Layoffs at American Airlines Could Make Things a Lot Worse for Passengers

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American AirlinesBy Jill Krasny

Pink slips are flying at American Airlines, which warned over 11,000 workers on Wednesday of looming layoffs as the carrier works to pare down its operations in bankruptcy.

This is bad news all around, but workers aren't the only ones who should be concerned about the cutbacks.

According to George Hobiaca, airline industry expert and founder of deals site AirfareWatchdog.com, if AA does what he expects it to do and lays off maintenance workers "as a prelude to outsourcing the work to third parties," consumers might have to deal with "substandard" results, from filthy lavatories to safety risks.

"There are some in the industry that believe outsourcing results in substandard maintenance since it can be done anywhere in the world away from the watchful eyes of Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] inspectors," he says.

Yet even the FAA is aware of this hazardous trend since airlines cutting maintenance jobs is nothing new. In its September 2008 report on aircraft maintenance outsourcing, the FAA admitted that "problems existed, such as untrained mechanics, lack of required tools, and unsafe storage of aircraft parts" when aircraft were serviced in foreign facilities. What's more, repair stations "were not always effective" and "maintenance problems either went undetected or reoccured" (via The Unfriendly Skies).

Beyond the maintenance concerns, Hobiaca fears the job cutbacks will cause more delays.

"It could be anything," Hobiaca tells Business Insider. "A seat back that won't recline or that is stuck in the recline position. A call button that isn't working. A lav out of service."

The more AA cancels its flights, he says the more "we'll see passengers bumped or otherwise inconvenienced. Airlines have eliminated thousands of seat miles and there are fewer options to re-accomodate passengers as a result if a flight is cancelled."

Already, AA cancelled 300 flights this week to "cope with an increase in maintenance reports," according to the AP.

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catbell7

to be honest with you -- I would prefer to fly Southwest Air -- their staff have a sense of humor

September 24 2012 at 11:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey

sadly, I think 2013 will be worse than '12. Limo/car service in suburbia outside of NYC itself is extremely soft. Does'nt seem to be even a piece of the pie left for the very small operators. The 3 major factors are fuel, insurance, and tolls.

September 24 2012 at 9:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Titanium

Well first of all you have no idea what you are talking about. Pilots work a lot of hours and long days. Only restricted by FAA regulations for your safety.Ktmocala has it spot on. I am at USAir and have seen it all. What American is doing is using Chapter 11 to break labor contracts, reduce employees(since after the merger there will be to many) dump retirement plans on to the tax payer via the PBGC at a 60% loss to the employees. And OH BTW you can show a loss on the books if need be. I have said this before. Read Retirement Heist. It shows how companies in the US have used the bankruptcy laws for the last 20 years to break labor agreement, force pay cuts and reduce employees to achieve a sale, merger or shut down. All the while the management and hired consultants get rich off of the process. As for greedy pilots. Learn what is required to do the job before you make that statement. Ask your doctor if he has to retrain and PASS the training (not just attand a seminar) to keep practicing. To pass a drug test before operating or be randomly tested. Pilots have to retrain and PASS a check ride at least every 12 months. Pass a physical every 6 months. They also get you from one place to another on one of the safest modes of transportation in the world.

September 24 2012 at 8:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ATM

See what happens when everyone gets greedy?

Pilots got greedy and get paid excessively for working three days a month.

Flight attendants get greedy because they see pilots get greedy.

Management gets greedy , because eve though they do not do any of the real work, they give themselves more credit and make poor decisions.

Executives get greedy, play financial engineering games with Wall Street rather than run a business, and run an airline into the ground and give themselves options, stock, and incentive bonuses and reward themselves for incompetence.

It is no wonder that this and other companies go bust.... they all are in it for themselves, with nobody running a business for the consumer.

Keep falling American - you are all a bunch of greedy pigs - us consumers have other options.

September 24 2012 at 7:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ATM

See what happens when everyone gets greedy?

Pilots got greedy and get paid excessively for working three days a month.

Flight attendants get greedy because they see pilots get greedy.

Management gets greedy , because eve though they do not do any of the real work, they give themselves more credit and make poor decisions.

