The APFA gives its nod to the contract

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) of American Airlines has voted to accept the last and best final offer from American Airlines.  This will please the bankruptcy court at the minimum.

American Airlines executives may choose to crow about this but I wouldn’t.  The APFA doesn’t appear to have done this with enthusiasm or even belief in the idea that AA can thrive.  They seemed to have done it out of exhaustion and the fact that the alternative gave them no hope for any improvement whatsoever for many, many years.  It wasn’t the wrong choice but it wasn’t an enthusiastic endorsement of AA either.

In a couple of weeks, we’ll find out just how bad it will be for pilots at American Airlines when the bankruptcy judge rules to impose Section 1113 terms on the pilots.  Make no mistake, this will hurt the pilots today, hurt them tomorrow and hurt them 5 years from now.  Rather than position themselves to have a voice in their future and their airline, they are now positioned to sit and eat crow year after year.  If any pilot believes the NMB will grant them the right to strike in the next 5 years, they’re kidding themselves like no one else out there.  They may negotiate, that doesn’t mean they will be one step further along in pay or benefits than they will be two weeks from now.

Investors and creditors take note.  This is a bad development for American Airlines.  Even if they achieve their costs targets, this is the equivalent of winning the battle and losing the war.  Costs may be low enough to survive but the costs are and will remain so, only half of the equation.

The other half is the somewhat more nebulous revenue side.  The only way AA improves revenue is by marketing a better service to customers.  It’s not enough to be the price winner in this environment.  The other guys can match you fare for fare in the marketplace.  It’s not enough to have the vaunted Cornerstone Strategy which, at best, concentrates business in hotly contested markets.

You have to have a product that someone wants to buy.  American doesn’t have that today.  An airlines employees are a massive factor in delivering service that brings customers back.  Other airlines have proven this true over and over again.

American has a badly bruised and very angry workforce that will come in contact with every one of those passengers.  That will have severe consequences for American Airlines over the next several years.

Let me ask you this:  Where is American Airlines Cornerstone Strategy for improving employee morale and service product?  That’s the cornerstone strategy that I would like to see talked about.  Today, it doesn’t exist.


One Response to “The APFA gives its nod to the contract”

  1. You don’t know jack squat about the pilots. They are more angry than the flight attendants and have a lot more power. You just watch.

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