TRIP is redefining DFW Airport for the next generation of air travel customers, with all new glass, floors and finishes, along with updated technology and renewed infrastructure. Under TRIP, renovation work continues in other parts of Terminal B, as well as in Terminals A and E.

Copyright Photo: Brian Peters/AirlinersGallery.com. Envoy Air’s Embraer ERJ 145LR (EMB-145LR) N928AE (msn 14500911) leaves the terminal at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).

American Eagle-Envoy Air: AG Slide Show

Terminal B Map:

DFW Terminal B American Eagle

 

Planely Speaking: Help Wanted … Pilots!

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Editor Aaron Newman

 

Help Wanted … Pilots!

 

By Aaron Newman

In direct response to the Colgan Air 3407 crash in 2009, Congress passed the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010, also known as the “1500 hour rule.” The law mandates that the Federal Aviation Administration require pilots to complete 1,500 flight hours before they’re allowed to fly commercially, up from just 250 hours before the act. We are nearing the one year anniversary since the law was enacted (July 15, 2013) and over the last few months we have seen this law make minor rumblings across the smallest in the industry; will we continue to see this law disrupt an already volatile industry? What effects will the “baby boomer” generation of pilots have on the industry as they near the forced retirement age of 65? Let’s take a closer look…

Regionals Hit Hard

The new rules have already impacted the country’s smallest airlines because their pilots tend to be younger and less experienced. For the pilot, this means more schooling and more expense in return for moderately low wages.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com.

One example is Great Lakes Airlines (above), which serves Essential Air Service (EAS) cities across the upper Midwest and Rocky Mountains.  Great Lakes Airlines cancelled service in February from Minneapolis-St. Paul to the following cities: Thief River Falls in Minnesota; Devils Lake and Jamestown, North Dakota; Fort Dodge and Mason City, Iowa; and Ironwood, Michigan. Great Lakes is blaming the cuts on the new mandated pilot law. In a statement, Great Lakes CEO Charles Howell explained in a company statement, “Due to the unintended consequences of the new mandated pilot regulatory requirements, the company feels it is in the best interest of our customers, communities and employees to suspend service from these stations until we are able to rebuild our staff of pilots in order to provide reliable service.”

Silver Airways, based in the southeastern U.S. is following suit. Silver Airways has announced plans to drop Muscle Shoals AL, Greenville MS, Hattiesburg/Laurel, Tupelo and Meridian from its Atlanta GA hub effective in July. Silver Airways President and CEO Dave Pflieger attributed the move to tighter Federal Aviation Administration regulations on minimum pilot hours. “New federal regulations related to flight and duty limitations, as well as increased requirements related to new hire pilot certification, have had the unintended effect of creating a nationwide shortage of regional airline pilots.”

Although the above examples are unwelcomed news for the cities they serve, they do not affect the large majority of the traveling public and have gone relatively unnoticed. The first major news that gained the industry’s attention came from American Eagle Airlines (now renamed Envoy Air).

 

Copyright Photo: Marcelo F. De Biasi/AirlinersGallery.com.

Envoy Air (above) flies a large portion of American Airlines’ regional flights. American Eagles union recently voted down a contract offer to continue flying with the merged American Airlines. As a result, American Airlines will not allocate any new regional aircraft to Envoy Air, and the Eagle subsidiary’s regional flying will diminish as its aircraft fleet is retired. Despite the obvious threat that pilots will eventually lose their jobs if they rejected the contract, Envoy Air’s pilots overwhelmingly voted it down (70% voted against). With other domestic airlines to needing thousands of new pilots each year, Envoy Air pilots don’t foresee much trouble finding new jobs that will probably offer better pay and/or career advancement.

This is the beginning of what I believe is many changes to come within the domestic regional airline industry. Cheaper pilot labor is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Envoy Air pilots’ decision to turn down a contract knowing that it would eventually lead to the loss of their jobs demonstrates how little bargaining leverage the regional airlines have. Qualified pilots are expected to have a plenty of alternative job opportunities if their employers aren’t prepared to retain their best talent with higher wages and improved benefits. The strongest airlines in the regional sector are likely to survive, because network carriers will need the regional airlines to provide connecting traffic. The pending nationwide pilot shortage is putting the largest pressure on regionals, and ultimately some may not survive. A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found 11 of 12 regional airlines fell short of their hiring targets in the past year.

Impending Pilot shortage

Does the new 1500 hour pilot rule create less supply in an industry with growing domestic and global demand? In their latest industry forecast, Boeing concluded that the global aviation industry will need to supply one million new pilots by the year 2032 to support growth from expanding economies (Boeing.com). The largest projected growth in pilot demand is in the Asia Pacific region, with a requirement for 192,300 new pilots over the next 20 years. China will generate the largest share of the region’s demand, with a need for 77,400 pilots. Europe will require 99,700 pilots, North America 85,700, Latin America 48,600, and the Middle East 40,000 (Boeing.com).