Executives get greedy, play financial engineering games with Wall Street rather than run a business, and run an airline into the ground and give themselves options, stock, and incentive bonuses and reward themselves for incompetence.

It is no wonder that this and other companies go bust.... they all are in it for themselves, with nobody running a business for the consumer.

Keep falling American - you are all a bunch of greedy pigs - us consumers have other options.

September 24 2012 at 7:38 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
ATM

See what happens when everyone gets greedy?

Pilots got greedy and get paid excessively for working three days a month.

Flight attendants get greedy because they see pilots get greedy.

Management gets greedy , because eve though they do not do any of the real work, they give themselves more credit and make poor decisions.

Executives get greedy, play financial engineering games with Wall Street rather than run a business, and run an airline into the ground and give themselves options, stock, and incentive bonuses and reward themselves for incompetence.

It is no wonder that this and other companies go bust.... they all are in it for themselves, with nobody running a business for the consumer.

Keep falling American - you are all a bunch of greedy pigs - us consumers have other options.

September 24 2012 at 7:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ktmocala

We don't have to look very far to see the truth in what is going on at A/A. Simply look no further than the history of US Airways and their years of the outsourcing going back to the beginning of the decade. (When US Airways used the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and subsequent bankruptcies to purge employees.) But...wait just a second! Is it not US Airways and American Airlines that desire to merger the two giant companies to combat the mergers of Unites/Continental and Delta/Northwest? You betcha it is!!! I retired after 30 years at US Airways and I'll tell you this. Even without the US Airways factor playing out at the downtrodden American Airlines, A/A is now doing what virtually EVER other carrier has done over so many years & ESPECIALLY to clean house to move forward on a merger scenario. If you NOW factor in the sheer experience and success of what US Airways has done, i.e., clean house and become profitable, you can bet your bottom dollar that the hand of A/A is being guided by the hand of VAST experience. Now, those of you who believe that the flying public will suffer & will be in danger of safety concerns simply because A/A will begin to outsource some portion of their maintenance requirements CERTAINLY must be collectively getting their bias...no POISONED....information from the applicable labor unions. While it WAS true that US Airways did indeed suffer some unspeakable debacles created by the fast creation of cheaper outsourced & often "off shore" aircraft maintenance, those years of 3rd party companies irresponsibly dispatching flawed aircraft are LONG gone. It took a very long time for any particular airline and their chosen 3rd party maintenance entities to literally get-in-step with one another BUT, once the growing pains of what was THEN a very new concept in commercial aviation, things smoothed out nicely. From one who was literally front line for a very long time & witnessed EVERY aspect of outsourcing of aircraft maintenance, these are the cold hard facts! Am I, or was I, in favor of the purging of fellow US Airways employees? Of course not! Especially when one considers the flaming pin-heads who put my airline in dire straits REPEATEDLY with the flawed business tactics in such a volatile industry. But, let's not forget the arrogant and greedy likes of THAT mechanics union within. But that's another story. Lastly, the article states that the Federal Aviation Administration is concerned and that "things happened" away from the co-called "watchful eye" of the F.A.A. OH PLEASE! Again, my experience and professional observation has witnessed the bottom lime of, the F.A.A. simply is TOO SMALL to effectively and across the board give a flying flip! And, that fact has been ever emerging dating all the back to the deregulation of airlines back in the early 1980's!

September 24 2012 at 5:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ktmocala

Yeah...sure. The flying public will be in peril because or maintenance outsourcing. RIIIIIGHT! ,

September 24 2012 at 5:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ktmocala

