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All across the Great Western territory => The Wider Picture Overseas => Topic started by: grahame on August 06, 2017, 12:43:29 PM



Title: Cancellation of services due to driver shortage
Post by: grahame on August 06, 2017, 12:43:29 PM
"Cancellation of services due to driver shortage"

You're probably expecting that to be a UK franchise train or bus operator, but it appears to be a worldwide problem.

From Business Insider (http://www.businessinsider.com/horizon-air-flight-cancellations-pilot-shortage-2017-7)

Quote
... But American companies don't have a shortage of people. They have a shortage of wages, benefits, and training. Companies could fix that problem, but they haven't.

Take Horizon Air, a regional airline that services the Pacific Northwest, which the Seattle Times reports is "cutting its flight schedule this summer because of a severe shortage of pilots for its Q400 turboprop planes. The shortage became a crisis this past month when Horizon was forced to cancel more than 318 flights because it didn't have enough pilots to fly all its planes." That represents 6.2% of the flights Horizon runs between Seattle and places like Boise, Spokane, and Portland.

Think about that. Flying these routes isn't some ancillary or side business for Horizon. It's the only business it is in. Canceling flights is damaging to your brand and your company's long-term prospects — it alienates and annoys customers who have already purchased tickets. And it's damaging to your short-term profits. You're in the business of moving people from point A to point B, the more you can move the better. You're already committed to pay for the overhead—the planes, insurance, the gate slots at airports, the maintenance, and the ground crews. You need volume to be as high as it can.

Choosing not to run flights that have paying passengers is an enormous own goal. It's the equivalent of Starbucks deciding not to open several hundred stores for which it is paying rent because it doesn't have enough managers.

Horizon Air isn't some tiny operation unable to cope with the vagaries of the marketplace. It's a unit of Alaska Air, a publicly held company that has a market capitalization of $11 billion and that chalked up $1.7 billion in revenue and $99 million in net income in its most recent quarter. It has a big balance sheet, vast resources, stock, borrowing capacity, and access to all kinds of services.


Title: Re: Cancellation of services due to driver shortage
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 07, 2017, 11:21:52 PM
It's probably best that we don't draw this particular news item to the attention of member TaplowGreen.


Ooops.  :P



Title: Re: Cancellation of services due to driver shortage
Post by: TaplowGreen on August 08, 2017, 08:36:22 AM
It's probably best that we don't draw this particular news item to the attention of member TaplowGreen.


Ooops.  :P



Too late!  :D

A very interesting article, and it wouldn't take too much of a leap of imagination to substitute "GWR" for Horizon airlines and drivers for pilots - albeit that the latter have a vastly different and more sophisticated skill set.

GWR drivers are however extremely well paid with very good benefits, whereas below flag carrier level, especially on discount airlines, pilots are often seen as little more than bus drivers by their employers and their terms and conditions reflect this.

Similarly, I doubt Horizon airlines receive massive public subsidies nor do they operate as a virtual monopoly - they have direct competitors to worry about.

In terms of companies fixing the problem - that's within GWRs gift - recruit more drivers, and/or ensure that those currently employed terms and conditions reflect the fact that they have chosen to work in a 7 day a week business - but of course they won't, because it'll cost and/or the Unions will fold their arms, beat their chests & won't permit it.

...........incidentally, I wonder if Horizon have any problems with "more planes than usual needing repairs at the same time"?  This now seems to have been affecting GWR for months, so I'm not sure what constitutes "usual"? (50-odd short forms listed today, seems par for the course)


Title: Re: Cancellation of services due to driver shortage
Post by: Timmer on August 08, 2017, 09:11:10 AM
...........incidentally, I wonder if Horizon have any problems with "more planes than usual needing repairs at the same time"?  This now seems to have been affecting GWR for months, so I'm not sure what constitutes "usual"? (50-odd short forms listed today, seems par for the course)
Well if there was ever a day to have short formed trains on the Weymouth line today is it. With the weather forecast for today and tomorrow being poor there will still be plenty of seats on the services that are short formed. Maybe the weather swayed the decision to run shorter sets on the Weymouth line to allow busier services to run as normal length. If it had been a hot and sunny day....?


Title: Re: Cancellation of services due to driver shortage
Post by: IndustryInsider on August 08, 2017, 12:25:18 PM
I wonder how many pilots short they are short of to lead to over 6% of flights being cancelled?  Comparisons with GWR is actually very favourable to them as even during the very poor set of figures last period only around 2% of trains were cancelled and over the year the average has been around 1%.


Title: Re: Cancellation of services due to driver shortage
Post by: grahame on August 08, 2017, 07:05:54 PM
Well if there was ever a day to have short formed trains on the Weymouth line today is it. With the weather forecast for today and tomorrow being poor there will still be plenty of seats on the services that are short formed. Maybe the weather swayed the decision to run shorter sets on the Weymouth line to allow busier services to run as normal length. If it had been a hot and sunny day....?

Even on a day of doubtful weather, I was speaking with a passenger who came up from Docrchester to Swindon this morning and was on her way back this evening and here words were not complentary about the short train that had been run to carry a lot of passengers.   Mind you, we were chatting on the 17:53 Chippenham to Melksham - Casper carrying 90 people!


Title: Re: Cancellation of services due to driver shortage
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on August 16, 2017, 05:40:26 PM
17:53 Chippenham to Melksham - Casper carrying 90 people!

 :o