What follows are some reflections [...]

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The Movement Thread for ASA

What follows are some reflections of a 7 year FO at Atlantic Southeast Airlines:

I want to start a discussion for First Officers at ASA who like me came to ASA as their first airline with the intention of getting their feet wet in the 121 world, building the PIC Turbine time and moving on. (YES, I KNOW NOT EVERY FO HERE CAME FOR PIC TURBINE, BUT I DID.) The numbers from the last 3 months have been eye opening for me as I reflect on my tenure at this company and consider the future of ASA and options for FO’s like me who are hoping for left seat time.

Since I’ve come to ASA:

Pilot group has shrunk by 300+ numbers from 1800ish to 1500ish and continues to trend in that direction.

The JCBA with XJT is forever away

No net growth of aircraft has occurred
- ATR’s disappeared
- CR2s were swapped in for CR7s at a "2 for 1" deal
- Numerous CR9s came on property, and I can’t remember the details on how we got those. Help?
- IAD and DFW were not growth. IAD and DFW CR2s came from the shrinking DL operation
- Some IAD aircraft have gone to the desert, never to return. N827AS just went to Victorville, CA on Wednesday this week.
- Too many CRJ’s to count from DL operation I flew at ASA are now flying as Skywest Aircraft.

This is not a recipe for growth & movement.

I feel as though the past 7 years I’ve been living in a state of constant denial. I bought into the company language that ASA was an "industry leading regional" that "respects their pilots." We do have some of the highest pay rates, best working conditions, and a contract I’m happy to work under. I figured in these conditions the growth & movement opportunities would come. But I was naive. I spent over 3 years on reserve and fell back on reserve after 5 years. And now 7 years down the road sit comfortably in the middle of the pack but still hundreds away from upgrade. SHAME ON ME FOR STAYING SO LONG! Today, the company is seeing attrition rates not seen since 2006/7. Surely the gates will open now for FO’s to get the valuable PIC time? So, when management released the 15-01 Position Notice it was like "alright, this time it’ll be the charm! Gates have opened, lets see this movement!!" They announced 4 vacancies for upgrades and I died inside.

I’ve considered the reasons why the upgrade #s are so meager. My primary guess is it’s because new hire numbers aren’t keeping up with the attrition. Or maybe management is still using attrition to absorb the 140 IAD pilots back into the DL/AA operation. But since the IAD shrinkage began in October 2014, we’ve lost more than 140 pilots from our ranks. Ideas?

Knowing what I know now, I would NOT apply to ASA today unless they this company was experiencing healthy movement. With the # of lifers at this company combined with the fleet shrinkage it’s no surprise left seat is 200+ away for me. Sure some new hires are coming here to get some 121 SIC time for a different job, or their primary concern is base or then maybe they’re just happy to make a career as an FO cashing in 45-50k a year while running a small business. But ASA continues to miss capturing the largest pilot demographic: Green pilots looking to start their 121 career. Oh yah, I’m sorry, you won’t attract RJ-typed pilots with a $7,500 bonus so they give up their job at TSA&PSA/Envoy/Endevor to come to ASA. Those airlines are either seeing growing/crazymovement, have a flow, or are offering hefty bonuses ($80k).

If I could tell Alex one thing it would be: Movement.

If I could tell a new hire FO or pilots considering ASA one thing it would be: As of March 2015, don’t come here if your intention is to see the left seat. You’ve got 600+ ahead of you waiting for an upgrade when only 4 have been offered the upgrade in the first quarter of 2015. 596 to go…

I’m looking forward to reading the positive AND negative replies. I want to absorb as much information and points of view about this issue before making a decision to jump ship! Weeeee!

http://www.airlinepilotforums.com/regional/87115-movement-thread-asa.html

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The Movement Thread for ASA

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