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Envoy Air will shrink by half in next 18 months, union says

Envoy Air, which operates as American Eagle, announced it will close its New York crew base on Tuesday. This aircraft was taking off from DFW Airport last month. Star-Telegram/Paul Moseley
Envoy Air, which operates as American Eagle, announced it will close its New York crew base on Tuesday. This aircraft was taking off from DFW Airport last month. Star-Telegram/Paul Moseley Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Envoy Air will shrink to half its size in the next 18 months, according to the carrier’s pilots union.

The regional carrier, which is owned by American Airlines Group and operates as American Eagle, has seen its aircraft transferred to other regional carriers by American.

“Over the next 18 months, Envoy will shrink to nearly half our current size, mainly due to scheduled aircraft transfers to other vendors,” the Air Line Pilots Association said in a note to members. “And if we cannot staff the aircraft because our pilots are wary about Envoy’s future viability, AAG has stated they will find someone else to fly them. These plans set in motion more uncertainty for our carrier which continues a perpetual cycle, directly affecting our attrition adversely.”

Currently, Envoy is operating 199 airplanes for American. By July 2015, there will only be 106 aircraft in Envoy’s fleet, the union said.

Envoy’s pilots recently approved a new contract where American said it would place larger regional aircraft with Envoy, but the airplane deliveries won’t begin until November with the first aircraft scheduled to fly in early 2016.

Keep reading for the two ALPA base messages sent to pilots on Tuesday.

ALPA LEC 83 DFW message

Fellow DFW Pilots,

While today’s news of the New York base closure was not totally unexpected, it is nonetheless incredibly disheartening and upsetting. For our New York crews, this news is extremely unfortunate as it will undoubtedly make their lives more difficult. New York pilots will have to make tough decisions; either to displace and commute half-way across the country to DFW or ORD, or choose to leave the airline altogether.

As recent MEC Newsblasts have stated, there are a number of airlines now fully engaged in pilot hiring. For those who live in the New York area and are not interested in commuting, there are a number of airlines with local bases. In fact, Endeavor now has a New York base that is fairly junior, and, with their $80,000 bonus program, has positioned its pilots as the highest paid in our sector of the industry. It is interesting to note that Endeavor was in a similar situation as Envoy not too long ago, and, by simply giving their pilots an incentive to stay, Endeavor was able to stabilize attrition and fill their new hire classes. This type of entrepreneurism seems lost on AAG Management.

In February, the MEC met with executives from both Envoy and AAG to address obvious concerns with Envoy’s inability to retain and recruit pilots. One of the messages your LEC 083 Leadership has repeatedly conveyed is the need for positive, actionable news for Envoy pilots. We have also expressed concerns over recent additional Large RJ purchase announcements for other AAG regional partners, Envoy’s future fleet composition, pilot retention, APA Undefers affecting our flowthrough, and current quality of life issues. While the Company has agreed that extraordinary measures are likely needed to keep Envoy competitive to retain and recruit pilots, their latest actions and inactions speak louder than words.

The Company has yet to announce a single program discussed with the MEC at these meetings over three weeks ago. Since these meetings, the MEC has not received a single proposal from the Company regarding their plans to implement a solution to our staffing problems. The Company could easily announce a retention/recruitment program with a future timeline for implementation. Yet, they have chosen to do nothing. Their silence is deafening.

Over the next 18 months, Envoy will shrink to nearly half our current size, mainly due to scheduled aircraft transfers to other vendors. AAG made contingency plans with respect to our fleet due to the uncertainty of the December 2014 Tentative Agreement ratification and due to our previous high attrition rates. Because AAG wants to keep their regional network intact, they need our aircraft in the air. And if we cannot staff the aircraft because our pilots are wary about Envoy’s future viability, AAG has stated they will find someone else to fly them. These plans set in motion more uncertainty for our carrier which continues a perpetual cycle, directly affecting our attrition adversely. In a way, the announcement of transferring 97 aircraft, while parking the remaining inefficient 44-seat aircraft, and while only taking delivery of 40 firm E-175 aircraft, causes our attrition to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Below is Envoy’s projected fleet composition as gleaned by available aircraft transfer and retirement schedules:

Envoy Current Projected Fleet (Total Aircraft in Service)

JAN 2015

JUL 2015

JAN 2016

JUL 2016

JAN 2017

JUL 2017

199

175

133

115

108

106*

*Delivery of the 40th E-175 Aircraft. 

Faced with this knowledge, our path forward is far from easy. Furthermore, this information serves to validate concerns raised about Envoy’s future sustainability. With the news of the New York base closure coming on the heels of the Miami base closure, Management will have to act quickly if they want this airline to succeed. Continue to fly safe.

In Unity,

Captain Neal Spanier, ENY 083 Captain Representative

First Officer Kyle Flynn, ENY 083 First Officer Representative

Captain James Magee, ENY 083 Secretary-Treasurer

ALPA LEC 121 JFK message

Fellow NY Pilots,

NY BASE UPDATE - Base Closure

Today we learned the company's plan for New York. They intend to close the New York Envoy pilot base by the end of this year. While the news was not totally unexpected, it is nonetheless very upsetting. This will leave our pilots with the choice to displace to DFW, to ORD or to leave this airline. The MEC will be reviewing the displacement guide handbook and we will email a copy to you all once the review and update are complete.

As the MEC newsblasts have stated, there are a number of airlines now fully engaged in pilot hiring. For those of you living here in New York or the immediate tri-state area not wishing to commute there are a number of airlines with local bases. In fact, Endeavor airlines now has a NY base that is fairly junior, and with their $80k bonus program the job would actually be a raise for all of our First Officers. It is interesting to note that Endeavor was in a similar situation as Envoy not too long ago, and by simply paying their pilots more they were able to stave off attrition and fill their new hire classes. This fact seems lost on AAG management.

In the opinion of Adam and me; the positive news the company shared with us early this month is more and more taking the appearance of a snow job meant to provide false hope in an effort to retain pilots as long as possible. The company has yet to announce a single program they discussed with us. They could easily announce a program with a timeline in the future for implementation. They have not even done that. Their silence is deafening.

Part of our jobs as local union reps is not just to work to try and save jobs, but to work to ensure the opportunity for adequate career advancement. Adam and I are both suggesting that many of you reevaluate your career goals, since many of you may wish to seek a brighter future elsewhere.

NY BASE MEETING

The will be an LEC121 Base Meeting tomorrow (03-18-2015) from 1230 Hrs until 1430 Hrs in the LGA hangar 3rd floor conference room.

Representatives from management will be available to answer your questions. Please avail yourselves of the opportunity to speak directly with our management.

Adam and I are adjusting our schedules to make ourselves available on the crew rooms over the next several days to help answer your many questions. We will send an additional email shortly with schedules of when we will be doing these base visits

Ray & Adam

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