Tablet Business

American Airlines offers workers cash for beating rivals on performance

American Airlines workers will have a chance to earn a little extra cash if they can get enough flights to leave and arrive on time.

The Fort Worth-based carrier unveiled a new employee incentive plan that will pay workers up to $150 a month if operations at the airline perform better than its main competitors.

The program, called Ops Olympics, will measure American’s on-time arrivals, lost baggage and customer satisfaction against its three largest competitors — Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.

If American ranks first in the monthly Department of Transportation reports in those categories, employees will earn $50 for each, up to a maximum payment of $150 per month. If the carrier does not place first in any of the categories, workers can still get a $50 bonus if the airline’s departure times, known as D-zero, are over 70 percent.

“D-zero will be at the core of everything we do at American Airlines. Departing on time leads to consistent on-time arrivals and baggage delivery,” Robert Isom, American’s chief operating officer, said in a message sent to employees last week. “But in order to excel at D-zero, we must be ready. That means no matter your job, you’re there on time, in position, in uniform, with your tools and equipment, trained, rested and ready to go out there and excel. In doing so, we’ll be safe, reliable and well on the road to restoring American as the greatest airline in the world.”

The program, an initiative of the new management team running the recently merged airline, is similar to “Triple Play” program at US Airways that offered incentives to the airline’s employees for consistent operational performance. Isom was chief operating officer at US Airways before the merger.

Keeping a focus on customer satisfaction is one of American’s goals as it works to integrate American and US Airways, a period when merged airlines can suffer operational challenges.

— Andrea Ahles

Hedge fund acquires

stake in RadioShack

Shares of RadioShack got a pop last week after a hedge fund reported that it has acquired a 8.1 percent stake in the company.

RadioShack stock (ticker: RSH) jumped about 25 percent, from $2.04 to $2.54 a share, in two trading sessions after Litespeed Management LLC disclosed its stake Jan. 17 in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The Motley Fool, an investment research company, wrote that Litespeed’s founder, Jamie Zimmerman, is known for her “incredible market-beating performance in the early 2000s,” Bloomberg News reported.

According to the Motley Fool report, “Zimmerman’s event-driven Litespeed Management hedge fund is well-versed in the areas of distressed debt, mergers, and bankruptcy.” While it’s possible that Zimmerman sees the struggling Fort Worth-based consumer electronic retailer turning its operations around, the article says, it’s more likely that Litespeed is bottom-feeding. “A quick glance at Litespeed Management's betting history shows a series of minimum-to-zero downside risk scenarios,” the Fool report stated.

Whatever the motivation, the investment was enough to drive up RadioShack shares, Oliver Wintermantel, an analyst at International Strategy & Investment Group in New York, told Bloomberg News. “People are saying, ‘What is my downside at $2?’ ”

RadioShack, which has lost money for seven consecutive quarters, is being retooled under the guidance of CEO Joseph Magnacca, hired away from Walgreens about a year ago. He has shaken up the management team, opened concept stores, secured new financing arrangements and slimmed down inventories. The company is expected to report fourth-quarter financial results sometime next month.

— Steve Kaskovich

Multifamily project

near Medical District?

The developers of The Lancaster and White Buffalo multifamily projects on the near west side may be headed to the Medical District for another Fort Worth development.

Lang Partners, under the name Oleander Investments, recently bought the 1.4-acre block bordered by Rosedale Street on the north, Oleander Street on the south, Hurley Avenue on the west and 7th Avenue on the east, according to deed records.

The land was sold by Southside Associates, whose managing partner is Susan K. Blue, deed records show. Lang Partners had the property under contract in May, the deed said.

Phone calls to Lang Partner principals Kyle Oudt and Dirik Oudt were not returned last week.

Paul Paine, president of Fort Worth South, the nonprofit booster organization for the city’s near south side, said his office has had contact with Lang Partners and that the project will include market-rate units with structured parking.

The Lancaster is a 253-unit multifamily project, and the White Buffalo is a 63-apartment home project off Lancaster Avenue and Currie Street.