Monthly Archives: June 2007

From the APA Hotline: Final Tallies

The APA Hotline just gave us the final numbers on the election:

“For President, Captain Lloyd Hill received 4,573 votes and Captain Ralph Hunter received 2,180 votes. 

For Vice President, First Officer Sam Bertling received 2,068 votes and Captain Tom Westbrook received 4,665 votes. 

For Secretary-Treasurer, First Officer Jim Eaton received 2,723 votes and Captain Bill Haug received 3,986 votes.”

Not as close as I had thought would be the case.

Just a side note. The new officers don’t have much time to slack-off. They take office effective July 1.

Oh boy — this should be interesting.

APA Vote Update

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From an American Airlines’ pilot reader we hear that with DFW and ORD votes still out —  challenger Lloyd Hill is about 1900 votes ahead of current APA President Ralph Hunter.

If this count is correct it would mean that Ralph would have to carry both domiciles with about a 90% vote.

Don’t think this is going to happen.

We’ll keep you posted.

Feds Back Off Again from Passport Requirements


The Bush Administration will now delay for at least six months the implementation of a new rule that U.S. citizens must present a passport when crossing the U.S. border by land or sea, officials announced today.

Starting in January, land and sea travelers returning from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be allowed to present a birth certificate and driver’s license in lieu of a passport.

The modification is expected to last at least until the summer of 2008, when officials hope to require passports or similar documentation at all land and sea crossings. Are we taking bets on the summer 2008 date?

The reason? We all know the reason. The government is still back-logged trying to meet current demand for passports — as a result of the change requiring people to produce a passport when flying back from the aformentioned countries.

Most amusing comments from the a Senate hearing Tuesday on the current passport mess? Maura Harty, assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, took the blame for the passport mess, saying that part of the problem was that in 2005 Hurricane Katrina reduced the capabilities of the agency’s New Orleans passport office. Right. The office in New Orleans has been up and running for more than a year.

But the best excuse was this one: She also said the agency had not expected so many Americans to actually obey the new law.

I have no comeback for that one.

Anyone in Memphis? Go Check Out the Antonov AN-225 freighter

I’m going to see this thing in person one of these days. Just not today.

But for those of you in Memphis, the lone AN-225 freighter is flying in today from Gostomel in the Ukraine. As of 4:30 CDT, the aircraft is now projected to land at about 5:15 CDT.

For those of you who have never seen this wonder of aviation, here’s a shot from the Paris Air Show this year. 


The huge Ukrainian transport plane, the largest airplane in the world, has a wingspan of nearly 300 feet – the length of a football field.

Could it Be? Is Ralph Hunter Going Down to Defeat?

I feel like one of those people who ask “Who did you vote for and why” today.

I’ve been getting a great deal of feedback from American pilots today in regard to who they voted for and why in the APA elections. And I have to say, at this point, I don’t think it looks good for incumbent President Ralph Hunter.

And, if that is the case — then, as one reader commented — American management will be the big losers. But they will be losers of their own making. Because it was American management who, as he put it, “Whacked Hunter’s legs out from under him and left him standing naked in the storm.”

I think that is a very astute observation.

Final vote count should be out this afternoon.

Ticker: (NYSE: AMR)


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For those of you with enquiring minds, apparently the exact cause of the meltdown this morning at United was a failure of the Unimatic computer system. (Hope that answers one reader’s question!)

Ticker: (Nasdaq:UAUA)

Plan to Fly Today on United Airlines? Have Fun


United Airlines’ flights  were grounded across the country for hours this morning because of a computer failure.

Reports say that the computer system, based in Chicago, which calculates weight and balance for departing flights shut down. At one point this morning there were only five United flights in the air, according to several media reports.

United now reports that the system is back up and flights are back up in the air, but “delays are expected to continue throughout the day.”

Ahhh, I’d say that might be a little optimistic considering that the entire United fleet was essentially grounded for more than two hours this morning. If I were you, I’d just cancel that flight and tell your business partners you’ll  see them when United can reschedule you.

Ticker: (Nasdaq:UAUA)

Southwest Cutting Capacity In Some Long-Haul Markets

Southwest Airlines

Analyst Gary Chase with Lehman Brothers says today in a research note that Southwest Airlines appears to be cutting capacity on some of its long-haul routes — beginning this fall.

Chase notes that  Southwest has stopped selling seats on a number of longhaul markets effective in October. As Gary notes, “We can’t be certain that Southwest intends to make changes, but the move would be consistent with recent company comments to address under-performing markets in upcoming schedule changes.”

Gary says that Southwest has made seats on a number of longhaul markets unavailable beginning October 4th, including all nonstop flights from Baltimore to Los Angeles and Oakland, and Philadelphia to Los Angeles and Oakland.  “We’ve identified similar activity in a number of other markets, including longhaul markets with frequency reductions (such as Phoenix to Providence, with 1 of 2 daily flights unavailable for purchase),” Chase added.

Who would could possibly benefit from such moves? Gary says that the largest beneficiaries could be US Airways or United, with some minor positives for American and Continental. However, clearly it’s not known at this time where Southwest will redeploy the capacity, although one has to assume it is going to be on existing routes  — and perhaps those of a shorter-length.

Ticker: (NYSE:LUV)

Big Day Tomorrow for Union Politics: APA Election Results Due Wednesday

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Late tomorrow afternoon we should know which platform of candidates will lead the Allied Pilots Association for the next three years. The APA represents the pilots at American Airlines.

To say that this is a huge election is the proverbial understatement. Whoever is elected will preside over one of the most contentious contract negotiations in the industry — the first of many such negotiations slated in the next two years.

Will Ralph Hunter manage to hang on to the President’s position?

I have talked to those on both sides over the last two weeks, and I can honestly say — this one is too close to call. I rarely say that — although I did in the recent Northwest flight attendant vote.

But this one — yep. It’s too close to call. And frankly, that’s not good for Ralph Hunter.

In the primary vote, only 58% voted of the eligible pilots voted. But Ralph only got about 1400 votes. The group of challengers to him received about 4500 total. (There were three challengers including Hill.)

It’s a pretty easy election to dissect however — as many pilots who are not happy with the current situation at American tend to blame Hunter for having been too close to management over the last three years. For them, it’s a case of “change is a good thing, no matter what it is.”  Hill is campaigning to this unhappiness by promising to be much more aggressive with management  at American.

But those on Hunter’s side believe that Lloyd Hill is a loose cannon — and not the type of person they want in the office at this particular point in time.

We’ll have the final numbers here tomorrow.

Ticker: (NYSE:AMR)