Boeing Pilot Graph

Graph Source: Boeing.com

As the major airlines start a new wave of hiring, they face uncertainties going forward; the regional pilot pool of candidates isn’t growing, military pilots being incentivized to stay, and growing global competition for qualified pilots. Regional airlines will undoubtedly feel the impact first, larger airlines secondly, but the impact will also be disrupting on the communities, whose air service will be reduced by a shortage of pilots. Roger Cohen, president of the Regional Airline Association, states, “flights are going to get grounded and canceled; airplanes are going to be parked” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Is there hope on the horizon that the industry will remain unshaken from this? The last decade has seen flat levels of new pilots entering the market. Airlines (specifically regionals) are getting creative, introducing new methods to recruit the next wave of young aviators. Signing bonuses are now common, some as high as $10,000. Some airlines are offering pilot recruits incentives just to attend job fairs; Ipad’s, and cash prizes. Assisting aviation students pay tuition is also beginning to enter the field and university aeronautical programs are working with regional airlines to guarantee interviews after graduation. The most creative tactic so far has been utilized by Great Lakes Airlines. They are removing 10 seats from their Beechcraft turboprops so its first officers can avoid the regulations of the new law and fly with less than 1,500 hours (captains still need 1,500 hours).

Great Lakes 1900D Seating Chart

Seating Chart: Great Lakes Airlines.

Meanwhile, the larger airlines are doing their best to isolate themselves from the risk of a regional pilot shortage. For example; Delta Airlines has been the biggest largest airline to make visual changes to its fleet strategy since the law was enacted. Delta’s acquisition of 88 Boeing 717’s from Southwest/Airtran was in direct response to the law. It now deploys these mainline aircraft on short-to-medium routes cutting the older, inefficient CRJ 200 and removing the risk of pilot shortage on regional pilots by converting these planes to mainline crews.

My take

With the obvious need for pilots, the market should respond at some point soon and start producing new pilots to fill its jobs. Regional pilot pay will have to improve in order to attract new people to the industry. Most U.S. airlines are currently in growth period and have to look to invest in new talent in order to thrive. Whether you agree with this law or not, it appears the law is here to stay and airlines will need to adjust in order to cope. Either way it will be an interesting to watch as the years progress. Hopefully we can all agree on this…there aren’t many dull moments in the airline industry!

American Eagle Airlines officially becomes Envoy Air

American Eagle Airlines, Inc. (2nd) (Dallas/Fort Worth) yesterday (April 15) officially changed its name to Envoy Air, Inc.

Envoy Air Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group (Dallas/Fort Worth) operating more than the 220 aircraft on about 1,300 daily flights to more than 170 destinations. The company’s more than 14,000 employees provide regional flight service to American Airlines under the American Eagle brand and livery and ground handling services for approximately 15 airlines, including American.

The company was founded in 1998 as American Eagle Airlines, Inc. following the merger of several smaller regional carriers to create one the largest regional airlines in the world. Envoy is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas with hubs in New York, Chicago O’Hare, Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles. On April 15, 2014 the company changed its name to Envoy Air, Inc to distinguish the company for the American Eagle brand, under which several carriers operate regional flight service for American.

The carrier currently operates 47 Bombardier CRJ700s (CL-600-2C10s), 58 Embraer ERJ 140s and 118 Embraer ERJ 145s.

Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Bombardier CRJ700 (CL-600-2C10) N511AE (msn 10107) of Envoy Air departs from Los Angeles International Airport.

American Eagle-Envoy Air: AG Slide Show

 

American Eagle’s ALPA pilots reject the “concessionary contract” by 70%

American Eagle Airlines’ (Envoy) (subsidiary of the American Airlines Group) (Dallas/Fort Worth) pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have rejected by a 70-30 percent margin the “concessionary contract”. ALPA issued this statement:

ALPA logo-1

American Eagle pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) expressed their collective will and on March 28 rejected a concessionary contract proposed by American Airlines Group (AAG). With 92 percent of the eligible pilots casting their ballots, 70 percent voted against ratification of the contract.

“The Eagle pilots made a clear choice today, and it was not an easy one,” said Capt. Bill Sprague, chairman of the Eagle ALPA Master Executive Council. “Despite threats from AAG management that they would seek other express carriers to conduct our flying, today’s vote demonstrates that the demands for contract concessions were not acceptable. Today’s vote clearly shows that pilots can, and will, vote against any agreement that is not in their best interests.”

The proposed contract changes were a combination of pay freezes, reductions in per diem, and increased health-care costs in exchange for a promise to refleet the airline and enhance the existing agreement to transfer pilots to American Airlines. These concessions were in addition to the $43 million the pilots gave the company during bankruptcy last year.

Having previously worked under a 16-year contract that concluded with AMR’s bankruptcy filing, the American Eagle pilots have not seen meaningful contractual gains since 2004. New-hire pilot pay begins at less than $23,000 per year. Had the contract been approved, first officers would have been capped at about $38,000 per year after four years of service.

“Management has said many times to us that this agreement is their ‘bottom line’ offer and believe that they will be able to get the same cost savings from another provider,” Sprague said. “We question whether any regional airline is able to attract and retain pilots by offering poverty-level wages. American Eagle already has a career progression arrangement with American, and yet, due to a lack of pilots, it’s unable to perform the regional flying that American Airlines desires. Other airlines are experiencing the same problem.”

According to Reuters, American Eagle (Envoy) will shrink.

Read the full report: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Will American Eagle Airlines (soon to be Envoy) go the same way as Comair? CEO Doug Parker, with the looming pilot shortage, now has a difficult decision to make as the pilot unions and members are drawing a line on wages and benefits concessions. The next move is from AAG management. The likely outcome is to gradually downsize Envoy and move large regional jet operations to other American Eagle carriers and gradually phase out the 50-seat ERJs currently operated by American Eagle. Bombardier CRJ700 (CL-600-2C10) N536EA (msn 10315) of American Eagle (Envoy) arrives at Toronto (Pearson).

American Eagle-Envoy: AG Slide Show