We don't have to look very far to see the truth in what is going on at A/A. Simply look no further than the history of US Airways and their years of the outsourcing going back to the beginning of the decade. (When US Airways used the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and subsequent bankruptcies to purge employees.) But...wait just a second! Is it not US Airways and American Airlines that desire to merger the two giant companies to combat the mergers of Unites/Continental and Delta/Northwest? You betcha it is!!! I retired after 30 years at US Airways and I'll tell you this. Even without the US Airways factor playing out at the downtrodden American Airlines, A/A is now doing what virtually EVER other carrier has done over so many years & ESPECIALLY to clean house to move forward on a merger scenario. If you NOW factor in the sheer experience and success of what US Airways has done, i.e., clean house and become profitable, you can bet your bottom dollar that the hand of A/A is being guided by the hand of VAST experience. Now, those of you who believe that the flying public will suffer & will be in danger of safety concerns simply because A/A will begin to outsource some portion of their maintenance requirements CERTAINLY must be collectively getting their bias...no POISONED....information from the applicable labor unions. While it WAS true that US Airways did indeed suffer some unspeakable debacles created by the fast creation of cheaper outsourced & often "off shore" aircraft maintenance, those years of 3rd party companies irresponsibly dispatching flawed aircraft are LONG gone. It took a very long time for any particular airline and their chosen 3rd party maintenance entities to literally get-in-step with one another BUT, once the growing pains of what was THEN a very new concept in commercial aviation, things smoothed out nicely. From one who was literally front line for a very long time & witnessed EVERY aspect of outsourcing of aircraft maintenance, these are the cold hard facts! Am I, or was I, in favor of the purging of fellow US Airways employees? Of course not! Especially when one considers the flaming pin-heads who put my airline in dire straits REPEATEDLY with the flawed business tactics in such a volatile industry. But, let's not forget the arrogant and greedy likes of THAT mechanics union within. But that's another story. Lastly, the article states that the Federal Aviation Administration is concerned and that "things happened" away from the co-called "watchful eye" of the F.A.A. OH PLEASE! Again, my experience and professional observation has witnessed the bottom lime of, the F.A.A. simply is TOO SMALL to effectively and across the board give a flying flip! And, that fact has been ever emerging dating all the back to the deregulation of airlines back in the early 1980's!

September 24 2012 at 5:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ktmocala

WAIT a second folks. And Especially YOU Ms. Jill Krasny. We don't have to look very far to see the truth in what is going on at A/A...need to look no further than the history of US Airways and there years of the outsourcing debacle going back to the beginning of the decade. (When US Airways used the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to purge of what bloated it over years of mismanagement and customer NON-service) But...wait just ANOTHER second! Is it not US Airways and American Airlines that desire to merger the two giant companies and combat the mergers of Unites/Continental and Delta/Northwest? You betcha it is!!! I retired after 30 years at US Airways and I'll tell you this. Even without the US Airways factor playing out at the downtrodden American Airlines, A/A is now doing what virtually EVER other carrier has done over so many years and ESPECIALLY to clean house to move forward on a merger scenario. If you NOW factor in the sheer experience and success of what US Airways has done, i.e., clean house and become profitable, you can bet your bottom dollar that the hand of A/A is being guided by the hand of VAST experience.Now, those of you who believe that the flying public will suffer and be in danger of safety concerns merely because of now A/A will begin to outsource some portion of their maintenance requirements CERTAINLY must be collectively getting their bias...no POISONED....information from the applicable labor unions. While it WAS true that US Airways did indeed suffer some unspeakable debacles created by the fast creation of cheaper outsourced and often "off shore" aircraft maintenance, those years of 3rd party companies irresponsibly dispatching flawed aircraft are LONG gone. It took a very long time for any particular airline and their chosen 3rd party maintenance entities to literally get-in-step with one another BUT, once the growing pains of what was THEN a very new concept in commercial aviation, things smoothed out nicely. From one who was literally front line for a very long time and witness to EVERY aspect of outsourcing of aircraft maintenance, these are the cold hard facts! Am I, or was I, in favor of the purging of fellow US Airways employees considering what an incredible job the airline was doing in-house? Of course not! Especially when one considers the flaming pin-heads who put my airline in dire straits with the moronic tactics in such a volatile industry. But, let's not forget the arrogant and greedy likes of THAT mechanics union within. But that's another story. Lastly, the article states that the Federal Aviation Administration is concerned and that "things happened" away from the co-called "watchful eye" of the F.A.A. OH PLEASE! Again, my experience and professional observation has witnessed the bottom lime of, the F.A.A. simply is TOO SMALL to effectively and across the board give a flying flip! And, that fact has been ever emerging dating all the back to the deregulation of airlines back in the early 1980's!

September 24 2012 at 5:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply